I finally baked beer in a cupcake and I LOVED IT! I made Chocolate Stout Cupcakes filled with Irish Cream and wow, they are something special. For years now, I’ve watched others make many versions of this cupcake around St. Patrick’s Day. And like so many other recipes, this has been filed away as an idea to try “someday.” Well, that day has come. This will be the beginning of a new tradition. Let’s pause for a moment of silence. :)
As I shared in my last post, Irish Soda Bread has become part of our March baking each year. And now, after all of the feedback I’ve received, I’m pretty sure these cupcakes are going to be added to the list.
The first thing I needed to do was pick a stout. With all the craft beers out there these days, there was no lack of choices. I don’t drink much stout, but I was drawn to Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout. I figured the extra chocolate flavor for a chocolate cake could only be a good thing, right?
The cake was really easy to make. No creaming butter and sugars. In fact, you melt the butter with the stout and bring it to a simmer. Then you stir in the cocoa and your kitchen suddenly smells as if brownies are baking. I used my favorite Double Dutch Dark Cocoa for this recipe. It’s the same cocoa that makes Black Cocoa Brownies so, so good. That heavenly chocolate mixture then gets added to sour cream and eggs and finally your flours, sugars and other dry ingredients are added.
The cake comes out rich and chocolaty; the flavor is amazing. I love a dark chocolate cake and this really satisfies a chocolate craving without putting you in a sugar coma. Different cocoas will yield different flavors, so use your favorite good cocoa; I think a Dutch process cocoa is going to give you the best flavor here. I’m also partial to a dark cocoa for this cake.
If you’re thinking that stout in a cake doesn’t work, let me be the first (or one hundredth) to tell you that it does. You know how people tell you that you won’t taste the coffee or the coconut in a recipe? I always taste the coffee or the coconut in a recipe. The stout by itself was delicious, if you’re into chocolate and beer. In the cake, it’s simply mellow and wonderful and I don’t think anyone would actually know if you didn’t tell them.
I debated how I would finish off the cupcakes. Fill? Frost? Ganache? I decided to do all of the above. Sometimes more is better.
In order to fill, you need to core. I own a cupcake corer. I’ve used it once. I wanted to use it for these cupcakes, but quite frankly, it didn’t core out enough of the cupcake to hold as much filling as I had planned. I didn’t want my cupcake to be like those jelly doughnuts you bite into with so little jelly in it, it’s hardly worth calling a jelly doughnut. So, I decided to use a pastry tip to make a bigger cavity and then used a knife to scrape even a bit more cake out. I wanted lots of filling for this cupcake.
For the filling, I used Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting as the base and added Bailey’s Irish Cream for flavor. I wasn’t sure how that would work out, but the taste was wonderful. I used 6 tablespoons because I really wanted the flavor to come through. You could use less or none at all. It did really loosen up the frosting which was fine for filling, but I also wanted to use it as a topping. I used a round tip to pipe a dollop on each and everything worked out fine.
Once the cupcakes were filled and the little cake bottoms replaced, it was time for a quick dip in ganache. I love this particular recipe for coating cakes. It’s the one I used for A Tandy Birthday Cake and it is shiny and beautiful and sets up perfectly fudgy. The recipe makes more than what you need to cover the cupcakes, but I prefer the larger amount so there’s a big enough pool to dip into. After dipping, it’s time to finish them off with a swirl of the Irish Cream frosting and a dusting of chocolate shavings.
Feedback from my family? Well, I bake quite often. We also try many cupcakes in little specialty shops hoping to find that perfect little bakery. Even with all that, my husband said this was the best cupcake he’s ever had. Ever. He said he hates when someone sells a cupcake and it doesn’t really deliver on the flavor they describe in the name. My sister is visiting for the week and she told me that she really doesn’t even like cake, but she agreed with my husband. This was the best cupcake she’s ever had. Ever. She also said that she would never have seconds of a cupcake, but trust me when I tell you that my whole family, including my sister who isn’t fond of cake, was negotiating splitting another one….and then splitting another one. Yeah. They were good. Really good.
There’s the rich dark chocolate cake, then the lightness of the filling with the yummy taste of Bailey’s. The ganache on top is fudgy and almost chewy and works perfectly with the cake. The sprinkle of chocolate shavings is not only pretty, but it adds great flavor and a bit of texture to the creamy topping.
By the time we had them for dessert, they had been in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. I decided I didn’t want mine to be cold and I didn’t want to wait, so I stuck it in the microwave for a few seconds. My filling melted a bit, but it was still so good. I can tell you it’s delicious cold, especially if you like cold cake. Otherwise, I would take them out about a half hour or so before serving and let them sit at room temperature so they can warm up a bit. I think I like them best that way.
Like the ganache, I’m giving you a full filling/frosting recipe. You might have a cup or so left over. It all depends on how much you fill and how much you top, but the amount in the recipe will give you plenty to do whatever you want to. I decided to generously fill and conservatively top.
You’ll also have all of those cake crumbs left over from coring out your cupcakes. (That’s if you didn’t decide they were free game while you were coring :) Save the extra crumbs in a bowl and cover it. Save your extra ganache, cover it and store it in the refrigerator. Stay tuned. We’re going to use those for tomorrow’s post.
Chocolate Stout Cupcakes filled with Irish Cream. You’ll see tomorrow that it’s a delicious tradition…
that keeps on giving.