St. Paddy’s Day may be over, but there’s no way I’m waiting another year to make Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes – they’re just too good.
The deliciously moist Guinness chocolate cake, smooth whiskey ganache filling, and rich Bailey’s buttercream frosting made for one spectacular and “boozy” dessert. If you’ve ever tasted an Irish car bomb, then you know these flavors work well together – the sum becoming something greater than its parts.
While I don’t plan on ordering that drink any time soon, I will certainly be making these cupcakes again. Next time, though, I’ll substitute an equal amount of Kahlua for the whiskey in the ganache – since most of the liquor flavor (and kick) comes through in the filling and frosting, it should taste more like a Baby Guinness shot (Kahlua and Bailey’s) with the added bonus of that Guinness in the chocolate base.
This recipe is fun – and easy – to make on your own. Play around with other stouts for the cake or liquors in the ganache and frosting. Happy baking (and drinking)!
Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes
Ingredients for the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
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
Ingredients for the Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey
Ingredients for the Baileys Frosting:
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons Baileys
1. 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.
2. 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 and stir until combined.
3. 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 a 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer (I used the wide end of a large piping tip and a small knife), 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. Set centers aside. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top. (I used a small spoon while the ganache was still soft which worked just fine to fill the centers).
4. 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 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.
5. Decorate and Enjoy!
Ice and decorate the cupcakes. I used a piping bag and 1A tip to frost the cupcakes, then topped half of them with sparkly green sprinkles. So not one bit of chocolate cake would would go to waste, I used the scooped out cupcake centers to crumble on the other half. I thought it made a nice presentation but feel free to get creative with toppings.
Jennifer Murray is an avid cooker, baker and lover of food. She grew up making traditional Italian recipes with her grandparents and can’t resist a homemade project – from making sausage to baking black and white cookies. Jennifer tries never to miss Sunday gravy, only makes serving sizes suitable for large family holidays and recently started teaching cooking classes in New York.