Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Get comfortable guys, there are about a million and one ingredients in these cupcakes.  And I didn't take pictures of every step, because I was trying to get ready for my party at the same time.  But you're all smart and imaginative, I'm sure you can mentally fill in the blanks.  For those of you who haven't had the...pleasure? Irish Car Bomb is a drink; you take a half pint of Guinness, then drop in a shot of Jamison and a shot of Bailey's and chug it before the Bailey's curdles.  I personally find them disgusting (although the parts on their own are lovely), but in cupcake form it's definitely awesome. 

So these took....forever.  They are totally worth it, but it's three parts, the cake, the ganache, and the frosting.  As you'll see, I kind of dropped the ball with that "pictures of all the steps" thing somewhere at the beginning of the frosting.  None of the steps/things are particularly complicated, but you definitely need to do a bit of advance planning to make these.  Also, the frosting is a butter cream, and while I made it quasi successfully without one, the amount of egg whipping that needs to take place almost requires a stand mixer.  If you or someone you know would like to contribute to the "Cooking with Milton wants to make more frosting and therefore needs a stand mixer" fund, please contact the management. 

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

For the cake:
1 cup Guinness
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch (they are apparently the same thing)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup (8oz) sour cream

Pre-heat the oven to 350 and line 2 muffin tins with liners.  Melt the butter over medium heat.  Once melted, add the cocoa powder, chocolate squares, and beer.  Continue to heat until the chocolate has melted and it  has all combined.  Remove from heat and allow to sit while you work on the next step.

In a small bowl, combine your dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking soda, salt) and whisk until combined.  In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and the sour cream.  Whisk to combine.

Add the chocolate mixture to the wet ingredients and mix to combine.  Then add the dry ingredients.  I would recommend doing this a little at a time, it cuts down on the flour poofing...

Fill the prepared muffin tins to around 3/4 with the batter.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.  A few of mine were a touch overfilled, so it took more on the 20 minute side.

Before you start putting ganache or icing or really anything onto cake, it has to cool.  If you don't allow it to cool, the icing or whatever will melt off into a giant gooey mess.  Once these have cooled for a few hours, start on the ganache.

I know that ganache sounds fancy and complex, but it's really not.  French is just a fancy sounding language.

For the ganache:
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I just used chocolate chips because I already had those.  It turned out fine, but it would probably be better with one of those fancy chocolate bars)
1/2 Cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon butter at room temperature
3 Tablespoons Jamison Irish Whiskey (it's about one of those little nips)

In a saucepan (or the microwave), bring the cream to a boil.  Because it's a small amount, this took significantly less time than I had anticipated.  Just an FYI.  Pour the hot cream over the butter and chocolate and allow to sit for 2 minutes.

Stir until it is thick and glossy.  Add in the booze (wheeeeeeeee) and stir to incorporate.  Then, put it in the fridge for 5 minutes.  After the 5 minutes are up, take out and stir,  Repeat this process until the ganache is cool, but not solid. 

Put it on the cupcakes by dipping the cupcake into the ganache, then twisting it on the way up, so that the excess drips away.  I cannot stress enough that the cupcakes MUST be cool to do this, or else it melts away and is a waste of perfectly good chocolate.  If you're in a hurry, put the cakes into the fridge or the freezer.

Now, these would actually be really good just like this.  But I'm kind of an overachiever, and I hadn't used every dish in the house yet, so let's move onto the frosting.  This frosting is a butter cream with Bailey's added to it.  I'd never made butter cream before, and have heard that it's difficult and time consuming, which was pretty accurate.  It turned out quite tasty, but it never "set up" the way that it was supposed to.  I think that it was a combination of using pre-packaged egg whites instead of ones from an egg (I wasn't sure what I'd do with the yolks and I didn't want to throw them away, seemed wasteful) and not whipping them for long enough.  This is definitely a project for a stand mixer; it's just more powerful and consistent than using a hand mixer.  But it was tasty, so at the end of the day, who cares.

For the frosting:
4 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vanilla sugar (I couldn't find this at my local grocery store and didn't feel like trekking to a bunch of different places to track it down, so I just used 1 cup of sugar.  It was fine)
4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
100 ml Bailey's (I used 1 nip)

Put eggs into a metal bowl or the top part of a double boiler.  Add a pinch of salt and whisk to break apart.  Incorporate the sugar into the egg whites, then put the bowl or pot over a pot of simmering water.  Whisk until the sugar melts into the egg whites.  The FDA says that eggs should be cooked to 145-155 to be safe, and the melting point of sugar is 185, so don't worry about the raw eggs.  They aren't raw anymore.

Now, if using a stand mixer, transfer into the mixer bowl and whisk for 7-10 minutes, until the egg whites form stiff peaks, have tripled in volume, and looks like marshmallow fluff.  Mine never really got to that point, which is I think why the frosting was overall kind of runny.  If you're not using a stand mixer, turn on some music and get goin. 

Now comes the part where I run out of pictures.  After your eggs have reached their marshmallow fluffiness, begin adding in the butter.  I cut mine into cubes and added it in small batches.  Blend each batch until it is incorporated before adding more.  When you've added it all, keep mixing until it is completely incorporated.  Again, mine didn't really do this.  If you don't think it's sweet enough, add powdered sugar until it reaches your desired sweetness, but I didn't think it needed any. 

Add in the Bailey's, mix to incorporate, and plop on top of the cupcakes.  I mean, put it in a pastry bag and fancily swirl it on top.  Because my frosting was on the runny side, it didn't really "pipe out" well, so I ended up just putting a blob on top of the cakes, it was abstract and free form. 

(Photo credit - the ever wonderful and lovely Rachel.)

Obviously, these are not a quick thing to throw together at the last minute.  It's much more of a project; however, I like doing a big cooking project on occasion, just to show myself that I can.  And these sure are good!!  

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