Bailey’s Chocolate Cupcakes

I hope everyone had a lovely Saint Patrick’s Day that didn’t involve too much unfortunately green beverages.

As it was a Sunday after a very full weekend, I didn’t do too much to celebrate. Friday night we brought out of town visitors to Crescent Moon (go there for decent, moderately priced Xinjiang food and excellent dark Xinjiang beer), then to KTV, and Saturday we went for the Yangtui experience. So much food. We initally ordered two roast lamb legs, a whole mess of chicken wing chuanr and side dishes and nan bread. Then the boys decided, before the second leg was nearly finished, that they had to order a third one. So much delicious meat consumed with toasted bread and lots of beer. And I brought cupcakes for dessert, of course.

Everyone should have tupperware full of these cupcakes in their purse

Everyone should have tupperware full of these cupcakes in their purse

To be specific, I brought four-way-Bailey’s Irish Cream-cupcakes. There was Bailey’s in the batter, Bailey’s in the chocolate ganache filling, Bailey’s in the buttercream frosting, and Bailey’s in the chocolate fudge syrup poured on top.

This made 12 small cupcakes. The cake batter was light and fluffy, and a bit difficult to cut neat divots out for the ganache filling. It’s not an intense chocolate cake, but it ends up being a good vehicle for the very rich flavors of the frosting and filling.

It took me about an hour and a half, including baking time and chilling time. 

Cupcake Base:
1/2 cup Bailey’s or other Irish Cream
1 egg, well beaten, on the smaller side
1/2 tsp of vanilla
1 cup  flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
A pinch of salt
6 Tbs butter, softened
1/4 cup coffee
 Preheat oven to 180C. Give silicon muffin liners a quick hit of non-stick spray.
Beat the Bailey’s, egg and vanilla together, then set aside
Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
Add butter and liquid mixture; beat with an electric mixer on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened (make sure you have a tall bowl and that the butter is adequately soft, or there will be flour everywhere).  Lastly, mix in the coffee.
I used an ice cream scoop to divide the batter into 12 cupcakes, and baked for about 25 minutes, then let cool completely (After 5 minutes on a rack, I popped them into the fridge.
Chocolate Ganache:
1/3 cup of cream
1 cup chocolate (I used a mix of dark 70% cocoa baking chocolate and a milk chocolate bar)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Bailey’s.
Mix the cream and chocolate in a small saucepan. Heat on low, stirring constantly. Once the chocolate begins to melt, I took it on and off the heat, stirring the whole time, to avoid overcooking and making it seize up. Add the butter in small bits and the Bailey’s. Stir it well, then chill the fridge for about 20 minutes–it should be cool and thick, but not hardened. I pulled it out of the fridge at that point.
Bailey’s Buttercream frosting
1/2 cup of butter, softened, 1 1/2 cups of powder sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and a generous splash of Bailey. Beat witha  hand mixer until fluffy. Scoop into a pastry bag.
Bailey’s Chocolate Syrup
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup dark chocolate
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup coffee
1/2 cup Bailey’s.
Combine everything in a saucepan, whisk over low heat until mixed together, bring it to a boil for a minute, then remove from heat.
Cut out a cone from the top of each cupcake with a sharp knife. I trimmed the points off the cones, filled the empty divot with the ganache, and then replaced the top of the cupcake. The cake is crumbly and delicate, so I placed them in paper cupcake liners to hold their shape better. Then I piped the frosting on top, and drizzled the syrup on top of the frosting. For a really fun presentation, you could pour the syrup into empty nips-bottles of Baileys, upend them and stick them into the cupcakes (the ganache will keep it from pouring out until you lift the bottle), but my cupcakes were too small to support such weight. You could also dust with a  little cocoa powder.
These are really pretty, and really not that difficult or time consuming to make for a small party (making more than dozen would take longer). And, after they disappeared, my friends decided that I should quit my job and open a bakery. I’ll take that compliment, even if I don’t quit quite yet!
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