Baking with Beer: Guinness ‘Gasm Cupcakes

Photo courtesy of Rochelle at CHOW

Do you like cupcakes? Do you like Guinness? Then dear lord, do I have the cupcake recipe for you. My little sister and I entered this recipe in SF Foodwars’ Mini Cupcake Clash and while we didn’t win any awards, we were assured that we were a crowd favorite. That may have been more because of our false mustaches and less about the cupcakes themselves, but I prefer to think it was a little of both.

Whether you’re seducing an Irish man or just really into cooking with beer, I encourage you to make these. Soon.

First, compile the following ingredients:

(For the cupcakes) Note: This amount of batter makes around 50 mini cupcakes.
1 cup Guinness
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

(For the filling)*
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons room-temperature, unsalted butter (I’m not micromanaging. This makes a difference.)
*Chances are, this will be more than you need. Please use this as an excuse to liberally taste-test, and/or overfill your cupcakes. Entirely your call.

(For the frosting)
3 to 4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup room-temperature, unsalted butter
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

Make the cupcakes.

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cut the butter into large chunks. Why? It will melt faster. Also: it’s fun. In a large-ish saucepan, over medium heat, bring the butter and Guinness to a simmer. Pause to reflect that you are melting butter and beer together, and just how awesome that is.

3. While the butter melts, in a larger-than-the-saucepan-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. The butter and Guinness should be simmering by now (make sure it really is simmering – if this mixture doesn’t get hot enough, the ingredients won’t blend properly and the butter and Guinness will keep separating when you attempt to mix in the cocoa); go back to the stove, remove the saucepan from the heat, add the cocoa and whisk everything together until smooth. Allow this mixture to cool for a few minutes.


4. While you wait for the butter-Guinness-chocolate-dearlorditsmellsamazing mixture to cool, mix the eggs and sour cream with an electric beater until smooth. No, really. Beat the snot out of those unfertilized chicken fetuses: this is the closest they’ll ever get to any real action. Now, pour in the butter-Guinness-chocolate mixture, and mix until just combined.

5. Next pour this thick, chocolaty goodness into the previously-whisked-and-mixed (flour, eggs, sour cream, etc) bowl. Stir until just combined. You’ll probably want to break out your spatula at this point. And/or your finger.

If your little sister said that she would come by to help you bake all these cupcakes, take a moment to reflect that she is not here yet and that you are doing the lion’s share of the work. Be sure to remind her of this when she arrives later.

6. Put paper liners in a mini cupcake tray. Trust me. You can oil/grease/spray all you want, but you will still leave chunks of cupcake behind when you attempt to remove them.

While this makes for some really excellent “taste-testing the leftovers” moments, it also means that the resulting cupcakes will look like they were clawed out of the pan by manbearpig. Fill the cups 3/4 full of batter and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pan half way through for even baking. And also if you’re a type-A perfectionist. I often skip this step.

7. After the cupcakes have cooled, poke a hole in the middle. I use my roommate’s chopsticks for this. Please don’t tell her. You could also use the handle of a wooden spoon or even your finger (but if you go with that approach, spray a little Pam on it beforehand. Also consider washing it). I wrap the chopstick in saran wrap and oil it. This keeps the cupcake in the cupcake, not stuck to the chopstick/spoonhandle/finger you’re using. Yes, right now you are lubing up the spoon handle for easier insertion. That’s why I love baking.

Now make the filling.

1. Put your bittersweet chocolate in a bowl. This step is easy when you use bittersweet chocolate chips. If you’re using a bar of chocolate, first chop it roughly. Or gently. Your call.

2. In a medium-sized (maybe even the same one that you used to melt the butter and Guinness previously, and are like me and do not have a dishwasher in your tiny Bay Area apartment) pan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer.

3. Pour the cream over the chocolate, add the butter and stir until smooth and combined. Refrigerate, stirring every 10 minutes, until it’s pourable but not too runny.

4. To fill the cupcakes, spoon the ganache into a frosting bag or (if you’re like me again) a plastic ziplock with one corner cut off. Gently squeeze the ganache into the holes in the cupcakes.

Now make the frosting.

1. Put your room temperature butter into a large-ish bowl. Give yourself room because it’s about to get messy; powdered sugar is not the most easily controlled substance. Plus, you’re going to whip the snot out of it.

2. With an electric beater, whip the butter until it’s light and fluffy.

3. Slowly add 3 cups of the powdered sugar, a little bit at a time. This keeps the frosting from getting grainy, and also allows you to spend more time playing with your electric mixer. Both are very important.

4. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the Baileys, depending on the level of flavor you want.

5. Add more powdered sugar if a) the Baileys has made it too runny or b) you just really like playing with your electric mixer. Like me.

6. Frost those babies.* Sprinkle some sea salt on top.

7. Eat one. FINALLY.


Congratulations. You’ve baked an Irish car bomb.

*If desired, cut small mustaches out of paper, glue them to toothpicks and stick them in the cupcakes before presenting them to your friends, but only if you can convince your little sister and her friend to sit on your living room floor for an hour and do it for you.

Baked with lots of inspiration from Smitten Kitchen. And previous Irish Car Bomb experiences.


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