Friday, March 19, 2010

Recipe Review: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Recipe: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Source: Smitten Kitten

Rating out of 5:

I like drinking whiskey, but I don't usually like alcohol flavored foods. I didn't dislike the cupcakes. The cake itself was delicious, with a very subtle hint of beer. But as a whole these really weren't my thing. The high rating is mostly for the quality of the end product, everything worked together to make what I felt was a complex, rich taste. I made these for the local pub, and everyone liked them (even though I know people will eat anything when their drunk, I'd like to think they genuinely enjoyed em!).

The recipe states that it should make 20-24 cupcakes. I got 30, with two or three coming out especially tiny. I followed the recipe exactly and found I only needed 3 cups of confectioners sugar for the frosting. Before I added the Baily's to the buttercream I was worried because the frosting was no longer creamy, but was clumping together and didn't resemble frosting at all. Once I added the 3 tablespoons of Baily's though the consistency was perfect. As is, the recipe makes just enough frosting to cover the cupcakes, which in my opinion works for the flavors involved. If you want more you should double the frosting recipe, and if your not a fan of Baily's you can substitute it with milk (as Smitten Kitchen suggests if your making these for folks who don't drink often). The whiskey I used for the ganache was Tullamore Dew.

I've reprinted the recipe here, and changed some of the wording in the directions.

Do ahead: You can bake the cupcakes a week or two in advance and store them well wrapped in the freezer. You can also fill them before you freeze them. They also keep filled, or filled and frosted, in the fridge for a day. (Longer, they will start to get stale.)

Makes 20 to 30 cupcakes

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

The 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

Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)

Baileys Frosting:
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)

Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)

Make the cupcakes: 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 salt in large bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream. 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 toothpick 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 filling: 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. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes- I did ended up stirring every 10 minutes for 30 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

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 (this wonderful technique means less of a chance of getting grainy frosting, and also requires less sugar).

When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

Ice and decorate the cupcakes. I dyed them green but, obviously, didn't concern myself too much with their appearence. Smitten Kitchen made little "poofs" with a tip, which you can do as well, though I'm not such a fan of that either.

Not bad, considering this was my first time making cupcakes with a filling!

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