Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St. Patrick's Day!

This past weekend we decked ourselves in green and celebrated St. Patrick's Day. Del's parents invited family and friends out for a feast, and we wanted to contribute. What better way than to add our own little family's "traditional" St. Patty's Day feast of corned beef, cabbage, red potatoes, and (what else) cupcakes?!

All of the food everyone made was so yummy! Now, if you know me, you know I L-O-V-E love to bake! And I love to experiment with my baking, so I was very excited for this holiday because I was finally able to try something new! Cupcakes! They are my weakness. I love to make them, I love to eat them. I've tried making cake from scratch before, and it turned out almost disastrously. Needless to say, I was worried this time. However, they turned out better than I expected! My mom loved them and wanted more so she could take them to work and share them with others. I guess everyone else has been enjoying them because she says people keep asking her for the recipe. So here it is:

*Side note: I found each part of this recipe from three different sites (Nook and Pantry, Serious Eats, and Confessions of a Tart).  However, they each seem to have gotten their recipes from one site, Smitten Kitchen. I took all of their recipes, and "modified" them a little to do more of what I was hoping to accomplish.  The recipe below is with measurements, I used a little more of a "to taste" method when making mine.*

1 cup Guinness Stout
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream


         Filling:                                                           Frosting:    
            8oz bar milk chocolate                                                            1, 8oz bar of cream cheese, softened                                
            1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder                                 1, 4oz stick of unsalted butter, softened
            1-2 tablespoons butter, room temp.                                        3 cups confectioner's sugar                                                      
            1-2 teaspoons Irish Whiskey                                                     4-6 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

For the cupcakes, of course you start out by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees.
Then the first step is to bring the stout and butter to a simmer over medium heat, then add the cocoa powder and whisk until it's smooth.  Once it's smooth, take it off the heat and let it sit.
While your chocolate stout mix is cooling, make the dry mix.  In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Whisk together and set aside.
Next, get out your electric mixer (or hand mixer) and beat together the egg and sour cream until blended.  Slowly add your chocolate stout mix and mix just until blended together.  Then begin adding your dry mix.  I added mine about one cup at a time, letting it mix in completely before adding more.
Once everything is put together, you can line your cupcake pan, and fill each hole!  I filled mine up about a quarter of an inch from the top of the liner.
The original recipe says to bake them for about 17 minutes, but mine took more like 25.  So I would suggest baking for about 17-20 minutes and then continuously checking on them until they are done (I use the toothpick trick to tell!).
Let them cool completely (I stick mine in the fridge for a few minutes) before doing ANY coring or frosting.

The filling, in my opinion, is super easy to make!  And especially tasty!
Start off by coarsely chopping up an 8oz chocolate bar.  I only had a 16oz chocolate bar, so I had to weigh mine out. Put the chocolate in a "heat safe" bowl.
Next, you bring the heavy cream to a simmer, add the cocoa powder and whisk until mixed together and smooth.  (The original recipe calls for bittersweet, but I didn't have any of that, and wanted to use up what I had left in my "stockpile" so I felt this made a good substitute.)
When heated, pour chocolate heavy cream over the chopped chocolate.  Let it sit for about a minute, then stir until it is smooth.
Add the butter, and stir until mixed together.
Add your Irish whiskey, and stir until mixed together.
Let it sit (I put it in the fridge for a while) until cooled and able to be piped (or just cooled enough to where it won't soak in with the cupcake!).

Fill the cupcakes:
First, make sure the filling is cooled (thick, but still soft enough to be piped, if that's the technique you want to use).
To fill the cupcakes, you can either pipe the ganache in, or just spoon it in.  I did it both ways for both batches.
I L-O-V-E my new cupcake corer!  It makes things soooo much easier!  So, once the cupcakes are cooled, you just set it on top, and twist and turn it down, then pull up, and that's that!  You have a cored cupcake!
When all of your cupcakes are cored, you can then fill (either pipe, or scoop) with the ganache.

I used a hand mixer for this, and afterwards felt like my wrist and hand were going to fall off!  So if you have a stand mixer, I highly suggest using that instead!
Begin by mixing together the cream cheese and butter.  Then start adding the confectioner's sugar, about a 1/2 cup at a time.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Then start adding the Bailey's, more or less depending on how much you want to actually taste it.  Mix until completely incorporated into the frosting.

{the final product}

And that's it!  They really aren't that hard to make, and are definitely fun!

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