Friday, November 30, 2012

Irish Cupcakes

Hold on, let me get out my swiffer.... I need to do a little bit of dusting since it's been so long since I've updated my blog!

While I'd like to say I have a good excuse, I really think I have a couple.   First and foremost, I'm planning a wedding.   I didn't realize that wedding planning not only occupies your time, but it also occupies your brain.  There are times where I'm not sure if it's physically possible for me to think about anything else besides wedding planning!  Second, I'm facing my toughest year teaching this year as not only am I teaching three different classes, but I'm teaching AP Biology for the first time.  I've definitely been spending more time on school outside of work and cupcakes have taken a back seat.

Finally, the major reason for a long absence was the fact I was burnt out.  Baking takes a definitely physical and financial toll on your life.   I honestly got tired of cleaning up cupcake messes.   I got tired of feeling obligated to make cupcakes.    I just was tired of cupcakes.     So I took a break and it was fantastic.   Because what it made me realize was how much I missed baking cupcakes.     

Of course there are healthier ways to get rid of stress and sometimes baking can be stressful.  But for me, there is something cathartic about baking cupcakes.   It makes me feel creative and accomplished.    And I LOVE that I was able to recapture that feeling with one simple batch of birthday cupcakes!     

But I will admit I was completely out of practice.    My decorating was sub par and I found myself making rookie mistakes (like over cooking the butter). Also I almost forgot to take pictures!   Oh and failing to realize that Irish Cream liquor had zero coffee flavor in it.  But I'll get there. 

Anyway, I made these cupcakes for my cousin Kerry's birthday.   Kerry is a huge fan of my alcohol cupcakes so I was trying to find a new one to make!  I dusted off my Pinterest Cupcake board to find an idea for Irish Coffee Cupcakes.  They seemed simple enough but involved making espresso buttercream.   I decided that was not enough alcohol so instead would use Irish Cream since it tastes like coffee.   See my mistake?  I confused Kahlua and Irish Cream.  Rookie mistake.

Despite the fact that it had no coffee in them. The cupcakes were still delicious!    Another mistake I made was that I used dark chocolate cocoa powder.  Well I think that was a change for the better cause they were DELICIOUS! I may permanently make that change in my devil's food cupcakes.  I also added some powdered sugar to the whiskey ganache since the consistency was a little "wet" and I didn't want to make too big of a mess. 

Overall I was really pleased with the taste of the cupcakes.    The frosting was amazing and the cupcakes were super moist.  So what type of cupcakes are they?   They are the Irish Car Bomb without the beer or Irish Coffee without the coffee.   So we will call them Irish :)

But the best part of these cupcakes was the reminder that I love baking cupcakes.  Yes, life is crazy right now and wedding planning takes over a lot of my brain.   So maybe I wont make cupcakes every week.   But I do love baking cupcakes so it's important that I remember this and continue to do things that make me happy no matter how stressed I get.

Irish Cupcakes
Makes 24

For the cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (dark chocolate works awesome)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  •  2/3 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1  teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1  cups (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon  pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. 
  3. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. 
  4. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. 
  6. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated
  8. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. 
  9. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.
  10. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. 
  11. Bake until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
  12. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes
For the Ganche
  •  16 ounces good quality dark chocolate 65-72 %, chopped into small pieces 1/4 inch or less.
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup Jack Daniels Whiskey
  1. place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set aside.
  2. heat heavy cream until just boiling.  Make sure it does not boil over or you will lose liquid.  Pour over chocolate.
  3. Cover chocolate and cream for 2 minutes to allow chocolate to soften.  Uncover and stir with whisk until smooth and silky.
  4. Stir in butter a tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated.
  5. Stir in whiskey until fully incorporated, cool completely.
  6. Spread on top of the cooled cupcakes 
 For the Frosting

  • 2-1/2 sticks of butter
  • 6 Tbsp shortening
  • 8 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (or more!) Bailey's Irish Cream
(If you're making these for kids, substitute 2 Tbsp Vanilla and 1/3cup milk for the alchol) 
  1. Beat butter and shortening in an electric mixer until smooth
  2. Add in powdered sugar one cup at a a time, making sure its fully incorporated after each addition.
  3. Add in Irish cream slowly and mix until smooth.   You may need to add more Irish Cream for consistency (or taste!)
  4. Frost cupcakes as desired. 
Cupcakes inspired by Half Baked

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