Need a fun dessert for St. Patty's Day? Then you need to try out these Chocolate Whiskey, Baileys, and Beer Cupcakes.
From the Archives"A lot of people go to college for 7 years."
"Yah. They're called doctors."
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I wanted to make a Chocolate Guinness cake with Bailey's Cream frosting. But then I saw these. Chocolate Whisky and Beer Cupcakes, designed after the famous "Irish Car Bomb" shot. The drink is an everyday part of a college student's quest to remain perpetually wasted. Not as harsh as a Long Island Iced Tea, these shots work just as well, but don't come with the possible danger of praying to the porcelain gods all night.
Immediately, I was brought back to the days where I was an undergraduate student at Syracuse University (CUSE #1 in the AP!). Those where the days where I could drink with wreckless abandon and not suffer the consequences. Where it was not a complete night unless I was coming home when the sun was rising. Where beer pong was the sport of champions, Flip Cup was a way to socialize with everyone at the party, Dr. Mario (yeah, old school Nintendo!) was my daily reflex exercise routine, and hangovers did not exist. Where sleeping until 2 pm was the norm and classes before 3 pm were unacceptable, as if it were completely understandable that a college student is not cognizant before mid-afternoon.
These were the days where I drank classy drinks such as Irish Car Bombs.
This drink is a lovely little concoction. The people partaking in said shot are handed a 3/4 of a pint of Guinness and a shot of Baileys. Then, the participants drop said shot into the Guinness and "pound" the drink as fast as they can. Do this too slowly, and you would find yourself drinking a bitter and coagulated concoction that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. Drink it quickly, however, and you would think you were drinking the most wonderful milkshake known to man.
I told you. Classy.
Unfortunately, at the ripe old age of 28 (and 1/2), my body is not what it once was. A shot glass has not touched my lips in many moons. Any more than two glasses of wine and I'll either be Chatty Cathy, Giggly Gina, or Sleepy Sally, depending on the night. Hangovers and body aches are a natural side-effect of imbibing. Don't even get me started when that clock strikes 1. Shouldn't I be in bed by then? And if I sleep past 9:00 am, I am mad at myself for "wasting the entire day".
But these cupcakes are my way of living on the edge. They are badass. I'd be hard pressed to find another cupcake that contains three types of alcohol. Guinness Cake. Chocolate Whiskey Filling (there was no whiskey in any Irish Car Bomb I ever drank, but I admire the author's tenacity in adding as much alcohol as possible). Bailey's Cream Frosting.
Cupcakes with an edge. I like it.
I was nervous about the Guinness in the cupcakes (I am not a fan of stout alcohol), but I was pleasantly surprised. I could not taste the bitter flavor that normally accompanies Guinness at all. Instead, the cake was extremely fudgey and chocolately, as if the alcohol was there solely to intensify the chocolate flavor. The chocolate whiskey filling is both rich and light at the same time, bringing a complex flavor to the cake. Finally, the cupcake is topped with the most glorious of frostings - Bailey's frosting. Bailey's makes everything better. Like bacon. Sweet, sweet bacon.
Eating this cupcake makes me think that I can live it up like the old days one more time. Maybe one more shot for old times sake.
Who am I kidding? I'd be sore and have a headache for days.
I miss college.
Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons Baileys (you can substitute heavy cream, if you like)
Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer (I used the open end of one of my piping tips) and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)
To 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.
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.
For 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.
[Note from Smitten Kitchen: "This is a fantastic trick I picked up while working on the cupcakes article for Martha Stewart Living; the test kitchen chefs had found that when they added the sugar slowly, quick buttercream frostings got less grainy, and tended to require less sugar to thicken them up." Thanks, SK!]
When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or cream) 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.)