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Chocolate Beer Cupcakes

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I love making layer cakes, but sometimes I just can’t resist making cupcakes.  Their size is so irrestible, and they are great to serve to a crowd.  It had been a while since I made cupcakes, so I decided to make a batch one night.  I thought these chocolate-beer ones would be perfect for our group of friends :)  I also love making filled cupcakes, and the ganache filling sounded just right.

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The cupcakes came together very easily.  I let them cool, and then scooped part of the center out.  This was made very easy using a grapefruit knife.  The ganache was so delcious.  I didn’t have any whiskey, so I used rum instead, and it turned out great.  I had just enough to fill all of the cupcakes.  The frosting was to die for.  It was so rich and creamy.  I made double the amount the recipe called for, since the original post said that it made a small quantity, and I am a frosting person all the way.  After frosting all the cupcakes, I had some left over, but I knew exactly what to do with it :)  I decorated them with some pretty red sprinkles to make them festive.  Everyone really liked them, and really thought the ganache was a great surprise when biting into the cupcakes.  They were pretty chocolaty, and I would definitely recommend trying them!

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Chocolate Beer Cupcakes
Source: Smitten Kitchen

While the Guinness in the cake gets mostly baked out, the Baileys is fresh and potent, so if you’re making this for people who don’t drink – ahem, nobody I know, but I hear such people exist – you’ll probably want to swap it with milk.

The Baileys frosting recipe makes a smallish amount of frosting – enough to just cover the cupcakes. Because they were so rich and this frosting so sweet, I felt it only needed a little. Double it if you want more of a towering effect.

Makes 20 to 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

Ganache Filling
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon Irish whiskey (updated to add this, optional)

Baileys Frosting (see Recipe Notes)
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 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, 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). 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 is a fantastic trick I picked up while working on the cupcakes article for Martha Stewart Living; the test kitchen chefs had found that when they added the sugar slowly, quick buttercream frostings got less grainy, and tended to require less sugar to thicken them up.]

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 used a star tip and made little “poofs” everywhere and sprinkled it with various colors of sanding sugar to keep it looking festive for New Years. I bet shaved dark and white chocolates would look gorgeous as well.]

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.)



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24 Responses

  1. These sound great and your pictures are just amazing! Great job!

  2. I made this cake last year, but not the fancy filled version. I thought it was great. It was so rich and chocolately, and I love that.

  3. These cupcakes are just so pretty! But, it’s the flavor combination that makes me want to devour them. I love the idea of beer and chocolate….mmm, and a ganache center! Can’t wait to try these!

  4. Wow these look great. I made a Guinness chocolate cake in december, but these cupcakes bring it to a whole other level!

  5. I just saw these on Smitten Kitchen, too, and couldn’t wait to see them again. I’m glad you liked them, as I was a little hesitant. Now I know I must make these myself. Thanks for sharing!!!

  6. These look so great!! My husband would devour these…I think I’ll make them for his birthday! Thanks!

  7. Ahhh yes! You made them! Weren’t they just fantastic?!

  8. these look and sound delicious!

  9. This looks awesome and I love the use of beer in these!

  10. I’ve been wanting to make these since they were posted on SK. However, the red velvet whoopie pies are next on my list, so they will have to wait. Maybe I’ll make these for St. Pat’s. Great pics!

  11. Gorgeous cupcakes!!! I love the added kick too!

  12. These look great. I love me a boozey cupcake! :) Yours are so pretty, too.

  13. I would have NEVER thought to put beer in a cupcake. I bet it’s fabulous! Not only do they sound delicious, they look pretty too!

  14. I’ve heard of beer bread but never beer cupcakes! What will they think of next :)

  15. OMG! These so moved up to number one for me to make! I have everything except the bittersweet chocolate. I just used all mine up making V-day gift. This is an AWESOME recipe. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  16. I never thought of putting Guinness in cupckaes and I actually have some Guinness in my fridge now that need to be used up. These cupckaes look so good and I like the addition of the ganache filling. Thanks for sharing this tasty looking recipe.

  17. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! Your cupcakes look absolutely delicious!

  18. Those cupcakes look good! And there is beer in them!

  19. Smitten Kitchen is awesome! Chocolate and beer… how great!?

  20. My friend makes these with a little Jameson’s in the ganache and calls them Irish Carbomb Cupcakes (from the beer/shot concoction of the same name.)

  21. Made them for thanksgiving. OMG, they are wonderful. Made a few normal size, plus a couple dozen mini’s for those who didn’t want the full effect. Directions call for an apple corer to make the hole. I used a small seed remover spoon. Easier to control the dept of the hole.

  22. Can You Actually Taste the Beer?
    I would Love to make them, but i want to taste the beer.,

  23. Can’t wait to make these! They are next on my list of things to bake.

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