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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Most Expensive Cupcake EVER!!

...but also the yummiest! After a really rough weekend and a bout of some really bad winter weather blues, I needed a pick-me up. I had seen this post about some St. Patrick's Day inspired goodness. It's been awhile since I've baked, which always makes me happy, but the kitchen where I'm living right now is less than motivating and I just haven't had the ambition to bake. I'm one of those obnoxious people who insists on baking entirely from scratch, so whipping up a batch of cupcakes isn't a quick little task.

At any rate, I thought this week would be perfect for trying to bake something egg-less (my first time) and bake something in honor of St. P's Day. As you can imagine, Sprinkle Bakes' Guinness Chocolate Pudding is certainly not something that would be easy to make egg-less, so I thought I'd aim a little lower. I knew Guiness Chocolate cupcakes exist because of a post I did over on The Bitter Blonde about them, so I was motivated to dig-up a recipe for something similar. After a quick Google search, I came across a recipe for Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Bailey's Frosting at the blog Chew On That. Yum! Apparently this recipe originated with the Smitten Kitten, which Chew On That so kindly provided a link to, which I so kindly checked out. Now, I'm a visual learner, so while I started with Chew On That, I ultimately chose to use the post at the Smitten Kitten. Alright, now that we have the proper references and citations taken care of, let's get on to the good stuff! Oh, whoops, I forgot one. Since I can't do eggs, I decided to be adventurous (one of my New Year's "Resolutions") and attempt to doctor the Guinness recipe and make it egg-less. I used this recipe as a reference.

First off, I need to note that these cupcakes took FOREVER to make (like 3-4 hours). Of course, this included cool time and busted pastry bag emergency repair time and so on and so on. Now, the reason I deemed this the most expensive cupcake EVER is because it cost me nearly $100 before I even started. Before you panic, let me note that I am working without any of my bake ware so I had to pick up some necessary items (like cupcake tins and decorator's tips and bags...). I also needed to purchase the necessary Jameson, Bailey's and Guinness for this recipe, since these aren't things I normally have on hand (You're surprised by this, aren't you? Yeah, me too.) Of course, I could have opted for cheaper brands, but when it comes to baking, I believe in quality ingredients and splurged for the brand name liquors. You may not be aware, but liquor stores carry smaller, cheaper bottles of liquor, but I'm a comparision shopper, and the bigger bottles turned out to be more bang for my buck. I'm sure nothing will be wasted.

In my typical How-To style, I'm providing you with a visual step-by-step of the process. You can look up the instructions on your own, right? I will, however, provide the ingredients list at the end since I altered it a bit from the original recipe.

(prepped and ready to start, apron and everything. My roommate told me that I looked like I knew what I was doing because I had an apron on. This apron was custom made for me by my sis. Maybe she'll make you one too. She doesn't offer them on her Etsy shop, but ask, you never know. Tell her I sent you. Did I mention it's reversible? No? It is. Oh! The earrings were made by her too.)

(I know I said I believe in quality ingredients, and I do, but I also believe in free ingredients, and some of these were already available in my pantry.)

 (my new love. This beauty belongs to my landlord. It's definitely going to be on my Christmas list this year! I love it in Green Apple, of course, this could just be the Irish overload talking.)

(butter, beer and cocoa powder! This is the most heavenly smell ever!)

 (You're probably shocked by the sparkling clean surface, right? One of the key habits of a successful baker is keeping a clean work space!)

(Check out this cute cupcake liners! Apparently, if you get on your hands and knees and look at the back of the bottom shelf in the baking section, you can find little treasures like these! On a personal note, I'm partial to the foil cups. They're sturdier and they tend to bake up better. Don't worry, you'll see what I mean later on. I mixed and matched my cups.)

 (In the oven! A gas oven, no less. I haven't used one of these babies since my Mom's house. Yes, I purchased disposable trays. I have learned in the past that good bake ware and cook ware doesn't mix well with multiple housemates.)

(See what I mean? The foil liners hold their shape so much better. In case you're wondering, I doubled the paper liners because I didn't want to lose the cool plaid design, which frequently happens with chocolate batters.)

(This just felt SO wrong to me when I was doing it. I mean, I was removing the BEST part of the cupcake! In case you're wondering, I didn't have a fancy tool to do this. I used a grapefruit knife and a teaspoon measuring spoon. Hey, it did the trick!)

(I know what you're thinking, Damn! That's a big knife! Yeah, well, with everything else in life, I believe bigger is better.)

(This was a new process for me, and I was surprised at how well it worked! A side-note, if you accidentally picked up unsweetened bakers chocolate like I did, you might need to add some confectioner's sugar at this point. If you add some sugar, that'll thicken your ganache, meaning you'll need to add some more liquid, i.e. Jameson! A win-win.)

(The picture quality sucks, but you get the idea. The ganache will set up, but you might need to smooth it out before it does.)

(Starting the frosting. This is the BEST frosting I've ever had! Of course, by this point, I had probably already consumed half a Guinness and a shot of Jameson, so...)

(The color of this frosting was beautiful. This pic sort of represents it, but not quite.)

(Alright, at this point, I was SUPER discouraged. My pastry bag kept busting and I had to repair it with masking tape. I was also highly disappointed to discover that the kit I bought didn't have the tip I wanted. Plus, I didn't have orange food coloring, so I had to make it, and I wasn't able to "paint" the color on the inside of the bag like I usually do because the interior of my decorator's bag was apparently coated with Teflon or something equally non-stick so my stripes, which are usually super cool, were pretty blah. Definitely not my best decorating job, but hey, it's not like your stomach cares what they look like, right?)

So, as promised, here's the ingredients for the recipe, as altered by me. Here's the original, just in case you forgot it was posted above.

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness
1 cup butter (the original calls for unsalted, but I used salted and omitted the salt step. While some people, for health reasons, like to omit the salt altogether, I have found that the addition of salt really makes a difference)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (the recipe recommends Dutch-process, but I couldn't find any)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup sour cream
4 teaspoons vinegar (in lieu of the eggs. I added it at the same point as the recipe calls for the mixing in of the eggs)

For the Jameson Ganache:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (my only options were unsweetened and sweetened, I used unsweetened, so if you use sweetened, you don't need to add the sugar)
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 to 3 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 shots Jameson

For the Bailey's Frosting:
3 to 4 cups confectioner's sugar (I used all 4 because I upped the amount of Bailey's)
1 stick butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 tablespoons butter

If you make these, let me know how they turn out! I happen to really enjoy them. I tried a "damaged" cupcake straight out of the oven and it tasted just like a brownie! Score! By the way, my Pandora radio station was set to The Kinks and I rocked out to some great British tunes during baking (probably not appropriate for an Irish baking session, but...). 


Laura said...

Wow april, those look awesome...the butter cream looks devilishly good! Cute Apron too. Love the pic

Shelley Weber said...

Awesome!! Send some my way!

Love the apron! You are right, I do not offer them on etsy, YET! I fine-tuned my pattern a bit, only slightly diff then the ones I made before (a little simpler, less time consuming... streamlined for production :) still reversible of course). I plan to put it up at some point, just haven't gotten there yet. Seems there are a million things going on right now. It will take a little time to get decent pictures and put up all the fabric choices. You will be able to pick what fabric you want for each side... out of my selection of course. I have some panels already made up, and ready to put together when someone chooses.

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