Sunday, March 18, 2012

NEXT UP: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Ever heard of an Irish Car Bomb? No, I'm not talking about an explosive-equipped automobile. Irish Car Bombs are an alcoholic beverage where Baileys irish cream is mixed into Guinness beer. I had seen recipes for a baked good version of this drink before on various blogs. When I needed something to bring to a St. Patrick's Day party last night, I immediately thought of this recipe. It's not a simple treat, but it was so worth the effort. The 24 cupcakes were completely gone by the end of the night.

The ingredient list may look long but there's nothing too fancy. When I went to the Wine & Spirits store to buy the alcoholic ingredients, I was able to snag mini bottles of whiskey and Baileys. Perfect solution for someone who has no need for big bottles of those drinks sitting in my kitchen. The cashier asked if I was using them for baking; apparently several people had stopped by for those exact purchases. Guess I wasn't the only one set on making Irish Car Bomb-inspired baked goods!

Ingredients (clockwise) : cupcakes, icing, ganache

The cupcake batter smelled heavenly with the chocolate aroma mixed with the deep caramel flavor of the beer. The finished product had the tiniest hint of beer, but the beverage is mostly baked off in the oven. Make sure to insert a toothpick when you remove these from the oven to make sure they baked thoroughly.

Chocolate beer cupcakes

This recipe was also my first time "filling" a cupcake. I found a strawberry corer in my kitchen that was perfect for removing the insides of my cooled cupcakes. You can either toss the removed insides or feed them to your hungry roommate...

Preparing the cupcakes for the ganache filling

Another first for me: making ganache! It was much easier than I expected. The trick is to alternate between letting the smooth mixture sit and stirring it to thicken it. The consistency should still be thin enough to pipe through a bag.

Chocolate whiskey ganache

In the words of a baker-version of Dory from Finding Nemo: Just keep filling, just keep filling...

Last but not least came the icing. This buttercream topper should be light and fluffy. If the Baileys makes it too liquid-y, just whip in more sugar. You can definitely taste the Baileys in this component, so feel free to skip the alcohol ingredient if you like.

Baileys buttercream frosting

Of course, no St. Patty's Day treat is complete without a little green color. I added a splash of green sprinkles on top to complete my cupcakes.

The cupcakes came out looking festive and beautiful...and they tasted amazing! When split open, there was a surprise bite of sweet chocolate ganache waiting. Honestly, I don't know if I can wait until next St. Patrick's Day to make these again!

A colorful exterior with a surprise interior

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes
Slightly Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's recipe

For the beer cupcakes:
24 cupcake tins
1 cup stout beer (I actually used Saranac caramel porter)
1 cup butter
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the ganache filling:
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbs butter
1 1/2 tsp Irish whiskey

For the Baileys icing:
4 cups powder sugar
1 cup & 2 tbs butter
4 tbs Baileys Irish Cream

For the beer cupcakes: 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake tins in the tray.
2. Simmer the beer and the butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in the cocoa powder and then cool slightly.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, blend the flour, sugar, and baking soda.
4. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream.
5. Add beer/chocolate mixture to the large mixing bowl and blend. Slowly add the flour mixture to the large mixing bowl and blend.
6. Fill cupcake tins 3/4 of the way. Bake for about 17 minutes. Cool completely.

For the ganache filling:
1. Simmer the heavy cream and pour  over the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Stir to melt the chocolate. If not completely smooth, microwave for several seconds.
2. Add the butter and whiskey. Mix until smooth.
3. Let the ganache thicken by having it sit and cool. You can expedite the process by putting the ganache in the fridge, but remember to stir it every 8-10 minutes.
4. Use a cookie cutter or corer (I used a strawberry corer) to remove the centers from the cooled cupcakes.
5. Scoop the ganache into a piping bag (I used a cut Ziploc bag) and pipe into the centers of the cupcakes.

For the Baileys icing:
1. Whip the butter until fluffy.
2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and mix.
3. Add in the Baileys and whip until the mixture is not light but not too thin. Add more sugar if necessary.
4. Scoop icing into a piping bag and ice the cupcakes.

Makes 24 cupcakes.
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  1. Pretty tricky to use the strawberry corer:) Filled cupcakes are the best! Beautiful job!

    1. Thanks! At first I wasn't even sure what the tool was....maybe it was meant to be a cupcake corer after all ;)