The luck o’ the Irish was with me when I was making these cupcakes, that’s for sure. Incorporating booze into desserts is always a recipe for a good time, but it’s never more appropriate than on St. Patrick’s Day.
Last year I topped Brown Sugar Pound Cakes with Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting to the delight of many revelers at our annual St. Pat’s festivities. Then again, get enough beer in someone and they’ll tell you anything you make is the best thing they’ve ever eaten. And then you have to be like, yeah, that’s your shoe, have another drink.
But those cupcakes were mighty tasty with the perfect amount of Irish flair. I was eager to bake with booze again and this seemed like the best time to give it a shot…for lack of a better phrase. This time the alcohol would not only be in the frosting, but also the cake, in the form of classic Irish stout.
You’ve got to love a cupcake recipe where the first step is to open a bottle of beer. From the moment I began baking I knew these cupcakes would be just what the party ordered. I used a recipe from Bon Appetit for the Chocolate Stout Cake at Barrington Brewery in Great Barrington, Mass. It was specifically a cake recipe, but I used it for cupcakes without making any modifications. They turned out quite nicely, although the darkness of the cake obscured my adorable green cupcake wrappers. Worse things have happened, I know. It also yielded about a billion cupcakes. Not that too many cupcakes is ever a bad thing, but I had a mini army of confections on my hands. I was prepared to take over the world one cupcake at a time…
The cakes baked off into perfect little packages of chocolate-stout goodness. Along the same lines as salted caramel, the beer contrasts with the sugar and chocolate giving the cake a perfect balance of sweet and savory. The beer also made them ridiculously moist as well as incredibly flavorful in a not-too-sweet way. Even on their own, sans frosting, the cakes were delicious and would have gone just as well with a cup of coffee as a blob of buttercream.
The frosting, which is just a magically simple combination of butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and Bailey’s is from my cupcake Bible, Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes. I didn’t originally plan to use the Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting because I’d already done it and was ready for a new challenge. That was until it was pointed out to me that the Bailey’s frosting paired with the stout cupcakes would yield, drum roll please…
IRISH CAR BOMB CUPCAKES!
Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Come on, you know you have a vivid memory, be it good or bad, of the last time you plunked a shot of Bailey’s into a pint glass brimming with dark, thick, foamy Guinness. Odds are you don’t recall exactly what happened after, but the sight of that murky liquid rushing towards your face as you race to beat your bar-side opponent is undoubtedly burned into your brain.
Well, now you can relive that moment and skip the hangover with a deliciously boozey cupcake. I topped some of them with malt balls just to tie in the alcoholic elements of these sweet treats. Others were adorned with charming little green clovers that popped out against the backdrop of the creamy white dollop of frosting.
These cupcakes are criminally scrumptious and dangerously addictive, just like their most intoxicating ingredients. Suffice it to say, had the Lucky Charms leprechaun tasted one of them, he would have let those little bastards keep his cereal.