Monday, September 14, 2009

Irish Carbomb Cupcakes

Today's baking adventure involves booze!  My first foray into the world of baking with alcohol, and I think it turned out quite nicely.  A classmate of mine requested I make 2 dozen "Irish Carbomb" inspired cupcakes for a friend's birthday (later this would change to 2 1/2 dozen).  I, having no idea what an Irish Carbomb was or how to interpret it into cake form, consulted the internet.

Turns out (for those of you out there who, like me, are not liquor-savvy), an Irish Carbomb is a drink made from three different kinds of Irish alochol:  Guinness Beer, Jameson Whiskey, and Baileys Irish Creme.  A half shot of Baileys is poured, topped off with Jameson, and dropped into a half-full pint of Guinness which the drinker must consume as quickly as possible, or else the Baileys will curdle when combined with the Guinness.

So, after my research I made trip out to my local liquor store to purchase the requisite booze:

As it also turns out, this is a relatively popular cupcake variation! During my research, I found at least three different recipes for the cupcake itself, with many more techniques for the frosting and additional flavor components.  Some recipes had a Jameson chocolate ganache filling, some had the Jameson and Baileys in the frosting, but in the end I went for a Guinness cupcake with Baileys Swiss Meringue Buttercream (an adaptation from a Mojito Swiss Meringue Buttercream I found), and took this blog's suggestion and brushed the tops of the cupcakes with the Jameson before frosting.

The recipe I followed for the cupcakes was a little bit confusing. While most of the recipes I saw called for boiling the butter and Guinness together, this on called for the butter to be melted and then mixed with the Guinness, which concerned me because apparently the two do not play well together-- No matter how much I mixed and mixed, the butter just kind of curdled and sat on top of the Guinness.  No emulsion could be obtained, no matter how hard I tried.

Thankfully, with the addition of the rest of the ingredients things seemed to work themselves out-- had I purchased enough Guinness to start over without another trip to the store, I probably would have, though.  It really did not look like that batter was going to come together.  They turned out looking like pretty normal cupcakes, I am happy to say:

So then to tackle the frosting!  I have decided I love Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  One of these days I will get up the guts to try the Italian version, but for now simplicity is key.  The light not-too-sweet flavor and delicate texture are just perfect!  That being said, I am hardly a pro and I have had bad luck in the past so I was concerned about how additional ingredients could throw things off.  
Apparently, adding ingredients to the stuff is pretty easy.  There are many variations with additional ingredients, so I built up my courage and added a few tablespoons of Baileys after the frosting had reached the beautiful fluffy stage I love so much.  It didn't seem to do any harm whatsoever, and the frosting is just as light and fluffy as I had hoped it would be.
For garnish, just a slight dusting of ground chocolate finishes them off. (If these were for St. Paddy's day I would have done some green sugar, perhaps, or some fondant shamrocks.) 
The final product:

I don't know much about liquor, but I do know a think or two about cupcakes, and I am quite pleased with how these turned out.

Soon Halloween cupcakes!  I have already found some great designs that I am really looking forward to try.  Keep you posted!

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