Thursday, August 4, 2011

Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Frosting

I spend a good portion of my day daydreaming of far away places that I someday hope to visit. I subscribe to every imaginable travel newsletter that I come across, and usually start my morning by checking out the hot last minute deals on Travelzoo and CheapCaribbean.
Back in March, one week Travelzoo sent me their weekly Top 20 deals, featuring a 7 night luxury vacation to Ireland. My mind immediately started racing with thoughts of who I was going to find to go with me, how I was going to pay for it, and most importantly.....what I would wear!
After very little debating, my mother and myself, along with 3 other relatives, whipped out our credit cards and packed our bags. We were off to Ireland for a 7 night tour starting in Dublin, featuring stays at the Ritz Carlton and a real castle in Ashford!
Being 25% Irish, it has always been a dream of mine to visit Ireland. The beauty of pictures and postcards has always captivated my attention. But no photograph will ever compare to the breathtaking views that I've now seen in person. The rolling green hills spanning for miles paint a picturesque landscape so perfect, it seems like a movie. There I was, at age 24, another dream coming true :)
On our third day of sightseeing, we took a tour of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. Not a fan of dark beers, I was a little hesitant at the thought of having a taste test at the end of the tour. But when in Ireland, do as the Irish do! The tour concluded with a trip to the Gravity Bar at the top of the brewery. Encompassed in glass, this bar offers panoramic views of the city and .....FREE BEER!! This is where I had my first taste of Guinness. It's said that women are supposed to be able to down a glass of Guinness in 3 in 2. While I could finish it off in 3, it went down very quick and easy. It was at that moment I knew I had officially became a fan.

Yesterday, as I was starting to lose focus on my work, I couldn't help but stare at the little shot glass on my desk etched with the Guinness logo. I was quickly left with my mouth watering for that dark creamy brew. I opened my browser and started searching for something I could make and stumbled across a blog featuring a recipe for Guinness cupcakes with Bailey's frosting. I'm a huge fan of alcoholic cupcakes, so I knew this was going to be my task for the rest of my night. All the recipes on the blogosphere were pretty much the same, so, I settled on one from Sweetly Serendipity.With a dark cake, I thought this would also be a perfect opportunity to use my new zebra cupcake wrappers from Bev's Cakes and Candies.
My mouth was watering from the moment I started baking. The smell of Guinness quickly filled the kitchen as I popped the top and simmered the Guinness over low heat. With a beer in one hand and a spatula in the other, I measured, whisked, whipped, beated and poured my way through the recipe. The resulting combination was fabulous! The deep black chocolate base was light, moist and fluffy. While it was delightful, my tongue had to search to find the lingering taste of Guinness. Next time, I would probably kick up the beer a little more to overcome the cocoa powder, just slightly.
The Bailey's frosting on top, however, was the show stopper. Though very sweet, the flavor sent me back to the days of sipping Bailey's by the fire at the Ritz, while overlooking the hills of Ireland. Such a treat. On Sweetly Serendipity's note, I doubled the frosting recipe to ensure I would have enough, and it worked out perfectly. Finally, I finished off the cake with some milk chocolate shavings for an added piece of flair.
I served these at a little farewell get together that evening and they earned rave reviews! This crowd pleaser has definitely earned a spot in my recipe box!

Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey’s Buttercream
Makes 24 cupcakes

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Baileys Frosting
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout 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 stout-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, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.
For 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.
When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, add the Baileys and whip it until combined.
Decorate and Enjoy!

1 comment:

Amber said...

Wow! Amanda! These look amazing! Love how you styled the photos! You're putting me to shame! :)

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