Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Oh my goodness. This cupcake is really the best cupcake I've ever made...and I've made a lot of cupcakes. It's so moist, in part due to the injection of whiskey-spiked ganache, and the Bailey's butter cream frosting is simply out of this world. Make these for Saint Patrick's Day--or for your birthday. Or both! The Guinness in the batter will bake off, but the alcohol is very much present in the other parts of the cupcake. If you are serving these to children you may want to omit the whiskey in the ganache and substitute regular cream for the Irish cream in the frosting. Or not.

Prep time: 1 hour
Total time: 2 hours
Yield: 2 dozen

Ingredients:

Cupcake:
1 cup butter
1 cup Guinness beer
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sour cream
2 extra large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Ganache:
2/3 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon Irish whiskey

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tins with paper liners. You will need 20-24.

2. Make the cupcakes. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. When butter is just melted, remove from heat and stir in the beer and cocoa powder.  Cool to room temperature. Whisk in the sour cream and eggs until smooth.

3. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the chocolate/beer mixture until smooth, taking care not to over-beat the batter.

4. Fill paper muffin cups 3/4 of the way full with batter. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.  Cool cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

5. Meanwhile make the ganache. Heat the cream to almost simmering a small pot. Place chocolate chips in a small bowl and pour the hot cream over them. Whisk until chips have melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the butter and whiskey. The ganache should be smooth and glossy. Carefully transfer the mixture to a piping bag, fitted with the long, narrow attachment.

6. Insert the piping tip into the center of each cupcake and fill slowly with ganache until you see the top of the cupcake begin to swell a bit.

7. Make the frosting.  Beat the butter until smooth.  Sift in 3 cups of the powdered sugar and add the Bailey's.  Beat until frosting is smooth and a spreadable consistency. If necessary, add up to 1 cup more of powdered sugar.

8. Frost each cupcake sparingly, using a piping bag (or otherwise just small plops of frosting will do). These cupcakes are best eaten the same day...but will last up to one day more. Store in the refrigerator.
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