Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

In honour of my teeny bit of Irish heritage, i decided to celebrate St. Paddy’s with some Irish inspired cupcakes while wearing my shamrock apron from Ireland. I’ve seen this recipe on a few blogs, and it has also caused a bit of controversy because of it’s name, which is a bitttt on the risque side. See the original recipe here – but for the sake of being politically correct, I’ve renamed them IRISH CUPCAKES and have made a few modifications to amounts and timings.

These are the most complex cupcakes I’ve attend in awhile, with three components (a filling!) instead of the usual two (base and icing) but they were WELL worth it. After trying a chocolate Guinness cake, I don’t know how I ever survived without it!

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INGREDIENTS:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup Guinness stout
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate I used chips to remove the “chopping” mentioned later, found at Bulk Barn
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey

For the Baileys Frosting:

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

HOW TO:

1. To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large (not your largest!) bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined, in your largest bowl. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.

3. To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

4. To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or the bottom of a large decorating tip), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping back with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

5. To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.

6. Using your favorite decorating tip, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.

These really did make the most delicious cupcakes I’ve had in a long while, and my office agreed. It’s worth the extra step for the filling!

 

ENJOY – and don’t drink too much green beer!

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Peanut Butter Cookies

I recently went back to this recipe. I used to make this one all the time, and I don’t know why I ever stopped. This recipe is from The Joy of Cooking and it makes perfect kind of chewy kind of crumbly peanut butter cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

HOW TO:

  • Whisk together the first two ingredients, set aside
  • Beat together butter, sugar and brown sugar
  • Beat in egg, peanut butter and vanilla
  • Stir in the first mixture until well blended, shape into 1 inch balls about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet, and press flat with a fork
  • Bake, at 375 F, for 10-12 minutes

Peanut butter cookie dough can often be sticky when you’re first blending it. Don’t forget that you can always add a touch more flour if need be. Your dough should be a light beige (much lighter than peanut butter brown) before baking – if you’ve achieved this you know you have the right proportions!

I made these for Valentine’s Day – bought the tins at Dollarama. They made the perfect treat!

ENJOY.

Cupcake Cups: The Easiest Decor Tool!

 

When in doubt, the easiest way to get your theme or idea across in your baking are your cupcake cups!

There are so many places you can purchase cups, and they’re a cheap way to integrate your idea further. I always try to keep a variety around, especially white and silver, as they’re best when you’re trying to let your other decorations shine!

 

The above are just a sample of those I keep on hand. I’ve purchased these at Michaels, Walmart, Dollarama, and even the grocery store.

Coca Cola Floats

This recipe is from the Longo’s 2012 Recipe Calendar

Coca Cola Floats were an instant classic the first time I made that, and have been remade many times since. This recipe is so easy and the results are amazing. The cake itself comes from a box, while the icing is a little more challenging, but worth the effort. Two kinds of icing are used, a Coca Cola Buttercream as the base, and a little tuft of Vanilla Buttercream which acts as the “Whipped Cream” on the float. If you have trouble finding marachino cherries with the steams on, check out Metro, it’s the only Canadian grocery store I could find that carries them.

INGREDIENTS:

Cupcakes:

  • 1 box of vanilla cake mix
  • 1 can Coca Cola
  • Oil and Eggs per box instructions

Coca Cola Buttercream (You can use your favorite butter cream icing recipe, but add coke instead of vanilla for the base icing)

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 1/2 cups Icing Sugar
  • 1 TBSP Coca Cola
  • 1-2 TBSP Milk, if necessary

Vanilla Buttercream (I sometimes get lazy and buy a tub of vanilla buttercream for this part!)

  • 1/3 cup Butter
  • 3 1/2 cups Icing Sugar
  • 1 TSP Vanilla
  • 1-2 TBSP Milk, if necessary

Decor

  • Maraschino cherries, steams on
  • Straws, cut to cupcake size

HOW TO:

This recipe is really one of the easiest and most satisfying ones I know.

Basically, just follow what the box tells you. Bake it for the recommended amount of time and temperature for cupcakes, and you’re going to get great results. Fill the cupcakes only halfway full with batter, as you want a flat top for decorating your float.

You’ll end up with a golden / blonde cupcake, something like this:

While the cupcakes are in the oven, mix both kinds of icing (or just the Coke, if you’re being lazy too and purchase the vanilla). I find that sometimes this icing starts to separate a bit because of the carbonation in the Coke. The best thing I’ve used to stop this is Wilton’s Icing Whitener, which I purchased at the Bulk Barn.

When the cupcakes have cooled (30 minutes or so), you can spread the base icing onto each cupcake. Don’t worry about it being too pretty, because the white tuft and maraschino cherry will draw attention. Once the base has been spread, use a Wilton 1M tip to make a small tuft in the centre of the cupcake, and top it with your maraschino cherry.

The cherry’s juices will drip down through your icing tuft, so if you know you’ll have guests that don’t like maraschino cherries (cough me), then leave a few without aside for them.

The resulting cupcake will be a beautiful little 50s inspired Coca Cola float! I love to make these in red paper liners, or as you see above, rich colours. I’ve also made them in silver liners – really the choice is yours!

ENJOY.