I’m not the first to put two and two together–or should I say two and one together in the case of these triply-boozed cupcakes–to transform the classic Irish Car Bomb cocktail recipe into a cupcake. Similar recipes sweep the web and dominate Pinterest. What’s more, I made this recipe almost two weeks after the Irish holiday during which about 95% of all Car Bomb cupcakes have likely ever been made.
And yet, earlier this week I found myself yearning to make a boozy cupcake for a friend’s upcoming birthday party, after a plea for borrowing a bike somehow transformed into a promised repayment in beer cupcakes. I spotted the bottles of whisky and Bailey’s in my kitchen, and I knew this was the recipe of the day.
I gathered all the necessary ingredients for cupcake prep, and realized I was missing one key ingredient: Guinness! So I trekked to the corner bodega, made the awkward move of breaking up a six-pack and headed to the counter with my one pint of Guinness, at 2 in the afternoon. The cashier eyed me suspiciously for a second before asking in a distinct Italian-New Yorker lilt, “Are you old enough?” “Yes?” I answered, unsure why he had made me question my own age. “Ok, fine,” he responded, and gave me a nod as if to indicate this transaction would be our little secret. On the walk back to my apartment, I took comfort in the fact that recipe called for just 8 ounces of my 16 ounce bottle…
These cupcakes aren’t difficult to make, but between the Guinness cake, whiskey ganache, and Bailey’s frosting, they do take a chunk of time from start to finish. I’d recommend making the cakes a day or two in advance, and the ganache and frosting on the day they will be served. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes, which at first seemed like a lot, but very quickly became not enough…
Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes
Makes ~24 cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
2/3 cup sour cream
For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey
For the Baileys Frosting:
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
1. To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.
3. To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling: Finely 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, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.
4. To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or the bottom of a large decorating tip), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping back with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.
5. To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.
6. Using your favorite decorating tip, or a Ziplock bag with the tip cut off, frost the cupcakes. Store in an airtight container.
An unexpected success, the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes got me wondering what cocktail creation will be next. Dark and Stormy angel food cake? Mai Tai rum cake? White Russian cookies?