Sunday, January 1, 2012

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Happy New Year everyone! I wish this new year of 2012 brings each of you and your families joy, love, and prosperity. And I hope you all celebrated with bang on New Year's Eve.

Last night at New Year's eve, as usual, was spent with my folks at their place. My mom prepared (or should I say "ordered") most of the foods that was served for dinner. I offered to make my Tom Kha soup since most of us were sick and I figured soup would be a good thing for us. I also made my much loved Buffalo Chicken Dip. However, I really wanted to make cupcakes since I haven't made any in a while. Around St. Patrick's Day months ago, I came across recipes for Irish Car Bomb cupcakes all over the blogosphere. Do you know what an Irish Car Bomb is? I don't. Its apparently a cocktail that consists of Guinness Stout, Irish whiskey, and Bailey's Irish Cream. I'm a real light-weight when it comes to drinking alcohol. Its rare that you'll even see me with an alcoholic beverage, aside from cough medicine. So this cupcake was completely foreign to me. But I had a huge bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream that I like to put in my hot chocolate on those rare occasions, and I needed to start using it up. There's only so much hot chocolate with Bailey's Irish Cream I could take. And heck, it was New Year's Eve. If I wasn't gonna booze it up, might as well do it in a cupcake form. So when I came across this recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker, I took it as a sign to finally make it for the New Year.

I didn't have any Guinness Stout or Irish whiskey. So I substituted them with the Bailey's Irish Cream, which still gave the cupcake that hint of alcohol taste without overpowering it. Since I'm a light-weight, this version was perfect for me. It was really yummy. I especially like how creamy the frosting turned out.

1 cup Guinness Stout (I used Bailey's Irish Cream)
1 cup (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4  tsp. salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Line cupcake pan with 24 cupcake liners.

2) In a medium saucepan, bring Guinness and butter to a simmer over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

3) Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce speed to low, gradually add flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold mixture until completely combined.

4) Scoop batter into cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake until toothpick test comes out clean, about 17 minutes (note: centers may collapse/sink, but that's okay because it will be filled with the ganache). Cool completely on a cooling rack.

Whiskey Ganache filling
8 ounces (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. Irish Whiskey (I used Bailey's Irish Cream)

1) Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. In another bowl, heat heavy cream to a simmer and pour over chocolate chips. Allow to sit for about 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, stir chocolate from the center and outward until smooth. Add butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Allow for the ganache to cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

2) Cut a 1-inch hole at the center of each cooled cupcake. Transfer ganache into a piping bag or plastic sandwich bag. Cut off the tip and pipe ganache into the hole of cupcake, filling all the way to the top.

Bailey's frosting
2 cups (8 sticks. yup, that's a lot) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioner's sugar
6 Tbsp. Bailey's Irish Cream

1) Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip butter on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually add confectioner's sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Bailey's Irish Cream, increase speed to medium-high and whip for another 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Frost prepared cupcakes.

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