Friday, August 12, 2011

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes and Irish Cream Frosting

If you have actually been reading all of my blog posts, chances are good that by now you are thinking to yourself that this blog may be misnamed.  Maybe you think that I have lead you astray.  Well fear not, I finally bring you a cupcake filled with booze!

Over the summer my law firm brings in summer associates to work for ten weeks, and at the end of ten weeks we decide whether we want to hire them to work here full time after they graduate from law school.  Because I am the newest associate at the firm (until Monday!) and because I tend to enjoy the social events throughout the summer (I really like places where there is free food and alcohol), I spent a lot of time with the summer associates this summer.  I also spent a lot of time with their significant others.  During one of the many social events, my cupcake baking came up and of the significant others said, "Oh, you must love Cupcake Wars."  I had no idea what she was talking about.  It turns out that there is a show on the food network that is all about baking cupcakes...who knew?! 

Personally, I prefer to watch crime dramas and the occasional reality TV show featuring trashy women (hello The Bachelor, I'm lookin' at you!).  But, I figured I should at least check out the Cupcake Wars website to see what it had to offer.  It was AWESOME and I immediately printed off three recipes that I knew I wanted to make.  I let Ian make the ultimate decision about which cupcake to try first, and he chose the Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting.

These cupcakes were a little more complicated to make.  For instance, you make the batter in a saucepan, which meant no using my/Ian's Kitchen Aid.  However, they were still rather simple if you follow the directions. 

I did make one modification to the recipe.  The recipe recommends that you use Guiness as your Irish stout.  However, you are using it to make chocolate cupcakes, and I KNOW there are more chocolaty Irish stouts available.  So, I went to my local liquor store and requested to be pointed in the direction of the stout with the best chocolaty flavor.  The very helpful gentleman told me that the best and most chocolaty stout that they carry is Rogue Chocolate Stout, which is what I used.  Now, the recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of Irish stout...but the Rogue Chocolate Stout comes in 16 ounce I had to drink the leftovers.  Personally, I am not a huge fan of stout on its own, but a good chocolate stout mixed with and equal amount of Lambic's (I prefer raspberry, but you could also use cherry, peach, or any of the other flavors) makes a delightful chocolaty/fruity drink!

Unfortunately, after the filled cupcake and the upside down cupcake, this cupcake had big shoes to fill, and it came up short.  Don't get me wrong, the cupcake itself tasted fine...but it was just fine.  It was a chocolate cupcake that took more effort to make than my other chocolate cupcakes but tasted just like a regular old chocolate cupcake. 

The frosting was the best part about this cupcake.  I always take all but two of my cupcakes to my office on the Monday morning after I bake because the people in my office will eat anything in about an hour at the most.  Sometimes after I leave the cupcakes in the cafeteria, I will stop by to see if anyone is actually eating them (they always are, but I have this illogical fear that no one is going to take them).  This time when I came back to check on the cupcake eating progress, I noticed that someone had taken the frosting off of one of the cupcakes, but left the cupcake in the container.  My guess is that they had already eaten one and just wanted more frosting...but I am really not sure what happened there!

In the end, these cupcakes were good, but the first two I made were better.  These ones were definitely better after I chilled them in the refrigerator overnight.

Oh, this was also the first time I ever attempted to decorate a cupcake with frosting out of a pastry bag.  I originally did this...

Ian promptly made fun of my inability to frost my cupcake and tried to teach me proper form...but all I ended up with was this:

Which I tend to think looks like a mound of dog poo.  So...obviously my frosting technique needs some work. 

Lesson learned about frosting made mostly from butter = it melts.  Especially if you frost your cupcakes, remove it from the cupcakes, frost them again, remove it again, etc.  Beware! 

The recipe is here,
but I will also write it below to make it easier! 

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups Irish stout (I recommend Rogue Chocolate Stout)
4 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 cups dark brown sugar
3/4 cups sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a cupcake pan with 24 regular-size cupcake liners.
  2. Place the stout and butter in a medium-size saucepan and whisk together on medium heat until the butter is melted.  Remove from the heat.
  3. Sift the cocoa powder into a medium-size bowl and add the sugar.  Slowly whisk into the stout mixture. 
  4. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla and lightly whisk until smooth.  Add this mixture to the saucepan and whisk thoroughly (it may appear lumpy). 
  5. Sift the flour and baking soda together in another small bowl and then add it to the saucepan, mixing a final time until the color is even.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full with the batter and bake until the cake spring back after touching, about 27 minutes.  Cool the cupcakes in their pan for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Irish Liquor Frosting
1 pound unsalted butter
4 tablespoons Irish cream liquor (Baileys)
4 cups confectioners' sugar (if you are like me and don't know...this is powdered sugar).
  1. Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer until pale.  Turn the mixer on low speed and add the Baileys in a steady stream.  Slowly add the confectioners' sugar and continue beating until a creamy consistency is achieved.
  2. Pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes using a large plain tip.  Dust with cocoa powder if preferred (I didn't do this).

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