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Chocolate Stout Cupcakes filled with Irish Cream

Servings 18 -24 cupcakes

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  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

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