I am not Irish. I do not like beer. But I am game to cash in on just about any holiday that retailers/society say I should, despite my heritage or past-times. I am especially eager to cash in if that holiday can involve baking some sort of festive/seasonal treat, even more so if it involves cute decorating/cupcake liners. So when I was thinking on what sweet to make my brother-in-law for the March edition of his monthly 30th birthday sweets, my mind fell on Stout cupcakes. I had seen recipes all over the blog world for Stout cakes/cupcakes, most notably this one for Chocolate Stout Cake from Smitten Kitchen. I remembered seeing a stout cupcake recipe in my beloved Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes and in my mind, I thought it was chocolate as well. Turns out it was not, but rather a gingerbread/spice-type cake. I considered going for the chocolate version, but since I wanted to use my Martha recipe, I decided to proceed with the ones for the book. And on further thought, I remembered Tim’s love for gingerbread/spice things.
While out and about in London, I found St. Patrick’s-themed cupcake liners and knew I had to get them (I may have a slight problem, when it comes to seasonal cupcake liners)…and then proceeded to the liquor store to get the booze. I had stealthily asked Tim earlier in the week if I could get a single bottle of Guinness at the LCBO because I wanted to try a baking recipe with it (little did he know he would be the recipient 🙂 ). He said yes, but it turns out he was wrong. I spent a good 10 minutes browsing the beer section and found no single Guinness bottles/cans. And given my intimidation in the alcohol department (I barely ever touch the stuff), I wasn’t inclined to ask for help. So I tried my darnedest to find an alternative stout beer, and finally located what you see in the photo – a bottle of double chocolate Stout from England. Okay, so, as far as being “Irish,” these cupcakes may not exactly be authentic…but what can you do? I had no idea what I would do with 3 extra cans of Guinness (well, I could have given them away, but I would then have been out more money than necessary).
Anyway….these cupcakes were a huge hit with Tim. He said he could just slightly taste the beer. I haven’t had one yet…but plan to tonight for dessert (it’s St. Paddy’s day after all). Martha’s recipe calls for a stout glaze, but I wasn’t feeling it (I wondered if it might be too strong), so I opted to create my own ganache. I wanted something a bit more complex/unusual than the typical ganache, so I created a butterscotch molasses ganache….I will try to list ingredients below…but really, I just made it up, so I don’t have exact quantities. For the green clovers on top, I just made a quick buttercream (butter, milk and icing sugar) and then put it in a ziploc bag and cut off the corner (much quicker and easier than a piping bag) and used the bottom of the cupcake liners as a guideline to pipe my shamrocks. I’m no Cake Boss, but I think they look pretty cute.
Stout Cupcakes – Makes 24 large cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil (I only used one cup)
1 1/4 cups unsulfured molasses
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
2 large whole eggs pus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (I had clementines, so used them instead, and I used less than in the recipe)
1 1/4 cups stout beer, like Guinness, poured and settled
Chocolate Butterscotch Ganache, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 muffin tins with liners.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinammon and nutmeg together.
In a stand mixer (or by hand with a whisk), beat the oil, molasses, brown sugar, whole eggs, yolk, zest, and stout until combined. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in batches, beating until just combined.
Pour batter into lined cups, filling each three-quarter full. Bake about 20 minutes, rotating tins halfway through. Let cool completely on wire racks. When cupcakes have cooled completely, dip into ganache. Let ganache set, and decorate with buttercream icing in shamrock designs, if desired.
Chocolate Butterscotch Ganache (measurements are approximate!)
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt together:
1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, 1/2 cup butterscotch chips, 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips and about 2 tbsp molasses. I microwaved on high for about a minute and a half, stirred, then popped it in for another 30 seconds. I stirred it all around, and gradually added 2 to 3 tbsp butter (add just enough until it is smooth and shiny. For ease of dipping, use a nice small but deep bowl. This will make it easier to coat the cupcakes in one fell swoop. Just do a nice dunk, swirl it to get off any excess chocolate, and then leave it to set.
On the side of the cupcakes, I also made a small batch of Bailey’s bites. To make these, I did basically the same process as the chocolate mint cookie balls, using some cookies/squares I had in the freezer, but instead of icing, I used Bailey’s mint Irish cream.
So happy St. Paddy’s day everyone…whether you’re Irish or just a pretender like me. 🙂 Do you celebrate St. Paddy’s day? Or could you care less?