One whiff of these cupcakes and you’ll be in Heaven. If you love the smell of Irish cream. Which apparently most of my friends do. These boozed up cupcakes got quite a reaction and I thought I’d share the goodness.
I found the Guinness stout cupcake recipe from The Culinary Chronicles. It’s a wonderful recipe, even for a beginner, as it’s easy and can be mixed by hand with a few simple kitchen tools (no fancy mixer needed.) I’ve tried it a few times, once as a double batch, and it has always turned out nothing short of perfect.
The method is simple. Heat the stout and butter in a saucepan. Stir in the cocoa. (I prefer to add the stout mixture to the cocoa in thirds as I find it’s easier to prevent lumps.) In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and sour cream, pour in the slightly cooled stout mixture and then fold in the other dry ingredients. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
I baked them at 175°C for 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with a few crumbs on it. But it really depends on your own oven and how it behaves. No shortcuts here except to get used to your oven’s temperament.
Faux French Buttercream
Now, I’m normally Hopelessly Devoted to Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC). The recipe calls for 5 egg whites per batch and I’m always flummoxed what to do with the yolks (segue into a bit of irrelevant personal trivia – the smell of raw egg yolk makes me gag.) Now, there are only so many sugee cakes I can make, and so many jars of lemon curd I can use. So about 60 yolks were languishing in my freezer, frozen individually into little yellow stars (the shape of the only silicone ice cube mold I possess. Which I stole from my daughter.)
Then I chanced upon this recipe for Faux French Buttercream on one of my favourite blogs, Brave Tart, which uses up 15 egg yolks per batch of buttercream. Hallelujah! It uses almost the same method as for making SMBC but with egg yolks (defrosted until completely soft, please!) And you will definitely need either a hand mixer or stand mixer.
First, you heat the egg yolks and sugar over a bain-marie (water bath). Watch and stir constantly unless you want sugary scrambled eggs. Then whip it on high speed until it doubles in volume. When the bowl of the mixer is cool (very important!), start adding the softened butter. I suggest you read Brave Tart‘s original post, and watch her video, for the proper details. I added two extra steps. Before heating the egg yolks and sugar, I beat them quite vigorously with a balloon whisk to get rid of as many eggy lumps as possible, I also strained the mixture once after heating the yolks and sugar as I always find little bits of hard egg yolk in the mixture. Could be because I used frozen and defrosted egg yolks. I dunno.
For the Bailey’s buttercream, I added 60ml of Irish cream to half the FFB but you should do it to your taste and smell. When it gets heady and you feel like swooning, I’d say it’s about right 🙂
FFB vs SMBC
My hubby and BFF both prefer the FFB to the SMBC. And they both have excellent taste. I like both.
They can be flavoured with almost anything (fruit puree, jam, chocolate, cream cheese …), have a wonderful smooth texture and freeze well.
FFB is not as sweet as the SMBC. But FFB also takes more than twice the amount of butter (four 250g blocks!) and only makes about 3/4 of the final amount compared to the SMBC. So volume for volume, it is more artery-clogging than SMBC by my non-scientific estimate.
One last word on FFB and SMBC. FFB is really, really yellow on its own. I’ve only used it au naturel so I can’t comment on how well it takes food colouring. SMBC is much paler and can be coloured quite easily.
If you try these recipes, let me know how it goes on my Facebook page, A Bit of Better Butter. I’d really like to see what you come up with!