Ever wanted to do a shot and a beer at work? (Like, maybe everyday?) Now you can do it with car bomb cupcakes! Rich chocolate Guinness cupcakes with decadent whiskey ganache and buttery Baileys frosting.
Brace yourselves, readers, this is the cupcake recipe you’ve been waiting for. Honestly. We use the cake part of this recipe as the base for pretty much any chocolate cupcake we make. It’s delicious, moist, and with a touch of Guinness, it’s just different enough to separate it from other chocolate cakes. Combined with a filling of rich Jameson chocolate ganache and a delicious Baileys buttercream frosting, this is the perfect St. Patrick’s day treat. Or any other time. We’ve definitely made this for no other reason than it’s just really, really good.
In case you don’t know, this cupcake is named after a drink known as an “Irish Car Bomb,” which consists of a shot glass filled half and half with Jameson and Baileys that is dropped into a glass of Guinness. The person ordering the drink then has to chug the whole thing as fast as possible as letting it linger will result in the shot curdling.
And through some bizarre alchemy, the end of the drink ends up tasting like chocolate milk. But since it is often “socially unacceptable” to be downing pints at work or in front of your kids, we’d recommend these cupcakes as a substitute.
I mean. Whiskey ganache. Baileys buttercream. Guinness chocolate cake. C’mon.
This recipe takes a little while to make, but there’s nothing too complicated about it. You’ll want to make the cupcakes a little ahead of time because you need to let them cool completely before cutting a cone out of the middle for the ganache. For that task, I’d recommend a short, sharp, non-serrated knife. It’ll probably take you a few attempts to find the proper depth and angle (watch those fingers!), but once you get dialed in, it goes quickly. You want to create a cavity that will accept a good dose of ganache without compromising the structural integrity of the cupcake. And be sure to save the cones for snacking.
The ganache is very simple: hot cream over chopped chocolate with some whiskey and butter. Spending a little more time chopping the chocolate into small, even pieces will help ensure you get a smooth, creamy ganache, as will using room temperature butter. As for the whiskey, I think a tablespoon gives enough flavor without being overpowering. I’m tempted to go more, but then I worry about the alcohol affecting the ganache’s consistency. And if you prefer, you can leave it out entirely. Once it cools slightly, it should be easy to apply to the cupcakes with a spoon and a small spatula.
When you start mixing the frosting, it may appear to be too dry. Just give it a little more time in the mixer, and if it’s still not coming together, add more Bailey’s. I find that a ½ cup powdered sugar to 1 tbls Baileys ratio works for me. Another note on frosting: if you do more than one batch of cupcakes a year, invest in a set of piping tips. For YEARS we held out, deluding ourselves into thinking it was a pointless extravagance. Don’t need ‘em. Got plenty of spatulas to do the job.
Piping is easier, faster, and prettier. Just buy the tips. And if you don’t wish to buy the piping bags, ziplock bags with a corner cut off work just fine.
Please don’t ask me why there’s a cupcake missing from our pictures. No seriously, I plead the fifth. (…of whiskey?)
While these are perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, we think that you will find they’re so darn good that they will become your go-to cupcake for all occasions. So whip up a batch, raise a Guinness, and impress your friends! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Adapted from Annie’s Eats.
- 1 cup 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
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp. Jameson whiskey (you could also substitute Baileys)
- 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3-4 cups confectioner’ sugar, sifted
- 4-8 tbsp. Baileys Irish cream
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 °F and line your cupcake pans.
- Cut the butter into roughly 1 tbl size pieces and dump into a medium saucepan. Add the Guinness and turn the heat on to medium. Stir occasionally until the butter is completely melted, then add the cocoa powder and whisk briskly until smooth. If the mixture separates a little, it’s ok. Turn off the heat and allow to cool while assembling the rest of the cake ingredients.
- Add all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Beat the eggs and sour cream with the paddle attachment (kinky!) of your stand mixer until blended. Whisk the beer/butter/cocoa mix one last time and add to the mixing bowl. Note: if you’ve been super quick with the previous steps and the liquid mixture is still steaming, allow it to cool off for another 5-10 minutes. You don’t want to end up with scrambled eggs in your cupcake batter. Once you’ve added the wet ingredients, turn the mixer on low, and add the dry ingredients in three installments, waiting for each dose to be almost fully incorporated before adding the next. Do not overmix.
- Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ to ¾ full and bake until a toothpick stabbed into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean, 15-17 minutes. Remove and let sit in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the ganache, finely chop the chocolate in a food processor or with some good ol’ fashioned knife work and deposit in a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan or (sacrilege!) the microwave until simmering. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 60 seconds. Use a spatula to whip smooth, making sure to clean the sides of the bowl. Add the whiskey and butter, and stir until uniformly smooth and delicious. Set aside to cool and thicken somewhat. You’re looking for a consistency that’s a little more liquid than peanut butter, but definitely not runny. Don’t let it cool too much or it will start to stiffen up.
- While the ganche cools, use a small knife to cut cones out of the cupcakes. Resist the urge to eat all of the little cones. Or don’t, I’m not your mother. Use a small spatula and/or spoon to fill the cones with the ganache.
- To make the frosting, beat the butter in your mixer using the paddle attachment until it is light and fluffy. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar (frosting will look very dry). Once all the sugar is incorporated, add the Baileys, and beat until smooth. You may have to add more Baileys or powdered sugar depending on your conditions, but you want something that will easily spread/pipe, but that can also stand up on its own.
- Load up your piping bag and frost the cupcakes. I’d recommend doing a single layer of frosting to start so you don’t end up with naked cupcakes at the end. If you have more frosting, go back for a second pass.
Adapted from Annie's Eats.