Friday, March 14, 2014

Irish Triple Threat Cupcakes

Oh boy, are these the real deal. Amazing cupcakes. Really. They are all that is good for St. Patrick's Day and you have all weekend to make them. I made them when friends came over and several people tried to "just have half" only to immediately shove the other half in their (and my) face). Just don't even try. You'd be better off saying, "I'll have half...the recipe." Let me break it down for you: Guinness helps make a dark chocolate cupcake that is then stuffed with a Jameson whiskey ganache only to finally be topped with a Bailey's buttercream frosting. Yes, that'll do just fine. It covers all your Irish bases--three of the food groups (Guinness, Jameson and Bailey's) plus it's a cupcake plus it's awesome. You need these cupcakes in your life if you are Irish, like alcohol-infused treats, like cupcakes and/or are not completely insane (the last qualification is excluded for anyone with the first qualification see we Irish are a wee bit nuts at times). Seriously? Make these. Eat them all. Make them again.

I've been wanting to make these cupcakes for a while. Michelle has had this recipe posted to Brown Eyed Baker for a few years and I kept drooling over them a little bit. So I finally bit the bullet, raided the liquor cabinet and got to work. One of my tricks with cupcakes has been to add a little cake enhancer from King Arthur Flour. It's purely optional, but provides a little bit of lightness to the batter so the result is a slightly more airy cake. I cut the whole recipe in half because as I definitely wanted 24 cupcakes, I was afraid of my pants not fitting since I didn't need 24 cupcakes. I used semisweet chocolate, light cream and extra whiskey in the ganache and was thrilled with the results. My only weird change is that for some reason I cannot get away with baking any of Michelle's cupcakes for her recommended time. I always preheat the oven and use the same stoneware cupcake pan, but for some reason if I only bake them for the recommended time, they don't bake through and sink instead of remaining puffy and pretty. And I've tried on several ovens, so I'm truly at a loss on that one. My recommendation is to test them at 17 minutes, but if they even appear underdone, let them go a bit longer and keep testing them. Assembly sounds more complicated than it actually is, so don't be discouraged. Now you'll have to excuse me because just thinking about these cupcakes again has sparked a craving that needs to the utmost attention.

Irish Triple Threat Cupcakes

Ingredients for the cupcakes

1/2 cup Guinness stout
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cake enhancer, optional
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/3 cup sour cream

In a medium saucepan, add Guinness and butter. Heat over medium heat to simmer, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder until smooth. Let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cake enhancer, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat egg and sour cream on medium speed until smooth and satiny. Reduce speed to low to add Guinness mixture, then increase speed to medium and beat until incorporated, scraping sides of bowl as needed.

Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, just to combine. Turn off mixer once last of flour is added (note: there may still be some white flour visible on the chocolate batter). Using a spatula, stir the batter by hand to completely incorporate flour.

Divide batter into lined cupcake cups. Note: I use an ice cream scoop.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 17 minutes. Check with a tester to see it come out clean. Tops should be set and slightly solid, firm to the touch but spring back. They may need to bake for an additional 5-13 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Ingredients for ganache

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/3 cup light cream
1 Tablespoon butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons Jameson (or other Irish whiskey)

Chop chocolate into fine pieces and place in a small, heatproof bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat cream to a simmer, then immediately pour over chocolate.

Let sit for a minute then stir to melt chocolate, working from the middle to the outside until smooth and liquid.

Add butter and whiskey, continuing to stir until combined and smooth. Let sit to become thick but malleable enough to pipe through a pastry bag.

Using a small knife, cookie cutter or cupcake corer, create a small cavity in the center of each cupcake, about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch down. Remove and devour cupcake pieces.

Scoop ganache into a piping bag fitted with a wide tip (or just the coupling) and pipe into the cupcake holes and center of the tops.

Ingredients for frosting

1 cup butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and gradually add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. After each addition, increase speed to high for 20-30 seconds before reducing to low and adding more powdered sugar. Continue to scrape bowl as needed. After all the sugar is incorporated, add Bailey's and beat on high for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Transfer frosting to a piping bag and pipe as desired on top of ganache filled cupcakes.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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