Monday, January 30, 2012

See You Later, Cupcake Eater

Well the day finally came where I had to say good-bye (see you later) to my best friend, my hubby Todd.  I haven't been the type of gal that likes to make a big deal out of good-byes so late Saturday night, we dropped Todd off on the curb as if he was going to school.  I didn't want to be a part of the teary, drawn out moment where you watch them get in the big white buses and drive away. 

Emma, my daughter, is lucky to be young enough to not realize all of what is going on and has no real concept of time.  I wish that was the case for me.  I have found myself caught up in tears many time, like when I came home and the bathroom still smelled like he had just gotten out of the shower, or the empty space next to me in bed, that I try to ignore by sleeping in the middle. 

Sure it has only been a couple days, and as people keep telling me, it will get better, it still sucks.  No better word than that to describe it.  My daughter has kept me strong for the most part and has made my heart melt when she caught me tearing up by saying "Mommy it's ok, wipe your tears" or "why are you crying mommy?".  I have gotten through this before, but for some reason, it seems tougher this time, like this is our first deployment together.

I have been planing my attack to keep busy ever since I found out he would be deploying and one major part of that is expanding my expertise on cupcake decorating and most importantly cupcake baking.  I have mostly used boxed mixes and doctored them up to taste better and that has been successful for me but something has been missing.  I wanted to take this time to perfect my baking technique so that my scratch cakes are just as good as my boxed cakes.

Last Thursday, we shared one more night with our awesome family and friends and there was no better time to try my first recipe that I found on Annie's Eats.  I found this Guinness and Bailey's Irish Cream Cupcake recipe after thinking of ideas for St. Patties Day cupcakes and thought it would be a good time to try it out.  If you are a fan of dark chocolate and Bailey's Irish Cream, this recipe is for you!  It was moist, tasty and probably the best cupcake I have made, and it was from SCRATCH!!!  It was a win for me and will definitely be added to my recipe book! 

I had a little disaster in my kitchen when I was pipping the Bailey's frosting onto my cupcakes and they didn't turn out looking exactly as I had planned, but being a good improviser, I made them turn out pretty cute and more importantly, they tasted even better than they looked.

I have included the recipe below and you can also click on "Annie's Eats" above to get it directly from her site.  A couple things I would suggest if making this recipe is: First, if you plan on pipping the frosting on, double the frosting recipe (the one below only makes enough if you want to spatula the frosting on), secondly, don't be afraid of the ganache, it really does make the cupcake, and lastly, you may want to add a bit more Bailey's to the frosting, 4 Tbsp. just wasn't enough for me ;)

Guinness and Bailey’s Irish Cream Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes

For the Guinness chocolate cupcakes:
1 cup stout (Guinness)
16 tbsp. unsalted butter
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the Bailey’s ganache filling:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. Bailey’s Irish cream

For the Bailey’s buttercream frosting:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4-8 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish cream


To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  Combine the stout and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and sour cream to blend.  Add the stout-butter mixture and beat just to combine.  Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 to ¾ full.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the ganache filling, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour it over the chocolate.  Let sit for one minute and then whisk until smooth.  If the chocolate is not completely melted, place the bowl over a double boiler or give it a very short burst in the microwave (15-20 seconds).  Add the butter and Bailey’s and stir until combined.

Set aside to let the ganache cool until it is thick enough to be piped.  (You can use the refrigerator to speed the cooling process, but be sure to stir every 10 minutes or so to ensure even cooling.)  Meanwhile, cut out a portion from the center of the cupcake using the cone method (a small paring knife works best for this).

 Once the ganache has reached the correct consistency, transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a wide tip and pipe it into the cupcakes.

To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated.  Mix in the Bailey’s until smooth.  Add more if necessary until the frosting has reached a good consistency for piping or spreading.  Frost the cupcakes as desired.

I would love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you happen to make it.  Next up, White Chocolate and Raspberry cupcakes (for Valentine's Day of course).

Until then,

Lacey Cakes