With St. Patrick’s Day on the horizon I thought these Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Irish Whiskey Frosting drizzled with a caramel made from Bailey’s Irish Cream would be the perfect sweet for a holiday get together. In my kitchen beer isn’t just for drinking; and Guinness adds a great touch to these baked goods!
I had wanted to make the Chocolate Stout Cake from Barrington Brewery in Barrington, MA for the longest time; since 2002 when I first saw the recipe in Bon Appetit magazine. How it constantly got away from me is a mystery but it did and yet I never forgot about it; especially since discovering, much to my own surprise, just how much I love Guinness Stout Beer.
I decided to finally use the recipe (which has been duplicated like a bazillion times on the web) for these cupcakes a few years ago but switched gears in several ways. How much did I switch gears? Well, this delicious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting magically turned into Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Irish Whiskey Frosting with a drizzle of Bailey’s Irish Cream Salted Caramel. Oh yes I did!
I decided this year it was time for that new photo for a great recipe and if I would have given up it could have been considered an epic fail. The cupcakes both flowed outside the liners and also sank in the middle making for a worse subject than in the photos I considered no longer acceptable. I did one tray at a time and after the first misstep I removed some of the batter from the liners and tried again. Nope, not gonna work; same thing happened but to a lesser degree.
SO many things that can wreck havoc on baking at a mile high. Was it the overcast day which might have lowered the air pressure just enough to make that difference in this already tricky environment? Was it too much leavening; not enough liquid? What the heck? I was thinking about Chef Gerhard mentioning that this change would be good for Denver and I had this funny, in the very back of my mind suspicion about altitude that took moments to discover.
Since moving to the city of Castle Rock, could that be the difference? A quick internet search and I find that, son of a gun, we’re 1,000 feet higher! I feel like an idiot for not knowing that for 4 years, but better late than never right? I’m going to have to do some testing to find my cupcake baking sweet spot but seems I’m going to have to get used to leavening changes again.
Rest assured; this won’t happen to you. I use tried and true recipes for everything I post; whether my own favorites or those from popular sources and while I make the necessary adjustments as I prepare the dish in my kitchen; those changes don’t get translated to the recipe shown since I want to share them with people in more than just a few states. I’ll just have to continue with my currents ways…have a problem? Fix it.
What did I do to rescue these cupcakes for today? Well if you look closely you can tell the cupcakes have been trimmed of their flying saucer edges and you can’t see the divot but who doesn’t love more frosting right? Yes, I’ll need to test some more for myself to get those High Altitude adjustments fixed, but I’ve also learned to flow with the mishaps, I will suffer through myriad cake and cupcake challenges and never ever consider leaving Colorado. I also didn’t remake these…and none of my friends noticed; they just loved the flavors!
Using Guinness doesn’t make them taste like beer although I can discern it’s presence but the chocolate and caramel notes of the beer does complement the chocolate of this batter. Which is what I always expect espresso to do so I threw a bit of it in there too! The frosting and drizzle together are pretty sweet but the cake is not; it’s closer to bittersweet so I thought they were perfect together. Another confession? I like to drizzle but I’m also taking photos and it adds a nice flourish to cupcakes. If you’re not a drizzler? No problem, these are delicious with or without.
These Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Irish Whiskey Frosting would be absolutely fantastic on any day but certainly the perfect dessert for a St. Patrick’s Day party. Sláinte!
Want more for St. Patrick’s Day?
- Reuben Sandwich with Home Cured Corn Beef
- ‘Irish Coffee’ Cake (with some additional great recipes from friends)
- Shepherd’s Pie paired with Guinness
- Baby Guinness Cocktail
Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Irish Whiskey Frosting
For the Cake:
- 1 cup Guinness beer
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder unsweetened
- 1 Tablespoon dry espresso powder (optional)
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 2 eggs large, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Bailey's Drizzle:
- 6 oz Bailey's Regular or Salted Caramel
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
For the Frosting:
- 2 sticks butter (1 cup or 16 oz)
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp milk or half and half
- 3 Tbsp Jameson Irish Whiskey (or bourbon)
To Make the Cake:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium saucepan on low heat, combine beer and butter and keep on low until butter dissolves.
- Once butter is melted, slowly whisk in sugar, cocoa and espresso until they have completely dissolved.
- Set mixture aside and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes (room temperature is fine but no hotter).
- In the meantime, sift together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl, then set aside.
- Mix together sour cream, vanilla, and eggs. Beat on low until combined then slowly blend the chocolate into the sour cream and eggs, keeping mixer speed on low.
- Add flour one cup at a time and mix on medium speed until well blended but do not overmix.
- Pour cupcake mixture into the prepared cupcake lines to about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick insert into the middle comes out clean.
- Cool cupcakes in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
To Make the Bailey's Drizzle:
- Combine the Bailey's and sugar in a saucepan and cook on medium until the mixture is reduced by half. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using.
To Make the Frosting:
- Cream the softened butter in the bowl of a mixer. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until well combined.
- Add the milk and mix thoroughly. Add the Irish Whiskey one tablespoon at a time and combine thoroughly. Add additional milk if necessary for the right consistency.
- Spread on cupcakes with a knife or offset spatula or pipe using a piping bag and tip. Let the frosting set for a few minutes before finishing with the Bailey's drizzle.