Cream Liqueur Cupcakes

Cream Liqueur Cupcake
I used small souffle cups from GFS for these instead of traditional cupcake liners. If you do opt for the cups, be sure to cut a small slit in the upper lip so that it's easy to remove them from the cake! Also, I found these cupcakes to be a little dry, but everyone else seemed to disagree. I'm beginning to think I just don't care too much for intense chocolate flavors. Anyway - they are very crumbly, so they're a little messy to eat!

2 oz (57 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped finely
1/4 c (36 g) light brown sugar
4 Tbls cream liqueur (Like Bailey's)
1 c (125 g) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 c (59 g) butter, room temp
1/2 c (99 g) sugar
1 egg (I used extra large)
1/3 c (78 ml) milk, warmed in microwave for 15 seconds

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C) and line a cupcake tin.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Place the chocolate, brown sugar and cream liqueur in a small saucepan and melt over a low heat, whisking occasionally. Meanwhile, cream the butter and add the sugar, beating until lightened, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat until fully incorporated. Add half of the dry ingredients and beat briefly to combine. Add the milk, beat again, and then add the remaining dry ingredients. Before the last half of the flour is completely combined, add the chocolate mixture and beat just until incorporated. Spoon into liners and bake 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool in pan about 2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

Italian Meringue Buttercream For step-by-step directions for making Italian Meringue Buttercream, please click here!

1/4 c (63 ml) water
1 c (210 g) sugar
5 egg whites
1/4 c (53 g) sugar
1 c (237 g) butter, softened, cut into small pieces
1-2 Tbls cream liqueur

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer.

Heat the 2 c sugar and water on the stove to 245F stirring occasionally only after the sugar has been dissolved. When it is within the range of 230F to 235F (110C to 113C), begin whipping the egg whites. When they get to soft peaks, begin adding the sugar and continue whipping to medium peaks, being careful not to overbeat. When the syrup is the correct temperature, slowly pour it into the eggs with the mixer on high. After fully incorporated, beat the frosting 7-10 minutes until the outside of the bowl is room temp (I usually go a little longer than this; often times the bowl is not room temp when I begin adding butter. If the mix seems to soupy, put it in the fridge for a few moments or try briefly chilling some of the butter in the freezer before adding). Begin adding the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, beating until fully incorporated. The frosting will deflate a little, but it's ok. Keep whipping until the frosting comes together (you may not need to add all of the butter), add the cream liqueur and continue whipping until it's light and fluffy.
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