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Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

August 21, 2009

Smitten Kitchen has long been the queen of all things culinary on the wonderful, magical interweb (All Hail Smitten Kitchen!!) – and if there were any questions of her sublime culinary prowess, they were laid ultimately to rest (for me) with the unveiling of her Chocolate Whiskey & Beer Cupcakes.

To the best of my knowledge, this has never before existed in the world. Which kinda has to make you a little sad for the people that lived their lives without ever having the option of an Irish Car Bomb cupcake.

For the less bar-savey of you out there, an Irish Car Bomb is a drink you order when you are crazy intoxicated, and/or dedicatedly celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. In a shot glass, you mix Baileys Irish Cream and Jameson’s Irish whiskey and then drop the whole shot glass into a three-quarters full pint of Guinness then chug this whole foaming mess down quickly. Before it curdles. And makes you puke. A lot.

I’d never made a Smitten Kitchen recipe, in part out of awe and in part out of shear laziness (baking is a hellova lot harder then cooking, ya’ll). But my brother in law was hitting the big 30 (+ 1), and if there’s anything the wonderfully sweet brother in law loves, its whiskey.

So, Friday night, the wonderfully sweet husband and I kicked around the kitten making cupcakes, staying perfectly true to the recipe with one itty bitty deviation. We don’t own Jamison Irish Whiskey. So we used Markers Mark. Thus what follows is her recipe – its amazing. Its everything that you’d want in your chocolate beer, whiskey ganache filled, Bailey’s buttercream topped cupcakes. And so so so much more.

Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes [AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEN!]
[my thoughts are sprinkled in a bit, always in bold]

While the Guinness in the cake gets mostly baked out, the Baileys is fresh and potent, so if you’re making this for people who don’t drink, you’ll probably want to swap it with milk (or not make those cretins cupcakes in the first place). Or, do what I did and add more then the recommended amount of Baileys (to taste, of course).

Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes – or when I did it, 12 cupcakes and one 8 inch mini cake.

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
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
Ganache Filling (Updated to double it, based on many commenters suggestions — thanks!)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)
Baileys Frosting (see Recipe Notes)
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)
Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or small spoon and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work) or small spoon.
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 separate 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.
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 your 1-inch round cookie cutter or spoon (these don’t have to be incredibly perfect, no one will see’em), 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 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 (or fill with a small spoon, if you’re tired and baked out at this point).

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 (or milk) 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.)

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