Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Guinness Chocolate Cupcake with Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Guinness Cupcake with Bailey's Frosting
Baking has become an important part of the post-exam de-stressing ritual. I’m so mentally exhausted after an exam that it's pretty much guaranteed I won't be productive for the rest of the day so I might as well do something I really enjoy. And nothing makes me happier than the smell and warmth of taking something freshly baked out of the oven. *sigh*

After my last exam, I went out specifically to get Guinness and Bailey’s because I had been thinking about making these cupcakes all week. The Guinness really enhances the chocolate and I bet the carbonation made the cake more airy. The Bailey's frosting just brought the whole thing together and was as good as it sounds. The frosting did pose a dilemma though - one batch of it wasn’t quite enough to frost all of the cupcakes, but doubling the recipe was too much but did allow for all the cupcakes to be generously frosted. After a brief inner debate, I would recommend doubling the recipe because it’s always better to have too much frosting than not enough. Skimping on frosting would make for very sad cupcakes ( :( mine could use some more frosting). This recipe will make around 24 cupcakes and I really recommend using 2 muffin tins and baking all of them at the same time. The baking soda and acidity of the sour cream will start to react right away and if you wait for the first batch to bake, my guess is that the second batch will be significantly denser.

This recipe would definitely make a great layer cake too. There is enough batter for 2 8 or 9 inch cake pans (adjust the baking time accordingly and always check the center of the cake with a toothpick).

Chocolate Guinness Cupcake with Bailey's Frosting

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting

2 C unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 C Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 C granulated sugar
1/2 C light or dark brown sugar
4 oz./1/2 C unsalted softened butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg
1/2 C sour cream
1 12 fl. oz. bottle/1 1/2 C Guinness or stout beer

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter or line with paper cups 2 12 count muffin tins.

In a large bowl briefly whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Add one egg and beat until evenly mixed and fluffy, make sure to scrape down the mixer bowl once in a while. Add the second egg and vanilla extract and beat again until light and fluffy.

Add the sour cream and beat in, then with the mixer running, slowly pour in the Guinness.

Sift the dry ingredients into the batter and slowly stir the batter until it is evenly mixed and there are no streaks of flour. Make sure to stop the mixer frequently to scrape down the sides and make sure to mix up any flour pockets hidden on the bottom of the bowl.

Divide 1/4 C of batter into each muffin cup, you’ll get about 20 – 24 cupcakes.

Bake at 350 degrees F on the middle rack for 20 – 25 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake in the middle of the pan should come out clean. Make sure to rotate the pans halfway through baking. Set on a rack to cool to room temperature before frosting.

For layer cakes: baking 25 – 30 minutes, rotate the pans around halfway, a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes should come out clean.

Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8oz. bar of cream cheese, softened
1 4oz. stick of unsalted butter, softened
2 C confectioner’s sugar
4 – 6 Tablespoons of Bailey’s Irish Cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, add the cream cheese, butter, and confectioner’s sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Slowly drizzle in the Bailey’s, more or less depending on how boozey you want the frosting, and beat until completely incorporated into the frosting.

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