Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

When a friend of mine turned 21, she told me all about drinking an Irish Car Bomb. Needless to say, the idea of chugging a drink before it has a chance to curdle sounds pretty awful to me. But then I saw these cupcakes. A dense, chocolate base filled with a core of rich, spiked ganache, and then crowned with a swirl of boozy frosting? Well, what can I say? When it comes to drinking, I prefer to eat my alcohol.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes
(based on recipe found here)

1 c Guinness stout
1 c unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c cocoa powder
2 c all-purpose flour
2 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, room temperature
2/3 c sour cream
Ganache Filling:
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 c heavy cream
2 Tbl butter, softened
2 tsp Irish whiskey
Bailey's Frosting:
1 c unsalted butter, softened
4 c powdered sugar, sifted
3 Tbl Bailey's Irish Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease or line 24 cupcake cups. I only own one cupcake pan, so I baked my cupcakes in two batches.
In a medium saucepan, bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer over medium heat. Add the cocoa and whisk until smooth. Cool slightly.

While the mixture is cooling, in a large bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
Using an electric mixture, beat eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined.
Add the chocolate mixture and beat just until combined.
Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture, and beat briefly. Use a rubber spatula to fold the batter until combined.
Divide among the lined/greased cups.
Bake 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn cupcakes onto a rack to cool. 

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the filling. Or if you're a good multitasker, feel free to make it while they bake. Put the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl.


Bring the cream to a simmer and pour it over the chocolate.
Leave it alone for one minute, then, using a rubber spatula, stir from the center out until smooth.
Add the butter and whiskey and stir to combine. Set it aside to cool while you make the frosting.

Beat the butter on medium speed for a few minutes, or until light, scraping sides as needed.
 Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add all the powdered sugar.
Add the Bailey's and increase the speed to medium-high, whipping until light and fluffy (~2-3 minutes).
To assemble: Use a melon-baller to hollow out the cupcakes (go a little more than halfway down).

Transfer the ganache to a piping bag, or a squeeze bottle, or even a freezer zip-top bag and fill in those holes!
Then, using a large star tip, pipe a swirl of Bailey's frosting on top of the cakes, masking the ganache.
Store in an airtight container. We kept ours in an airtight container in the fridge and they lasted a week. Let them sit out at room temperature so the icing softens before serving.
Until next time!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fishy Birthday

It's MoMo's birthday! was. Back in April. It may have taken me until Mother's Day to post about it, but her birthday cake was on time!
Sure, I could have settled and bought a pre-made monstrosity from the grocery store...who am I kidding? Buying a cake would probably cause me to burst into flames, and I don't want to risk that. Besides, to me, store-bought birthday cakes always tend to look something like this:
I don't even want to know
Instead of questionably themed, chemically altered baked goods, I read a little on shaped cakes. Inspired by this cake from Martha Stewart magazine, I decided to take the plunge. MoMo loves the ocean, spends her summers on the beach, and has Finding Nemo practically memorized. I knew she'd get a kick out of a fish cake.
It was very do-able. There was no fondant rolling or finicky layer-stacking. Just a 13x9 yellow cake and a small mountain of lemon buttercream.
My fishy isn't perfect, but MoMo loved him. She said it was the best birthday cake she'd ever had. Not bad for my first try!
I reduced the size of the pattern pieces so they'd all fit on one 13x9 cake. The original instructions called for two cakes, and I thought that was too much. I fastened the pieces down with toothpicks so they wouldn't shift as I cut them out with a paring knife.
Woo! I think we all know those scraps were put to good use ;]
Fit the pieces like a tasty puzzle and use light blue buttercream to hold together
Before you dye the buttercream blue, put 1/8 c aside and dye it red for the mouth.
Crumb coat
I refrigerated the cake between the crumb coat and the second layer of icing to keep the buttercream from getting unruly.
Clean, neater fin details
Darken the remaining icing and pipe scales using a petal icing tip
Add a squiggly smile!
It's time for your close-up! The camera loves you!
I covered the pan with blue Mardi Gras beads and sprinkled paper spirals over the top. Each spiral had a 'remember when' line on it. It was so fun watching MoMo unfurl each spiral and laugh.

Happy birthday MoMo! Just keep swimming!
Until next time!