Thursday, March 17, 2011
Happy Saint Patrick's Day! If you've been around this blog for any amount of time, then you know that we love to celebrate just about anything. Saint Patrick's Day is no exception--after all, who couldn't use a little luck of the Irish every now and again? And there is a wee bit of Irish blood in running through our veins too...just enough to make it official. (And I've heard somewhere that my ginger-hued hair makes me related to the Leprechauns.)
And like those crafty little Leprechauns, I've been making a little mischief myself--in the kitchen. The plan is to have corned beef and cabbage for dinner, as always, but this year I've thrown in a side of colcannon made with both kale and cabbage, and for dessert...Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes.
Have you ever had an Irish Car Bomb? I really have no idea where they originated, but they are probably a riff on the popular Sake Bomb. Basically you fill a pint glass 3/4 full with Guinness then sink a shot glass that's half Irish Whiskey and half Bailey's into the beer. Then the lucky imbiber must guzzle the entire thing, before the Bailey's curdles (which doesn't take any time at all). I've tried this once in my life--and once may be enough. The flavor is really surprisingly good, but drinking such a heavy beer so quickly is quite...the challenge.
An Irish Car Bomb tastes like dessert...almost like a Mudslide. It's thick and creamy and its flavors lend very, very well to these cupcakes. The cake batter is made with chocolate and Guinness, then after they are baked they're filled with some ganache spiked with whiskey. Finally they are topped with a butter cream frosting made with Bailey's. The resulting (adult-only) cupcake borders on being obscenely rich, but it is unbelievably delicious too. One of these Irish Car Bombs is most certainly not enough. Well, on second thought, if I want to fit into my jeans, one is most definitely enough.
Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Oh my goodness. This cupcake is really the best cupcake I've ever made...and I've made a lot of cupcakes. It's so moist, in part due to the injection of whiskey-spiked ganache, and the Bailey's butter cream frosting is simply out of this world. Make these for Saint Patrick's Day--or for your birthday. Or both! The Guinness in the batter will bake off, but the alcohol is very much present in the other parts of the cupcake. If you are serving these to children you may want to omit the whiskey in the ganache and substitute regular cream for the Irish cream in the frosting. Or not.
Prep time: 1 hour
Total time: 2 hours
Yield: 2 dozen
1 cup butter
1 cup Guinness beer
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sour cream
2 extra large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon Irish whiskey
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tins with paper liners. You will need 20-24.
2. Make the cupcakes. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. When butter is just melted, remove from heat and stir in the beer and cocoa powder. Cool to room temperature. Whisk in the sour cream and eggs until smooth.
3. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the chocolate/beer mixture until smooth, taking care not to over-beat the batter.
4. Fill paper muffin cups 3/4 of the way full with batter. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
5. Meanwhile make the ganache. Heat the cream to almost simmering a small pot. Place chocolate chips in a small bowl and pour the hot cream over them. Whisk until chips have melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the butter and whiskey. The ganache should be smooth and glossy. Carefully transfer the mixture to a piping bag, fitted with the long, narrow attachment.
6. Insert the piping tip into the center of each cupcake and fill slowly with ganache until you see the top of the cupcake begin to swell a bit.
7. Make the frosting. Beat the butter until smooth. Sift in 3 cups of the powdered sugar and add the Bailey's. Beat until frosting is smooth and a spreadable consistency. If necessary, add up to 1 cup more of powdered sugar.
8. Frost each cupcake sparingly, using a piping bag (or otherwise just small plops of frosting will do). These cupcakes are best eaten the same day...but will last up to one day more. Store in the refrigerator.