Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

one can never really be completely sure about these things, but i am fairly certain i am 0% irish. however, i am lucky enough to be married to a man who is at least 1/4 irish (his mother's maiden name is mcsweeny for crying out loud). so even though i'm not irish i am 100% foodie and will use any excuse to cook. you also may have noticed i have been baking quite a bit too, so, i decided to bake an "irish" treat to celebrate st. partick's day.

when i can across the words "irish car bomb cupcakes" the other day, my jaw literally dropped open. not only do they sound amazing and would be perfect for st. patty's day, i have a bit of a history with irish car bombs. in fact, they are a bit of a tradition at E's company holiday party.

his old boss who is unfortunately no longer with the company (don't feel too badly for him though, he is living the life skiing day in and day out) started a car bomb tradition E's first year. after the official holiday party at a nice hotel in downtown baltimore, many of us were not ready to call it a night (keep in mind this was nearly seven (7!) years ago and we were just young things).

so, what should we do? we should go "around the corner" to the irish pub! yay! turns out "around the corner" is really several blocks which might not sound like a big deal unless it's below freezing, you don't have a proper coat, and are wearing cute but uncomfortable high heels. let's just say by the time we made it to the pub, my buzz was fading fast and my hunger was taking over. luckily, i was looking forward to a big bowl of hot chowder. no dice, the kitchen was closed and the bar was about to be.

it was probably well after midnight at this point and most likely closer to 2am. E's boss decides to remedy the situation and turn the crowd back to happy drunks rather than get further down the angry mob road and orders a round of irish car bombs. (it is entirely possible i was one of the few, or perhaps only person heading down the angry mob road but when i get hungry look out!) so 9 irish car bombs are ordered and arrive, 8 people dropped their shot into the guinness and drank them down. one, hungry, slightly grumpy, pretty lit girl, downed the shot of baileys and politely passed her guinness off to someone else.

looking back, the guinness may have actually filled my belly seeing as they are almost a meal unto themselves. however, in hindsight, it may have not been a pretty walk back to the hotel if i had indeed chugged the magic trinity of gunniess, irish whiskey, and baileys.

despite my lack of participation, the car bomb tradition continues to this day. in fact, this past holiday party, 23 car bombs were ordered (the team has grown quite a bit), the new boss paid, and the old boss called in and shared in the celebration remotely.

this st. patrick's day, i pay homage to both my husbands blood family and his work family (current and past) with a car bomb fit for a cupcake lover such as myself. the guinness is in the cake batter, the irish whiskey is in the ganache filling and the baileys is literally the icing on the cake. so to all the mcsweenys and booz allen readers, Sláinte! 

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes
makes 24
adapted from smitten kitchen

cupcake batter:
1 cup guinness
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup creme fraiche

ganache filling:
8 oz bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbs butter, room temperature
2 tsp irish whiskey, i use jameson

baileys icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tbs baileys irish cream

to make ganache filling, bring cream to a simmer over medium-low heat. once simmering, remove from heat and stir in chocolate and butter. whisk well to combine until chocolate is melted and smooth. stir in irish whiskey and set aside to cool.

to make batter, melt 2 sticks of butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. add guinness to butter and bring to a simmer. stir in cocoa powder and whisk well to dissolve cocoa powder. remove from heat and let cool slightly.

combine flours, sugar, soda, and salt in bowl. in bowl of electric mixer, mix together eggs and creme fraiche. slowly pour in slightly cooled guinness mixture while running on low speed. slowly add flour mixture and mix until just combined. divide batter among 24 lined cupcakes filling each 1/2 to 2/3 full. bake for 17 minutes, turning after 8 minutes. remove from oven and let cupcakes cool completely on wire racks.

when cupcakes are cooled and ganache is thick enough to pipe, cut the centers out of the cupcakes using small knife or apple corer (you want to go about 2/3 of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom). remove center and make sure it tastes good:) pipe ganache into hollowed out cupcakes filling centers to the top.

to make the icing, cream butter on medium-high speed for several minutes until light a fluffy. sift powdered sugar and slowly add to butter a few tablespoons at a time. (i have to say, this really is the key to thick, stiff icing. make sure the butter is really light a fluffy - i whipped it for 3 minutes - then add 1 heaping tablespoon of sifted sugar at a time. add more sugar when the last tbs has been incorporated. you may not need the whole 2 cups, check for stiffness). when frosting is a nice, thick, spreadable consistency, drizzle baileys in slowly. ice cupcakes and store in fridge up to a day.

* you can make the filled cupcakes and freeze them. store the icing in the fridge and simply defrost the cupcakes and ice them when ready to eat.


  1. I wish I read this before I started drinking actual car bombs today... I will save it for the weekend maybe!

  2. Fun fun - I miss the Booz team!

  3. We made some very close to this. Guinness cake, Bailey's whip cream filling and whiskey icing...yum, yum. A huge hit with the crowd.

  4. These were ridiculous! Too bad we didn't have these at the holiday party too.


  5. No report as of yet from the so called---unofficial taste tester?


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