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Guiness & Bailey’s Chocolate-Caramel Cupcakes

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This seems to be happening to me more and more, the longer I blog: I either create a recipe out of my own head, or I see a blog with a recipe and I immediately think of a new direction I want to take it in.  I type out the recipe, including the measurements and steps.  Then, after I’ve made my new and improved recipe, I discover that someone else already did it.  Kinda takes the wind out of my sails!

This has happened twice just this week.  I typed up a recipe for banana bread (I always type up baking recipes before I actually go to town, since they require more precision than just throwing things in a pot and tasting as you go along) that I thought was pretty stinking original, but before I’d even made it, I found that same recipe, almost exactly with the same ingredients and measurements except for just a few things, on Steak & Potato Kinda Girl’s blog (it was a Joy the Baker recipe, though, from her new cookbook).  I kinda had a freak-out and changed my recipe just so I wouldn’t be a copycat, even if I did come up with it on my own.  (I really want the banana bread recipe I win with at the fair this year *knock on wood* to be my own creation.  I’m in the process of creating the BEST recipe (or discovering, if I must) so I can beat my baking nemesis–more about that here.)

Then I decided I was going to make some Guiness chocolate cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day and came up with my own decadent recipe, using this cake recipe, and using inspiration from this cake to add in some caramel to compliment the Guiness, chocolate, & Bailey’s Irish Cream flavors.  Then I happened to stumble upon Annie’s Eats, who has a spookily similar recipe.  She’s got the Guinness cupcake, the Bailey’s ganache filling (sans caramel), and Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting.

How is this even possible?  Is this some weird phenomenon among food bloggers that we’ve read so many of each others blogs that we start thinking the same?  Or am I just a freak of nature?  (Don’t answer that.)  Well, whatever it is, I’m considering myself flattered to have come up with similar recipes as the likes of Joy & Annie, who I respect greatly.  Who knows, maybe I’m becoming one of these “great minds” that “think alike.” :)

Well, despite these cupcakes having doppelgangers in who-knows-what corners of the blogosphere, I’m pretty proud of them because, besides the cake recipe, they are my own creation.  They are very decadent, as I intended, and are tremendously delicious.

Now, I need to tell you that I absolutely detest beer (except in beer bread, of course), and Guinness is at the top of my hate list *shudder*, but it somehow works in the chocolate cupcakes.  Although I would definitely prefer a Guiness-free cupcake, the stout flavor does add depth to the chocolate, making it deeper and more sultry, with a slightly bitter edge.  The rich caramel ganache is thick and sweet, and the frosting is like a fluffy silken dream-both elements a perfectly sweet compliment to the dark chocolate cake, and in my opinion, absolutely required to balance the cupcake.  You get quite a heady feeling when taking a bite of these–although low in alcohol*, they are very “boozy” tasting (at least to my virgin palate), but not in an offensive way.  Still, I wouldn’t recommend you try serving these to your toddler.

*A last note to those worried about the alcohol content.  It bakes off from the cupcakes, leaving only the flavor behind, and the amount in the filling and frosting is not much more than you’d get from using vanilla.  So never fear, you will not get intoxicated from eating one of these, though I still consider them to be an adult treat.  To nix the alcohol completely, I believe you could use Irish Cream coffee creamer in place of the real Irish Cream in this recipe.   I hope you enjoy!

Note: I didn’t edit my photos, but this one is pretty washed out so I did try to darken it, but just couldn’t capture the true color so I apologize it does not represent the cupcakes accurately. The cake is much darker than this.  The other photos are pretty spot-on, even without editing.

Guiness & Bailey’s Chocolate-Caramel Cupcakes

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Guiness Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (cold is fine)
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup Guinness Extra Stout (cold is fine)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Bailey’s Chocolate-Caramel Filling:
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup caramel sauce, plus more for garnish (I used homemade)
1 tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Cream
½ cup powdered sugar, as needed

Bailey’s Irish Buttercream:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. (4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two dozen cupcake tins with papers.

In a small saucepan, melt butter and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Stir in the Guinness and vanilla extract and remove from heat.

While the Guinness mixture is cooling, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. Pour the Guinness mixture onto the dry ingredients, then add the eggs and whisk until the batter is shiny and smooth, about a minute. Divide batter between cupcake tins, filling half full. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Remove from pans to cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine the chocolate and caramel sauce in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir until the mixture is smooth and glossy, then stir in the Bailey’s Irish Cream. Set aside to cool and thicken.

Lastly, make the buttercream. Beat the butter until creamy, then add the sugar and Bailey’s. Beat on low until mixed, then increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, light, and silky, about five minutes. Set aside.

Return to the filling, which should be room temperature by now. (If not, refrigerate for five minutes and stir, repeating until cooled completely.) Remove two tablespoons to a small bowl, then stir in powdered sugar ¼ cup at a time into the remaining filling, until the filling is your desired thickness.

Put the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip or a squeeze bottle with a nozzle. Insert the tip into the top of each cupcake and squeeze briefly to fill, stopping once the top starts to rise. Once all are filled, pipe or spread the buttercream on top. Drizzle with the reserved filling and caramel sauce. Serve at room temperature. If making more than two days in advance, you can keep the cupcakes in the refrigerator and remove them two hours prior to serving.

Recipe source: cake recipe from Global Table Adventure, cupcakes inspired by Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, filling & frosting recipes and method by Veronica Miller

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