The name of this cake is problematic. I found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen's site (she made cupcakes instead of a cake) and she had originally named it Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes -- however she caught a LOT of grief from people for using that distasteful name. The problem is that the drink or the cake is actually pretty hard to describe, but if you just say Irish Car Bomb (most) people immediately have an idea of the flavor combinations and what they are getting into.
For those who don't know - -the drink is made by filling a shot glass half full of Irish Cream, then floating Irish Whiskey on top of that before dropping the shot glass into a half-full pint glass of Guinness and chugging it as quickly as possible so that it doesn't curdle in the glass. It is a variation of a boilermaker and for some reason whoever invented it thought it was a good idea to name it after a common form of Irish domestic terrorism of the time, which -- understandably -- pisses the Irish off to no end.
Therefore, I understand why some people, especially the Irish, hate the name of the drink and I understand why some people gave Deb from Smitten Kitchen so much grief for calling her cupcakes that. However, the simplest, and easiest way to describe the flavors of this cake is to call it an Irish Car Bomb. Besides, I figure I have only a few readers so maybe I won't catch all the hate thrown Deb's way.
Chocolate cake with guinness, filled with chocolate ganache with just a touch of Irish whiskey, and then topped with an uber rich Irish Cream butter cream frosting. The whole thing is incredibly rich and decadent. I made a layer cake -- the base cupcake mix poured into to 8 inch round cake pans, baked for 15 minutes at 350, then lowered to 300 for another 10 until done in the middle -- then doubled buttercream to ensure I had enough to go around. If you make cupcakes, go with Deb's proportions for sure. If you go the route I did and make a layer cake you could probably get away with not doubling frosting sinceit is incredibly rich, but you might have to really stretch a single batch of the frosting to get the cake covered.
Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes baked for 15 minutes OR
Two 8 inch round cakes baked at 350 for 15 minutes then lowered to 300 for another 10-15 minutes, or until done in the center
For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)
Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)
Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.
Make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.
Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.
Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.Do ahead: You can bake the cupcakes a week or two in advance and store them, well wrapped, in the freezer. You can also fill them before you freeze them. They also keep filled — or filled and frosted — in the fridge for a day. (Longer, they will start to get stale.)