Thursday, March 17, 2011

Luck O' The Irish Cream Cupcakes

St. Patrick's Day: That day when we're all Irish. That day when Irish eyes are smiling. That day when we throw shooters of Bailey's into pints of Guinness and slurp it all down between plates of green eggs and ham and never feel the need to stop and ask, "What is wrong here??"  : )

This time of year, I usually look forward to making Irish Soda Bread but, when compared to boozed-up cupcakes, the soda bread started to sound a little...tame.  These cakes are made with not one but TWO shots of Irish hospitality in the form of  Guinness stout in the chocolate cakes and Irish cream liqueur in the frosting.  Needless to say, you'll want to make sure these don't accidentally get mixed in with Junior's cupcakes on the way to the school St. Patty's party...though you may want to include one for the teacher : )
Cupcakes with Corned Beef cooking in the background--How Irish of me
I know Guinness chocolate cake may sound like an odd combination, but the addition of the stout adds a complex depth to the chocolate flavor and helps make the cakes oh-so-moist.  As for the Irish cream frosting--I'm pretty sure it just doesn't get any better than this.  Pair one of these with a plate of corned beef and cabbage, a shot of Jameson, and I think even St. Patrick would be proud.  

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
     from The Culinary Chronicles
1 cup stout beer
1 cup unsalted butter
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½  tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
2 eggs
⅔ cup sour cream

Irish Cream Frosting
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 to 5 Tbs Irish Cream Liqueur

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake cups with paper liners.

2. Put the butter with the stout beer in a sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk in cocoa powder until smooth. Cool slightly.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a mixer bowl, beat the eggs and the sour cream together. Add the beer/butter/cocoa mixture and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat briefly just to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined, making sure to incorporate little pockets of flour on the bottom so that the batter is of equal consistency everywhere.

4. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way if you want flatter cupcakes and 3/4 if you want domed. Bake for about 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely to room temperature.

Prepare the frosting: In a large mixer bowl, whip the butter for several minutes until very light and fluffy. Slowly add about half of the powdered sugar a few spoonfuls at a time until incorporated. Slowly drizzle the Irish Cream and whip until combined. Add the rest of the powdered sugar until your desired consistency has been achieved.

Assemble: Fill a pastry bag and pipe buttercream on top of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with sprinkles or other adornments. Slainte!