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Jeff Houck

The Tampa Tribune’s food writer since 2005, Jeff Houck covers the way people live through their food. He also hosts the Table Conversations food podcast and believes that everything crunchy is good.

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Celebrate An Irish Saint’s Holiday With Bomb-Themed Cupcakes [It’s Like A Pot O’ Gold In Your Mouth]

Posted Mar 17, 2012 by Jeff Houck

Updated Mar 17, 2012 at 03:10 PM

irish Car Bomb Cupcakes above

One of the benefits of working in a professional, climate-controlled, artificially illuminated environment is that occasionally your colleagues will bring in food to share.

Yesterday was just such a day.

Mary Beth Thompson, an avid cook who’s official title is Newsroom Human Tornado Of Efficiency, brought in a recipe she’s talked about for several weeks: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes.

Mary Beth found the recipe at Brown Eyed Baker and decided to bestow some baked goods on the office in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day.

If you know anything about America, you know that the Irish Car Bomb became a popular alcoholic adult beverage among college students 20 years ago.

As my very derrivative crowd-sourced friends at Wikipedia put it:

An Irish Car Bomb is a beer cocktail that is drunk as a bomb shot, similar to a boilermaker. It is made with Irish stout, Irish cream, and Irish whiskey.

The whiskey is floated on top of the Irish Cream in a shot glass, and the shot glass is then dropped into the stout. Once mixed, it must be drunk quickly because it will curdle. While Kahlúa was part of the original recipe, it is often excluded from the drink today. Some refer to that original recipe as a Belfast Car Bomb.

The “Irish” in the name refers to the drink’s Irish ingredients; typically Guiness [SIC] stout, Baileys Irish Cream, and Jameson Irish Whiskey. The “Car Bomb” refers to the fact that the drink is a “bomb shot” and also to the many car bombings that took place during the Troubles in Ireland. For this reason, the name is sometimes deemed offensive and some bartenders refuse to serve it. The drink is virtually unknown in Ireland and ordering it there is likely to cause confusion or offense.


And if there’s one thing you want to do, it’s anger an Irishman whose country has a history of automotive violence.

But, hey, we’re talking cupcakes. Cupcakes with beer. Cupcakes with beer and Irish cream. How offended could a person of Irishness (such as myself) possibly be?

Considering all that, here’s the recipe:

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes


Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 40 minutes | Bake Time: 17 minutes

For the Cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey

For the Baileys Frosting:
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

1. To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.

3. To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

4. To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or the bottom of a large decorating tip), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping back with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

5. To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.

6. Using your favorite decorating tip, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.

(Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

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