I may not have a drop of Irish blood in me, but I can sure appreciate an old Irish whiskey. I particularly relish in a glass of Jameson neat or Bushmills on the rocks. An Irish friend (and fellow whiskey enthusiast) of mine created the perfect dessert recipe for our St. Patrick’s Day dinner party: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes—an impeccable combination of delectable chocolate Ganache-filled cupcakes, Irish whiskey, and Irish cream frosting.
[An Irish Car Bomb is a popular “bomb” or “drop” shot cocktail. To make, fill a pint glass half-full with Guinness and pour 1 part Jameson Irish Whiskey in a shot glass before floating a thin layer of Bailey’s Irish Cream on top. The idea is to drop the shot into the pint glass and begin drinking once the shot glass hits the bottom.]
Shannon Flowers, the recipe master and baker, combined her personal chocolate cake recipe with two other “Irish Car Bomb Cupcake” recipes found online. The chocolate was rich, but not too rich. The cupcake was moist, but didn’t crumble in your hands. She tweaked a couple ingredients and added her own to create what our friend Mitch deemed “a life-changing cupcake” after just one bite. He’s not alone—these cupcakes blew my mind and my taste buds. Shannon’s original recipe, which is thorough yet easy to follow, exposes novice bakers to the tricks of working with a variety of ingredients. These cupcakes were a hit at the party and one of the highlights of my St. Patrick’s Day. But it doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s Day for you to enjoy them as well!
1 ¼ cups Guinness stout
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups cake flour (or all-purpose flour)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt (only if using unsalted butter)
2/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
Whiskey Ganache Filling:
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3-4 teaspoons Irish whiskey
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
6-8 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
#1. To make the cupcakes: preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line twenty-four cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness, vanilla, 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 on a rack until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean—about seventeen minutes.
#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 Fill the cupcakes: using a one-inch round cookie cutter, cut the centers of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.
#5 To make the Bailey’s frosting: using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for five 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 Bailey’s and vanilla and increase the speed to medium-high and whisk for another two-three minutes, or until it is light and fluffy.
#6 Using your favorite decorating tip, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired, and enjoy! Store the leftover cupcakes in an airtight container.