Chocolate Stout Cupcakes filled with Irish Cream

By |2017-12-16T22:06:22+00:00March 13th, 2015|Cakes, Desserts, Frostings & Fillings|31 Comments

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes filled with Irish Cream

Hold everything!


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.


Chocolate Stout Cupcakes filled with Irish Cream

Servings 18 -24 cupcakes


For the cake:

  • 1 cup stout I used Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout
  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sour cream I used light

For the Filling/Topping:

  • 8 ounce block of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 Tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream or other cream liqueur

For the ganache:

  • 3 Tablespoons corn syrup
  • 6 ounces heavy cream
  • 12 ounces dark chocolate chopped into small pieces (I used Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Pounder Bar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Chocolate shavings for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray muffin pans.
  2. Bring the stout and butter to a simmer in a heavy sauce pan. Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until combined.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream until combined.
  5. Pour a small amount of the slightly cooled stout/chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and beat to combine and warm up the mixture a bit. Pour in the remaining chocolate mixture and beat until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  6. Fold in the flour mixture slightly with a rubber spatula (so that flour won't fly everywhere), then beat with mixer briefly. Then use the spatula to fold the batter until completely combined.
  7. Scoop into prepared pans filling each cup about 2/3 full. You don't want to over fill or the batter will rise up and over the top of the cup creating a lip on the edge of the cupcake. This will make it harder to remove from the pan.
  8. You should get about 18-24 cupcakes depending upon how full you fill them. Fill any remaining empty cups half way with water to prevent the pan from over heating.
  9. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Mine took exactly 18 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes or until firm enough to remove while still warm. Run a knife carefully around the edge of each cake if necessary to help remove. Transfer to a rack to finish cooling.
  10. Make the filling/topping. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add the sugar, salt and vanilla and beat until combined and sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
  11. Whip the heavy cream until it reaches soft peaks, drizzling in the Bailey's throughout the process. Continue to beat until you get stiff peaks. You may not get normal stiff peaks because of the addition of the liqueur, but you should at least get to the point where your beaters are clearing a path and leaving a defined pattern in the mixture. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until combined and then use the electric mixer to fully combine and whip it back up a bit. Cover and store in refrigerator until you're ready to top the cupcakes.
  12. Using a cupcake corer, knife or pastry tip remove the core of the cupcake. If using a pastry tip, you'll need to turn it while you press it into the cupcake. I used a knife to scrape a little more out and make more room. Whatever method you use, you need to insure you've preserved the bottom piece of the core so that it can be replaced later.
  13. Using a round pastry tip, or a heavy food storage bag with the corner snipped off, fill the core of each cupcake leaving just a bit of space for replacing the bottom. If your bottom piece is too thick, cut some of it off so that it is thinner and press the piece back into the bottom of the cupcake as if you were plugging it back up. Repeat until all cupcakes are cored, filled and re-plugged.
  14. Place all filled cupcakes on a tray and set aside in the refrigerator while you make the rest of the toppings.
  15. Make your chocolate shavings by taking a sharp knife and shaving the chocolate from the edge of a bar as if you were cutting slices. Slice so thin, they are shaving off. This works best with a thick piece of chocolate. If you get any pieces that are too thick or too long, just run your knife through them a few times until you get the texture you want. I used Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Pounder Bar. You'll need about a tablespoon or two of shavings.
  16. Make the ganache. Combine the corn syrup and heavy cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Set aside.
  17. Take cupcakes that have been waiting in the refrigerator and dip the tops straight into the ganache making sure the entire top is covered. I swirled the cupcake in circles above the pan to help release the excess chocolate, then flipped it right side up and placed it back on the tray.
  18. Use the remaining filling from the refrigerator to top your cupcakes. I used the same round tip I filled the cupcakes with, but you can spoon it on top or use another plastic food bag with the corner snipped off to top them.
  19. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings.
  20. Store cupcakes in refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator 20-30 minutes before serving to let them warm up a bit, but you can also serve them cold, if you prefer. They are delicious both ways.

Recipe Notes

*You can bake the cupcakes the day before and store them in an airtight container at room temperature to get a head start on the process. Then, you can make and do all of the filling and topping the next day.

*You don't have to use a chocolate stout; pick whatever you like. Many use Guinness for this recipe.

*You can use regular unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe, but Dutch process will give you a smoother, more mellow flavor.

*Use full fat cream cheese for the most stability in your frosting. I use Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

*Cake recipe adapted from Epicurious

Frosting/Filling adapted from Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting

Ganache recipe from Alton Brown

The Merchant Baker Copyright © 2015

By |2017-12-16T22:06:22+00:00March 13th, 2015|Cakes, Desserts, Frostings & Fillings|31 Comments


  1. Cyndi B March 14, 2015 at 7:26 am - Reply

    Wow! These look great! I think, along with your Irish soda bread, these will help complete my corned beef/ cabbage Irish dinner tomorrow. Thanks for another delicious recipe.

    • Ramona March 14, 2015 at 8:11 am - Reply

      Sounds like you’re going to have one delicious feast! Your guests are lucky to have someone like you to spoil them so well!

  2. […] Recipe via […]

  3. Cyndi B March 16, 2015 at 7:06 am - Reply

    Wow, these were better than any bakery cupcake I have ever had. These were delicious. That whipped frosting is good enough I could eat it in a bowl! I have enough leftover that I decided on St. patricks Day I will make us Irish coffes and pipe the leftovers on top of the coffee. This is the recipe that keeps giving. I also made the truffles, they were so fancy! I found that the chocolate was very easy to shave with a vegetable peeler and the curls were really neat and tidy. Thanks for helping me to wow my family. After this meal, my son said “I think you should cater our wedding mom.”(I don’t think so, haha)

    • Ramona March 16, 2015 at 7:50 am - Reply

      It sounds like your feast was a huge success! I’m glad the cupcakes were an impressive ending to your corned beef and cabbage dinner. And I agree, that whipped frosting is so good…leftovers never go to waste here either :) Thanks for sharing! I thought of you yesterday and hoped all had turned out well…and it sounds like it did!

  4. Jannel March 21, 2015 at 11:44 am - Reply

    These were wonderful cupcakes. I brought them for potluck at my husband’s work. I got a ton of compliments on them. Only thing I noticed was salt amount missing from cupcake ingredient list. Thank you for such a great recipe.

    • Ramona March 21, 2015 at 12:33 pm - Reply

      Oh no! Sorry about that! I fixed it…3/4 teaspoon. I read each post so many times hoping to avoid any mistakes like that. Glad you caught it and I’m thrilled that they worked out for you.

  5. Jake3_14 March 6, 2016 at 1:40 am - Reply

    I know that you use a convection oven, but what do you estimate the baking time for the cupcakes would be for a regular oven?

    • Ramona March 6, 2016 at 8:29 am - Reply

      Hi Jake! I have a convection oven and a regular oven. I always try to make as many recipes in the regular oven for the blog because that’s what most people own. I also prefer baking cakes in my regular electric oven and cookies in my convection. I’ll even bake cookies in the regular oven to time them for my readers. I think I’ve only mentioned convection a couple of times so far in the history of the blog, but you have me stumped. I didn’t see mention of it in this particular post. So, the time should be exactly what you need for your regular electric oven. My oven is calibrated, so the temperature is accurate as stated in the recipe. If your oven runs hot or cold, that will change your time. I always check cakes at the shortest time, given that they look “done” visually from my oven window. If your oven runs hot, check even sooner. I try to avoid opening the oven until that very first test because the temperature drops quickly even if the door is opened quickly and you want it to be at the stated temperature especially during the crucial rising stages of your cake. So, you should be good to go! I hope this means you’re planning on baking them. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! :)

      • jake3_14 March 7, 2016 at 8:37 pm - Reply

        Thanks for clarifying which dishes you use the different ovens for. My oven thermometer shows that the oven is true to the programmed temps, but as I may have noted elsewhere, my baking times for some of your recipes (cornbread, PB blondie) is nearly double yours.

        I’ll keep my fingers crossed and work with a more experienced baker when I first attempt this recipe for an Irish-themed fundraising dinner next week.

        • Ramona March 8, 2016 at 10:04 am - Reply

          Jake, without being in your kitchen, I don’t think I can trouble shoot this much further. I mentioned oven temp, which is a common culprit. But, I suppose it could be the size of pan you’re using or the type of pan, or even what shelf in the oven you’re baking it on. (I generally use the middle rack and will notate if it’s different than that.) My recipe baking times all fall within normal ranges, so it’s surprising to me that your baking time is double. That’s a huge variance. I’m sorry that they aren’t working out for you. Good luck with your future baking endeavors.

          • jake3_14 March 14, 2016 at 5:18 pm

            The only recipe which clocked in at double the time was the cornbread. I don’t mind experimenting with the timing; your recipes are *so* delicious and distinctive! My wife, for example, sampled the undecorated cupcakes and gave me this feedback: “I promise I will *not* eat the other 10 cupcakes tonight.”

          • Ramona March 14, 2016 at 5:21 pm

            Jake, they are difficult to resist. That’s one of the benefits of testing, you have extra cupcakes to sample!

          • Jake3_14 March 17, 2016 at 12:37 am

            I took your advice, increasing my oven temp. By 25º and forgoing the silicone baking cups (but greasing the pan extremely well). The cupcakes cooked perfectly in 20 minutes, and I lost only two during the release, mostly due to carelessness. The cocoa you recommended is quite interesting. Normally, I don’t like the astringency from the alkali used in the dutching processing, but in this case, it offset the richness of the batter quite nicely. I’m going to give the cupcake corer I bought a try and see if I can get more cream inside the cupcake.

            Thanks again for troubleshooting my oven and cooking technique problems.

          • Ramona March 17, 2016 at 9:08 am

            Glad it all worked out for you!

  6. Heather March 12, 2016 at 10:58 am - Reply

    Is the sugar in the filling granulated or powdered?

    • Ramona March 12, 2016 at 12:58 pm - Reply

      The sugar is granulated. In any of my recipes, I will always specify when it’s confectioner’s sugar (powdered) but in this one, just plain old white granulated sugar works great! The filling is amazing. I think you’re going to love it!

  7. jake3_14 March 14, 2016 at 1:58 am - Reply

    I’d never made a dessert nearly this complicated; I even had to look up what “folding” was! But Ramona’s instructions were letter-perfect, as always, and I got to use my hand-me-down portable mixer for the first time. I made a test half-batch in preparation for a big baking job for a fundraiser soon, and it came out well. I don’t even like cupcakes, as a rule, and I was in heaven with this batter!

    I had to make a couple of substitutions:

    – I used Young’s double-chocolate stout, since BevMo was out of the Smith’s
    – I used the undutched cocoa powder I had on hand while waiting for the King Arthur brand to arrive

    My observations:

    – I had to bake the muffins for 25 minutes. My oven, despite what the thermometer says, must be cooler than the programmed temp., so that’s not a knock against Ramona.

    – This batter is very sticky. I used silicone baking cups, and I still lost the bottoms of the first two muffins I released before I modified my release method. Also, when working the cupcakes after they cooled, I wore nitrile gloves to reduce the chance of the muffins sticking to my fingers. I also put parchment paper under the cored and filled muffins, and I still lost a bit of the plugs to stickiness.

    – You really do need to widen and deepen the hole for the cream. Otherwise, there’s just a tiny drop at the bottom of the cupcake.

    – I find Trader Joe’s bulk chocolate bars to have an astringent “finish.” I know that Callebaut makes the bars, but it must be a cheaper grade of chocolate than their name-brand chocolate. I did a taste comparison with the Callebaut-branded dark chocolate chips I bought for my big batch, and the latter were creamy, without the harsh quality. I’m not thrilled with the blandness of the branded chips, though, and I’ll probably buy a better chocolate (like Cordillera) in the future.

    I can tell that this recipe is going to be a big hit at the fundraiser.

    • Ramona March 14, 2016 at 9:35 am - Reply

      Jake, you always give such detailed feedback which is appreciated. I’m always surprised at how different your experiences are. I think we always come back to your oven temperature. These cupcakes weren’t sticky for me. As you can see in the photos, they came cleanly out of the pan and were sturdy and easy to work with when coring out the middles. You and I did bake them differently, though. I baked mine in a sprayed pan, no liners. Cupcakes/muffins etc. will bake up differently in paper liners and in silicone baking cups. I generally like to use parchment paper liners, but for this recipe, I didn’t want any paper marks left from wrappers and I found that the cupcakes baked up beautifully without. Silicone is a poor heat conductor. That, coupled with a low oven will give you a significantly different result.

      So, now that you’ve given some detailed comments on multiple recipes, I’m pretty convinced that your oven is baking at a lower temperature. A cake baked at too low of a temperature can leave the surface gummy/sticky. The cake blog does a great job of explaining it in this post. When testing my cornbread recipe, I baked it a three or four different temperatures during my testing and also had issues of stickiness when I went to too low of a temperature. You might try baking these at a higher temperature. You could try 25 degrees higher to start and I would skip the silicone. I hope these tips help you. I want them to be a success at your fundraiser!

      It sounds like you are a true chocolate lover. I can be very snobby about chocolate, but I like to offer my readers good value and I think the Trader Joe’s bars are a great value for the quality you get, and so I mention it often. I save more premium chocolates for eating straight, or as a splurge sometimes within a recipe. I think you’re going to love the cocoa when it arrives. I use it in a lot of recipes. Definitely try it in Black Cocoa Brownies.

      Good luck, Jake!

      • jake3_14 March 14, 2016 at 5:25 pm - Reply

        I tried to keep my judgment of the TJ chocolate qualified as personal, because I understand that personal taste is just that. Plus, my body, and therefore my sense of taste has changed as I’ve aged. I didn’t mean to demean your choice, and I apologize for coming across that way. I’ll be more aware of this issue in the future.

        Thanks for the feedback on my oven temp. I’ll increase it per your suggestion, and I’ll omit the cupcake liners. And thanks for your responses to my comments. It’s a thrill to chat with such an experienced and creative baker like you!

        • Ramona March 14, 2016 at 5:36 pm - Reply

          Jake, no worries about the chocolate comment. I just know that other readers will see it as well so I thought clarification would be of use. I think it’s helpful to give balance to all opinions. Thanks!

  8. Jake3_14 March 19, 2016 at 12:21 am - Reply

    Unknown to me, buzz had been building for a week about the mysterious, fabulous desert I was making for the fundraiser, so I was understandably nervous when people told me about the rumors.

    The desert delivered! I saw expressions of bliss, heard a few “Oh my God”s, and got one “best cupcake ever” comment (from the event organizer and main cook). It even got mentioned in two of the limericks that people created after dinner.

    This is a St. Patrick’s Day hall of fame recipe! Thanks for creating it and guiding me in making it.

    • Ramona March 19, 2016 at 8:52 am - Reply

      Sounds like it couldn’t have gone better! How fun that you exceeded expectations even after a week of built up rumors! Congrats on your success!

  9. jake3_14 March 27, 2017 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    For the second year in a row, I served these cupcakes at my church’s annual Irish fundraising dinner. Since they’re now a tradition, I honored your recipe with a placard that’s graces the backsplash in my kitchen:

    • Ramona March 27, 2017 at 6:55 pm - Reply

      I’m sure those that attend the annual dinner feel spoiled by your baking endeavors. Happy to hear the cupcakes have become a delicious tradition :) Love the placard!

  10. Nancy September 4, 2017 at 7:24 pm - Reply


    If I make this recipe into chocolate cake (2 layer), about how long does it need to bake? Maybe 25-30 minutes? Since it is a dense cake, I thought I had better ask just to get a general idea. My oven temp is right on, according to my oven thermometer.

    • Ramona September 4, 2017 at 8:51 pm - Reply

      Hi Nancy, I made the recipe as 2 8″ cake layers in this post, Whipped Chocolate Frosting. You’ll see my notes on the cake at the bottom of the recipe. Here’s what I wrote, but you can check the link if you want to see it. “I baked that recipe in 2 (8 inch) pans that were sprayed with cooking spray, bottoms lined with parchment, then I lightly sprayed the parchment. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and finish cooling on racks. If using 9″ pans, baking time will shorter.”

  11. Kaci September 21, 2017 at 10:44 am - Reply

    Can I use a spiced rum instead of a cream liqueur, and just reduce the amount?

    • Ramona September 21, 2017 at 1:43 pm - Reply

      Kaci, it shouldn’t be an issue. As you mentioned, you’ll probably need to reduce the amount. You just don’t want to end up with soupy filling and topping.

  12. Jennifer February 16, 2018 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    These taste amazing, as everyone’s stated….but mine stuck like crazy to the pan and are not firm enough to even attempt trying to fill or dip in ganache. Could it be from too much air being incorporated while mixing?

    • Ramona February 16, 2018 at 7:42 pm - Reply

      Jennifer, if you followed the mixing directions, you shouldn’t have over mixed. But I don’t think that would be the issue. First, check to make sure you used all of the ingredients, especially the butter and that you used the proper amount. Second, did you prepare your baking pan properly by greasing it? Third, did you bake the cupcakes for the proper amount of time? If your oven runs hot or cold, that could affect your baking time. If they are underbaked, then they would be too soft to remove easily. Fourth, did you allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes? They need time to set up a bit before you remove them but you still want them to be warm. If you try to remove them as soon as they come out of the oven, they will be too soft. If you wait until they are completely cool, they will be more difficult to remove. Those are the only things I can think of. These cupcakes are particularly sturdy, almost like a brownie cake, so you shouldn’t be having those issues. I hope this helps and you give it another shot.

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