When I bring my cupcakes to the yard, all the ginger boys scream “Erin go bragh!”
A hint of beer, boozey and sweet, like an Irish lover’s kiss. These cupcakes are truly scrumptious. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes with enough leftover ganache, frosting, and cupcake middles to make a little plate of truffles.
This is not an ordinary cupcake recipe, and it’s definitely not for kids. The recipe is decadent and very rich (using real butter, heavy cream, and three kinds of alcoholic beverage). It also takes time to prepare and involves quite a few steps, but the reward is worth the effort.
The flavours are inspired by a pub concoction called an “Irish Car Bomb” (careful where you order these, or you could get a poke in the puss). It’s a type of boilermaker: a shot glass full of Jameson’s and Bailey’s gets dropped in a pint of Guinness, then you have to chug it down before the Bailey’s curdles and you end up drinking cheese. Ew. Trust me, the cupcake version is much better.
Hand out a few of these decadent and delicious goodies and people will say the most wonderful things, like “You’re a genius! I love you! Marry me.”
Caution: Because of the complexity of this recipe, try to resist the temptation to finish off the extra beer or nip the wiskey while you cook. You could end up half in the bag and pass out in a pool of ganache . . . not that that has ever happened to me. *hic*
How To Streamline The Process:
- Read the recipe through several times.
- Make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment you need.
- Make room in the kitchen and set up cupcake pans and piping bags.
- Chop the chocolate and let the butter come to room temperature.
- Make the cocoa beer butter, then preheat the oven.
- While the beer butter cools and the oven heats, start making the cupcake batter.
- While the cupcakes are baking, start making the ganache.
- While the ganache and cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.
- Set up an assembly line for excavating, frosting, and filling the cupcakes.
- Clean up as you go, be patient, and take your time.
- Ganache is the heavenly union of chocolate and cream (and usually flavouring—in this case, whiskey). Heated cream meets chopped chocolate, then gets stirred until smooth and thick. In this recipe, thickened ganache is piped into hollowed out cupcakes. Once it cools, it will set to a fudgy consistency.
- Ganache changes if you alter the temperature or the proportion of chocolate to cream.
- Increase cream / decrease chocolate = lighter and thinner ganache (good for pouring)
- Increase chocolate / decrease cream = thicker and stiffer ganache (good for truffles)
- Heat ganache to thin it. Cool ganache to thicken it.
- Beating the ganache too much can make it grainy. To learn more about ganache, including how to smooth out a grainy mistake read on at The Global Gourmet.
Using a Pastry Bag
- Fit a pastry tip and coupler inside the bag, screw on the outer collar, then fill the bag about 1/2 full. Twist the end of the bag to seal it shut and push the filling forward to the tip. Hold the twisted end in your right hand and squeeze to control the flow. Direct the tip of the pastry bag with your left hand.
- If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can improvise with a Ziplock baggie. Fill the baggie about 1/2 full with icing or ganache, seal it by twisting, then snip off the corner tip and start piping. You can also make a simple piping bag with a piece of parchment paper. Watch Liv Hansen’s video to learn how!
- Pretty piping takes practice. If you’re new to the idea, experiment on a clean plate or a piece of parchment paper and start with simple designs like swirls, dots, lines, or stars.
You can find the original recipe @ Smitten Kitchen. Thanks to Sassy Radish and Bruce who turned me on to the idea. My version below uses the maximum amount of booze, and I added a bit of vanilla to the ganache to balance the flavour a bit. I used two kinds of dark chocolate (Cote d’Or Belgian 70% cocoa and Alprose Swiss 74% cocoa). In metric Canada, two 100 gram bars = about 7 oz of chocolate, slightly less than other recipe versions, but the end result was fine. I also took the trouble to sift the flour, cocoa powder, and icing sugar before using it, to prevent lumps. I used Canadian Club whiskey, as my bottle of Jameson’s was dry. *hic*
Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Whiskey Truffle Filling and Bailey’s Frosting
Make the chocolate beer butter.
- Over low heat, melt 1 cup unsalted butter in 1 cup Guinness (room temp).
- Remove from heat and blend in 3/4 cup cocoa powder.
- Allow to cool slightly.
Mix the cupcakes.
- Combine 2 cups all purpose flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 3/4 tsp salt.
- In separate bowl, mix 2 eggs with 2/3 cup sour cream.
- Slowly add cocolate beer butter to egg mixture, blending well.
- Gently stir in flour mixture until combined.
Bake and cool.
- Spoon batter into cupcake pan (fill each liner about 2/3 full).
- Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 17 minutes.
- Cool cupcakes completely before excavating.
Make the whiskey ganache.
- Put 7 oz (200gm) chopped bittersweet chocolate into a heatproof bowl.
- Heat 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream to a simmer.
- Pour hot cream over chocolate and DO NOT STIR.
- Let it sit and melt for a couple of minutes, then stir the ganache until smooth.
- Add 2 Tbs unsalted butter (room temp), 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 2 tsp whiskey.
- Let it cool until it thickens enough for piping.
- Spoon ganache into piping bag (I didn’t bother using a tip for filling the cupcakes).
- Reserve about 1/2 cup of ganache for the truffles.
Excavate the cupcakes.
- Using a grapefruit spoon or apple corer, dig a small hole in the top of each cupcake. Do not dig through the bottom.
- Reserve excavated cupcake “dirt” for making truffles.
Make the frosting.
- Using an electric mixer, whip 1/2 cup unsalted butter (= one stick) at room temp.
- Gradually add 3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar (about 1/2 cup at a time) and 4 Tbs Bailey’s Irish Cream (about 1 Tbs at a time). Beat well after each addition.
- Spoon frosting into a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip (I used a star tip).
- Save a small amount of frosting to decorate the truffles.
Assemble the cupcakes.
- Fill each excavated cupcake with a generous blob of ganache. Smooth the top flat if needed.
- Decorate with Bailey’s frosting (a little goes a long way; it’s very sweet). Top with sprinkles if you want.
Storing the cupcakes:
- Refrigerate filled (or filled and frosted) cupcakes uncovered ~ 1 hour.
- Wrap individual cupcakes in cling wrap or pack sets in airtight containers. Store in fridge or freezer. Thaw to room temp before serving, if you can wait that long.
- Mix leftover whiskey ganache with the excavated cupcake dirt.
- Roll into little balls.
- Decorate with leftover Bailey’s frosting and green sprinkles.
- Praise the Lord.