Sunday, March 3, 2013

Parade Day - Carbomb Cupcakes!

We had a great Parade Day - filled with food, friends, and fun! Everyone was decked out in greenorange.  We kept the party going for nearly 12 hours, and there were hardly any leftovers. Thanks to all of our friends for making it a great Parade Day!

I discovered this recipe in 2009, and it's since become a mandatory dessert on both Parade Day and Christmas Eve.  These cupcakes pair perfectly with a glass of port, and that's just what we do on Christmas Eve.  For Parade Day, however, they're more often paired with mimosas or beer.  Not the most sophisticated pairing, but it'll do!

The ingredient list says the whiskey and Baileys are optional, but I'm just not sure the cupcakes would be the same without it.  If you'd like a non-alcoholic version, don't worry about the Guinness because it bakes out.  The whiskey can be omitted altogether, and the Baileys can be replaced with milk.

I do a lot of the Parade Day cupcake prep the night before.  Bake, cool, and core the cupcakes; store them in an air-tight container.  Store the ganache in a Ziploc bag, and the icing in a tupperware in the refrigerator overnight.  Microwave both in 15-second increments to warm them up, but make sure the ganache is still relatively thick so filling the cupcakes is easy.

Carbomb Cupcakes
Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes
Adapted from Smitten Kitten
Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes
Time: 1 1/2 hours

Cupcake Ingredients
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling Ingredients
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon Irish whiskey (optional)

Baileys Frosting Ingredients
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)

Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)

Make the cupcakes
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners.

2. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend.

4. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine.

5. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way.

6. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, 15-18  minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Make the filling
1. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate.

2. Put chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; pour simmering heavy cream over chocolate and let it sit for one minute.  Stir until smooth. If the chocolate isn't melted all the way, put the bowl in the microwave for 20 seconds.  Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

Make the frosting
1. Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

2. When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, add the Baileys or milk, and whip to combine.

Fill & frost the cupcakes:
1. Make sure the cooled ganache is thick but still soft enough to be piped.

2. Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. Core  most of the way down to the bottom of the cupcake but do not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way.  A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out.

3. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the topIce and decorate the cupcakes!

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