March 15, 2012
Factoid: St. Patrick’s Day is a significant day in the Morgan household because (A) we both claim Irish heritage, (B) we both like Irish food, and (C) we had our first kiss on St. Patrick’s Day 2004. I was visiting Ohio State University over spring break and experienced my first truly college-ish St. Patrick’s Day, complete with green beer for breakfast. I won’t say that the experience did any good for my liver, but it certainly did wonders for my love life…
With the baby in tow and OSU about a thousand miles away, we’ll be a little more low-key this year so I’ve wrapped one of our favorite Irish drinks into a convenient little package. This is almost the same recipe I posted a couple of years ago, but I tweaked it a little to make it even better. Serving the cupcakes up in jars means the frosting can be creamier and I added a lot more of that whiskey chocolate ganache this way. I love the way they turned out in the glass with the frosting on top… almost like little pints of Guinness. I need to find little pint glasses for next year!
This recipe based off of a popular drink with an incredibly non-PC name, so we’ll just be vague and call these Irish Cocktail Cupcakes:
Makes a dozen cupcake jars
Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup Guinness
2 sticks (1 cup) of butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
Chocolate Whiskey Ganache
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 to 2 teaspoons whiskey
2 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
4 tablespoons (or one sample-size bottle) Baileys
I served these in 12 baby food jars, using Gerber 2nd step jars (which are larger than the starter Gerber foods). To prepare the jars, I removed the label and then used GooGone to get the rest of the label glue off. It helps to spray the GooGone directly onto the bottle, wait a minute, and then use a rag or coarse paper towel to scrape the glue off. Wash the jar as normal and voila! Perfect cupcake vehicles. Note: if you don’t have a baby but you want to get this look, go ahead and buy the baby food and use it in soups, smoothies, or pasta sauces. I’ve definitely “borrowed” carrots and bananas from Eva’s stash before!
Make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup Guinness 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 Guinness-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 whiskey ganache:
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. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined.
Build the cupcakes:
Divide the cupcakes in half and get your jars out. To start building the jars, remove the paper from one cake and push the cupcake into the bottom of the jar. It takes a little coaxing, but usually they pop right in there and fit nicely. You’ll be using two cupcakes for each jar, so if you’ve made 24 cupcakes, pop 12 of them into 12 jars. Pour the whiskey ganache over the cupcakes. It’s up to you how much you want to use, but I think that stuff is delicious so I poured almost 1/4 cup into each. Pop the jars into the freezer so the ganache hardens up a bit. Once it’s more fudgey than liquidy, put another cupcake into the jar on top of the ganache and use your finger to flatten it down a bit so there’s room for the frosting.
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. It doesn’t matter if it’s a little thin – you want it to be light and almost foamy to get the right effect. Since it will be in the jars, you don’t need to worry about it running off the cake.
Put the frosting into a piping bag or Ziploc bag with the corner cut off and pipe the frosting into the jars. If you’ll be shipping the jars or need to put lids on them for any reason, be careful not to frost above the edge of the jar. If you don’t need to worry about closing them, pipe in as much frosting as you want, because that stuff is delicious!