It’s St. Patrick’s Day! ☘
Even though I only lived in Ireland for under 3 years, the people I met (who I call friends to this day) made me feel very much at home. Needless to say, I have fond memories of my time there and of course the celebrations and festivities on St Paddy’s Day!
So in honour of St Paddy’s Day and thanks to my friend Aislinn challenging me to a very random bake-off, I decided to make my chocolate cupcakes spiked with some Guinness and topped with Cream cheese frosting coloured in green and white. I really should include some orange there but hey no one is perfect.
While I do not drink Guinness (unless I am in Ireland as it tastes different and is actually yummy!) I love Guinness in baking and ice cream as it really brings out the chocolate flavours and adds a malty flavour to it. And as if this didn’t make it rich enough, this recipe also has sour cream – ensuring that it isn’t too sweet but very chocolatey and moist which I feel is really important cause the icing (especially if you opt for traditional buttercream instead) tends to always be rather sweet.
Ingredients – Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
350ml Guinness Stout
150gm flour (plain)
50gm cocoa powder (unsweetened)
200gm light brown sugar
150ml Sour Cream
75gm softened/melted unsalted butter
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius
2. Bring 350ml of Guinness to a simmer and let it reduce to 150ml. Set aside to cool.
3. Sift flour and cocoa powder into a bowl together with sugar and sodium bicarbonate and combine.
4. Add wet ingredients – eggs, sour cream, Guinness, vanilla essence and butter.
5. Stir ingredients till well combined and fill cupcake tray. Fill each cup to about 2/3.
6. Pop into the oven and bake at 180 degrees Celcius for 18 – 20 minutes.
Now, when it comes to icing/frosting (whatever you want to call it) I really am not a big fan in general. But it looks pretty which is why I make it and the easiest type of course is buttercream. I however am not a big fan of it taste-wise and also find it too sweet most of the time which is why I prefer Cream Cheese icing with whipped/double cream. However I have to prewarn you, this cream cheese icing is a lot more temperamental and can either become too runny and melts fairly easily – so the temperature is a problem!
I find it is genuinely quite difficult to get cream cheese blocks in the UK. They always come in tubs which tend to have a little puddle at the bottom and I believe that makes mine runny, so I pat it down a little to get rid of some of that moisture. I know some people suggest cheesecloths and wringing it but I have yet to try this, so drop me a line if you have. Even then I do not always succeed with my cream cheese icing. Also, I stick to gel food colouring and only ever use the full-fat version of the cheese and double cream/whipping cream. As for the ratio I generally go for a 1 : 1 ratio, of cream cheese to cheese and prefer icing sugar.
Cream Cheese Icing
180gm of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (Full Fat version)
180ml Double/Whipping Cream
75gm icing sugar (you can add more if you like)
A few drops of gel colouring – green
1. Use chilled ingredients and two bowls (if you can chill them – do it!)
2. Whip the whipping cream til you have soft peaks
3. Let the cream cheese soften then whip with icing sugar till it is smooth and thick – don’t overbeat it, you will end up with a runny mess!
4. Mix the whipped cream and cream cheese together. I add the food colouring in now and then give it one final whip.
5. Ice cooled cupcakes.
Also, if you want to get that two-toned coloured icing, I wrap my icing separately in cling film, wrapping that up again and tying the ends together at the bottom. Then snip before putting it into a secondary icing bag with a nozzle. Or you can be like me and make a make-shift icing bag out of whatever plastic freezer bag you have lying around – which I do not recommend!
– These cupcake can be made without the Guinness, just add another egg as it may not be wet enough.
To all my friends in Ireland – I hope you’re havin’ a bit of craic – despite the restrictions this Paddy’s day!