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Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Drink Your Dessert: Spiked Irish Cupcakes

If you went to college or lived near a campus bar, you're undoubtedly familiar with a drink called the Irish car bomb. It's similar to a sake bomb or cement mixer in that it requires choreography: one shot each of Baileys Irish cream liqueur and Irish whiskey are dropped into a pint glass of Guinness stout, and some poor soul downs the entire concoction before the drink can curdle, often while standing on top of the bar. Yowza.

Now, a coed liver might be able to handle that potent combo, but mine certainly cannot, and this weekend I fear being cornered by an overzealous St. Patrick's Day reveler. So when in peril, fight fire with cupcakes!

The brilliance of this recipe is that it both layers and melds the flavors of each liquor, just like the drink that it's based on. The whiskey in the ganache is sharp and bracing, the Baileys soothes as buttercream frosting, and the Guinness gives a moist, malty texture to the chocolate cake.

Of course, if you're not in a boozy mood (or if kids are present), you can leave out the whiskey and Baileys and just ensure that the alcohol cooks off sufficiently in the first step. But for a sweet drink substitute, these cupcakes sure are a shot of wonderful.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes With Whiskey Ganache and Irish Cream Frosting

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes With Whiskey Ganache and Irish Cream Frosting

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes With Whiskey Ganache and Irish Cream Frosting


  1. 1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
  2. 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  3. 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  4. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  5. 2 cups sugar
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  7. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  8. 2 large eggs
  9. 2/3 cup sour cream
  10. 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  11. 2/3 cup heavy cream
  12. 1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)
  13. 3 to 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  14. 3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)
  15. Green sprinkles, for garnish (optional)


  1. To make the stout cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup (2 sticks) butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.
  3. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.
  4. To make the whiskey ganache filling: 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 stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.)
  5. Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.
  6. Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out.
  7. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.
  8. To make the Baileys frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.
  9. To frost the cupcakes: Once cupcakes have cooled, spread or pipe Baileys frosting evenly across all 24 cupcakes. Garnish with green sprinkles, if desired.

Makes 24 filled and frosted cupcakes.

cupcakefanatic cupcakefanatic 5 years
wow...has no one been to a bar??? about 90% of drink names are offensive haha =) but we shouldn't focus on the negative things..these cupcakes are DELICIOUS!!!
le-bec-fin le-bec-fin 5 years
lighten up? as they say, EVERYTHING is in a name. An appropriate sense of compassion and maturity is what is needed here.Most  Americans have absolutely no sense of what it is like to live in a world of terror and violence where EVERYone you know has lost a loved one to a car bomb or a landmine or a sniper.  Just TRY being in one of their shoes and then tell me to lighten up.
Gerry2457078 Gerry2457078 5 years
Lighten up!!!  My granddaughter made these for our dinner party and they were absolutely delicious!!!  As they say.... "what's in a name?"  No matter what they were called someone would have a problem with it. Just eat them and enjoy!!!
Renees3 Renees3 5 years
It's the name of a drink, whether we agree with the name or not and this recipe is based on that drink, so I don't see the problem. These totally look delicious and I'll be making a variation of them tomorrow. I'm pregnant so won't be able to partake in much of the whiskey and baileys! :-)
Denise2447564 Denise2447564 5 years
Seriously people enough with the PC crap.  Just comment on the cupcakes.  Were they good?  Were they easy to make?  Who made it with the alcohol and who made it without?  Which did you prefer? PS- I'm Irish and I am not offended at all by the name.
Philip2444440 Philip2444440 5 years
I do look forward to the completely appropriate 9/11 custard pie on the eponymous date. 
Danielle2440042 Danielle2440042 5 years
The frosting part of the recipe isn't right (Only says to beat butter and add sugar).  But I added my own touches here and there and they came out great! 
feester feester 5 years
Please rename this...I'm not easily offended but this is awful!
Marie2438113 Marie2438113 5 years
Using "Irish Car Bomb" to celebrate an Irish holiday - literally, a holy day - is akin to creating a drink called the "falling twin towers" and promoting it on Sept 11.   Seriously, can we have a little more sensitivity? The Irish "Troubles" isn't a subject that should be made light of in such a way.
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