Happy super incredibly late Saint Patrick’s Day! It’s obviously belated, but whatever- I may be late to the party, but at least I brought food. I do have manners after all.
I knew right off the bat of course that I’d take advantage of the Irish holiday to bake something for the office, and I also knew that I wanted it to include a libation of some sorts (because of course taking alcohol-infused food to the office sends a great message about my work ethic, right?) I also knew that literally, I’ve done quite a few super heavy and awkward cake walks via subway as of late, and that figuratively, they were as far from being easy breezy “cake walks” as they possibly could be. Translation: Needing something easily transportable, I opted in for (drunken) cupcakes.
I decided to pay tribute to the holiday with a twist on the classic Irish Car Bomb cocktail by making Car Bomb cupcakes. I’ve actually never had a car bomb cocktail, so I had to Google the ingredients like the PTA/soccer mom-channeling, fruity-drink loving and “sleepy after one glass of wine” 28-year old I am. After both Google and Wikipedia confirmed for me that it includes Guinness beer, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and whiskey, I decided to use the three alcoholic elements and incorporate them individually into the:
1) Cake- Guinness chocolate cupcakes
2) Filling- Bailey’s Irish Cream chocolate ganache in the middle of each cupcake, and
3) Icing- Vanilla buttercream icing infused with whiskey
Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
I took a basic chocolate cupcake recipe and simply swapped out Guinness for the milk. The alcohol will be baked out of the cupcake (read: you won’t get drunk off these alone) but the flavoring will remain:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup Guinness beer*
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go. Add in the vanilla and mix until fully combined.
4. In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt together. Alternatively, add in the flour mixture and the beer bit by bit into the butter/sugar mixture in separate additions, starting with the flour. Mix until fully combined and fill each cupcake liner to 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 16-19 minutes.
*This was a true experiment for me, so recipe as it stands above made 21 cupcakes. To get to a full 2 dozen, I think adding more beer (approx. ¼-1/3 more) will do the trick, as the batter was very thick when I was finished mixing it up.
Bailey’s Chocolate Ganache
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Put the chocolate chips in a bowl and set aside.
2. In a separate saucepan, place the heavy cream and Irish cream on medium high heat until you achieve a constant, rolling boil.
3. Remove the mixture from heat and add it to the bowl of chocolate chips. Immediately cover the bowl of chips and cream with a layer of plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes.
4. Remove the plastic wrap and whisk the mixture so all ingredients blend and you get a fully blended and smooth. Let cool, then cover and keep at room temperature until ready to use.
Whiskey Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter softened
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons whiskey
1. In a large bowl, cream shortening and butter with an electric mixer. Add vanilla.
2. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
3. Add whiskey and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered until ready to use.
For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Beat again before using.
To get the ganache in the center of each cupcake, I used this cupcake corer to gut out the innards of each one. Super easy- plunge into the center of the cake, twist, lift, and pop out! A spoon or a knife could produce the same effect, but what I spend in money on fancy gadgets, I make up for in saved time and saved patience, so it’s worth it to me to buy tiny tools that can make the job as easy as possible.
To make the “cup”tail complete, I knew it needed the appropriate green garnish on top. After all, I didn’t want anyone to pinch the cupcakes because they weren’t wearing green (Devouring them shamelessly to the point where icing and ganache end up all over your face is totally acceptable, but pinching? That’s just cruel). I wanted to keep them cute and simple so that the flavors of the cake did all the talking, so I took some green fondant and a teeny heart-shaped cookie cutter and fashioned mini 4-leaf clovers out of 4 mini hearts.
Lastly, I placed the hearts on top of each circle base one at a time in a diamond shape to create the clover and adorn the top of each edible drink.
Next of course came piping the icing. I didn’t want to do a full green icing but I liked the idea of tinting it subtly, so I lined the inside of my pastry bag with several stripes of green food coloring. All you do is pour singular drops into the bag and let them fall all the way down the inside of the bag, like what you see here:
Then, when you pipe the icing, it created a striped, almost tie-dyed look, like this:
Final results are as follows:
And so now of course, I have to get them into the office. I assumed that after successfully hauling mult-layered, multi-pound cakes inside old food processor boxes, that I could EASILY take in 2 dozen cupcakes walking backwards on one foot with a blind fold without anything happening. This is where being cocky got me into trouble. I bagged them up in plastic cupcake containers and started the trek with a falsely-confident spring in my step. That spring would be the death of me, for by the time I got to the office, 2 of the shamrocks had slid off two of my cupcakes. Yes, I’m being dramatic and no, it’s not the massive food fatality it could have been, but it was still upsetting to the point that I made sure to give those two mess-ups to the people in the office I like the least (NOTE: If you happened to receive one of these cupcakes please know I am kidding for the sake of comedic relief, I swear. But then again, you still got cupcakes, so why would you care?)