Irish Carbomb Cupcakes
Aside from having Italian heritage, I also have some Irish heritage. My diet is mostly Italian (pasta, pasta, and more pasta), but when it comes to alcohol I have Irish preferences. Bailey’s anyone? When I spotted this recipes for Irish Carbomb cupcakes at Smitten Kitchen, I was sold with the words “chocolate” and “whiskey”.
I could go on and on about the rich chocolaty flavor of the cupcakes and the icing that makes me swoon, but I’ll just say this: these cupcakes are my favorite cupcakes EVER. I’ve eaten many cupcakes in my life, but these would be the cupcakes I would request for my final meal on earth.
The entire final meal, not just the dessert part.
You maybe be wondering about the rose petals in the photo, and while I confess that I do love chocolate and Bailey’s (especially together), the real reason is that I made these cupcakes for Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is long gone now, but St. Patrick’s day is coming up fast and these delicious cupcakes made with both Guinness and Bailey’s are the perfect way to celebrate the Irish in all of us.
Irish Carbomb Cupcakes
Makes 20-24 cupcakes, a perfect dozen when halved
(from Smitten Kitchen)
Note: While the Guinness will mostly bake out of the cupcakes, the frosting has full proof Bailey’s Irish Cream in it, which is to say that if you or the lucky recipients of these cupcakes don’t drink, these are not the cupcakes for you.
For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup stout (such as Guinness) (feel free to substitute fresh brewed coffee)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
Ganache Filling (Optional – I skipped it and they were still heavenly!)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)
Baileys Frosting (see Recipe Notes)
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)
Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag, though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work. (Not needed if you skip the filling.)
Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.
Make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.
Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.
Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.
When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.
Ice and decorate the cupcakes.
Do ahead: You can bake the cupcakes a week or two in advance and store them, well wrapped, in the freezer. You can also fill them before you freeze them. They also keep filled — or filled and frosted — in the fridge for a day. (Longer, they will start to get stale.) They store very well, even frosted, in the freezer if for some reason you don’t want to eat them all at once.