Chocolate Stout and Irish Cream Cupcakes

If you’ve been looking for a cupcake for grown-ups – you found it.  If you’ve been looking for a manly cupcake – you found it.  If you’ve been looking for a cupcake that represents the place where a stormy Irish temper meets a sweet rendition of Danny Boy – you found it.  That’s a lot to place on the shoulders of one cupcake, but this cupcake can handle it.  This is a dark and angry cupcake with a sweet, sexy frosting to balance it out. And man oh man is it good.

Before I get too carried away (too late?) let me tell you how I happened upon this recipe.  A co-worker of mine is turning 40 tomorrow and I want to take some goodies to the office for his birthday.  So I needed a manly dessert.  It’s an office thing so I needed something that doesn’t require plates or utensils.  Enter the cupcake element.  A manly cupcake…I had little confidence that I’d find anything.  Thank goodness Food Network has a show called Cupcake Wars.  Lots of creativity on the cupcake front – including this recipe.  What could be more manly than Guinness Stout?

This is the first cupcake batter I’ve ever made in a sauce pan and I love it.  It keeps my KitchenAid bowl free for making the frosting.   Make sure you follow the directions carefully.  You’re heating liquids and then adding sour cream, eggs and vanilla to a warm pot.  You’ll need the liquid to be a little warm when you add the cocoa and sugar so the sugar will dissolve smoothly and the fats in the cocoa will melt nicely.  But if you don’t remove the pot from the heat and you don’t mix the sour cream, eggs and vanilla separately you’ll end up with scrambled eggs in your chocolate.  Gross.  If you follow the directions to the letter you’ll have a smooth, dark, rich batter with plenty of air in it.  The cake is light and spongy, without being too crumby.  It turns out black as midnight with a beautiful sheen.  And it makes a ton.  I made a dozen large cupcakes and nearly 3 dozen minis.

On to the frosting.  It’s hard to beat real buttercream.  It has a beautiful texture and a wonderful taste when it’s done properly.  And it couldn’t be easier.  The proportions are 1 stick butter to 1 C powdered sugar to 1 T liquid.  Be sure you let the butter soften on the counter.  Don’t try to do it in the microwave.  You’ll end up with some melt and the texture won’t be right.  Most recipes use milk and/or vanilla as the liquid.  This one uses Irish Cream liquer.  Yum.  It calls for a 4x amount of the buttercream, but I found that 3x made plenty.  It’s very rich so best not to over do.  Oh, and I use salted butter.  If you’re watching your salt feel free to use unsalted.

Serve with  – well anything.  More Guinness; lots of milk; coffee; whatever you like.  It won’t matter.  You won’t taste anything but the cupcake.

Good? Way beyond good.
Easy? Yep, just follow the directions.
Good for company? Definitely. It makes a ton.
Special shopping? I don’t keep Guinness in the house, but obviously it’s easy to find.

Chocolate Stout and Irish Cream Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups Irish stout (recommended: Guinness)
4 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 cups dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Irish Liqueur Frosting, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a cupcake or muffin pan with 24 regular-size cupcake liners.

Place the stout and butter in a medium-size saucepan and whisk together on medium heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat. Sift the cocoa powder into a medium-size bowl and add the sugar. Slowly whisk into the stout mixture. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla and lightly whisk until smooth. Add this mixture to the saucepan and whisk thoroughly (it may appear lumpy). Sift the flour and baking soda together in another small bowl and then add it to the saucepan, mixing a final time until the color is even.

Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter and bake until the cakes spring back after touching, about 27 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in their pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

To assemble: Pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes using a large plain tip. Dust with cocoa powder if preferred.

Irish Liqueur Frosting:
3 sticks butter
3 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur (recommended: Baileys)
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer until pale. Turn the mixer to low speed and add the Irish liqueur in a steady stream. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until a creamy consistency is achieved.

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One Response to “Chocolate Stout and Irish Cream Cupcakes”

  1. Rachel Says:

    These sound heavenly!! I bet they tasted even better than they look!

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