Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chocolate Boozy Cake Love: Holiday Throwdown Part 2

Aren't you special...
If anyone can come up with a more official title for these, I would greatly appreciate it. I'm looking for something a little more original than the obvious. (HINT: The three special ingredients are Guinness, Jameson, and Baileys).
I am SO thrilled that so many people were able to try these. I have been planning on making them for quite a long while. I thought they would be pretty labor intensive, but with strategic planning it really wasn't too bad. I waited so long to make them that they became kind of grandiose in my mind. Fortunately, they lived up to the occasion and vice/verse.

Because I was so busy when I made these, I made the cupcakes and the ganache the night before I intended to fill/frost them. I have heard that the cupcakes will keep for up to two weeks in the freezer before you want to use them!
These are definitely grown up cupcakes. Sure, there's straight Jameson in the chocolate ganache and Baileys mixed into the cream cheese icing, but they have a subtle, dark chocolatey sweetness that makes you feel downright fancy. No one element of the cupcake stands alone and overpowers. Every flavor leads into the next fluidly, and beautifully. The original recipe called for buttercream icing, but I said no thank you. Why would I make an icing that is almost completely butter and only good in very small quantities when I could use cream cheese? (AND THEN ADD BOOZE TO IT!)

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup Guinness (or some equally flavorful dark stout)
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder*
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

*I used regular unsweetened cocoa and it came out wonderfully. I would have bought the good stuff if MurderKroger had it.

Jameson Chocolate Ganache
(Can only be described as sexy.)
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbl butter, room temperature
2 tsp Jameson (...seriously.)

Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz. bar of cream cheese, at room temperature
4 oz. butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
6 Tbl Bailey's Irish Cream*

*Regarding the alcohol: I really could not get any of the flavor I was looking for in the icing and the ganache until I added the full recommended amount. That said, feel free to add as little as you want or more to your taste. Just be careful that the frosting doesn't become runny.

Method: Cake
Preheat the oven to 350. I forgot to get an exact count, but I would recommend preparing for about 24 cupcakes. I used silver liners because really, what else is there?

Bring the stout and 1 cup butter to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Enjoy the smell. Add cocoa powder to the mixture and whisk together. Let the mixture cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 tsp. salt. In an electric mixer (or a stand mixer if you're lucky enough to have one), beat the eggs and sour cream until blended. Add the beery chocolate mixture to the eggs and beat until just blended. At a slow speed, gradually add the flour mixture. Once the all of the flour is in the bowl, turn off the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold the mixture until it is completely combined. Divide the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 of the way.

Bake for about 17 minutes, check that a toothpick comes out clean since this batter is very moist. I forgot to do this, and my cupcakes were a *tiny* bit underdone, but I like moist cake so I will chalk it up to good luck.

Method: Ganache Filling
I always prefer to use a double boiler when melting chocolate, but I was short on time so I went with the quick and dirty method. I roughly broke up the chocolate, put it in a microwave safe bowl, and heated it at thirty second intervals. Stir the chocolate at every 30 second mark, and keep an eye on it. Once it starts to get melty I usually switch to shorter intervals.

While you are microwaving or using your own preferred method to melt the chocolate, heat the cream until it simmers. Add the simmering cream and room temperature butter to the melted chocolate and whisk gently to combine. Stir in the whiskey to taste.

Method: Fill the Cupcakes
You can buy cupcake corers, you can buy 1 inch round cookie cutters, or you can take inventory of your kitchen tools, spend NO money, and find something that works.

I am in the Alton Brown school of thought when it comes to "unitaskers". I used the end of a large wooden spoon to simply press a round hole in the cupcakes. This was the easiest way I could think of, and it worked beautifully.

I used a large star tip on a pastry bag to fill the cupcakes with ganache, and I had enough ganache to let it spill over the top into a pretty little peak. The appearance of the cupcake is up to you!

Method: Frosting (last one, promise)
Put the cream cheese, butter, and confectioners sugar in your bright green stand mixer (or large bowl), and beat on medium high until light and fluffy. Slowly add the baileys, I would recommend drizzling it while on low speed so that you don't overload the frosting and make it runny.

I used a smaller star tip to create the tiny peaks. It was my first time! I thought they came out pretty well.

Please enjoy these as much as I (we, everybody, all those randos at the 5 Spot) did.

love and... money. Yeah, money.