Guinness chocolate cupcakes with Bailey’s buttercream (Movember cupcakes)

We had another bake sale at work. Jen, Ian and I bake an absurd amount of things for these occasions.

Our contribution: six banana bread loaves, three dozen cookies, three dozen cinnamon buns, 16 moustached cupcakes

(Also, work and life have been super busy lately, hence my tendency to slack on blogging)

Unlike bake sales past that have lined up nicely with some festive celebration (Thanksgiving and whatnot), this mid-November bake sale could not be pegged to any calendar date. Or so I thought. That’s when I was inspired by facial hair – the fuzzy upper lips that are driving our society into a state of barbaric teenstachedom. Movember.

Other than lip fuzz, the other thing I think of when someone says “Movember” is Ottawa chocolatier Jen Winter with koko chocolates. Last November Jen came out with a brilliant quartet of chocolates in what she considered “manly” flavours: a double-smoked bacon with a hint of maple, a milk chocolate ganache infused with Glenmorangie scotch, espresso and “the koko” – a 75 per cent Venezuelan dark chocolate ganache. With part of the proceeds going to prostate cancer research, Jen’s chocolates were sweet for more than one reason. I saw Jen again earlier this month at Urban Craft in Ottawa, and was pleased to see she had continued her Movember line – adding these amazing seasonal ‘staches to the mix.

Inspired by Jen’s chocolates, I set out to create a chocolate dessert of my own. I knew I wanted to incorporate lots of alcohol into these cupcakes, so I adapted Smitten Kitchen’s Car Bomb Cupcakes (which look unbelievable) and used the Bailey’s buttercream icing recipe I first created for my green velvet cupcakes on St. Patrick’s Day last March. While much of the beer flavour baked off, it did leave the cake with a moist and even consistency. Absolutely delicious, though I regret eating my cupcake prior to icing and moustache-ing.

In an appropriate turn of events, all four people who bought these cupcakes were men, two of whom had decided to take part in this month’s furry fundraiser. I delivered the cupcakes and snapped their picture.

In other news, chocolate ganache remains the bane of my existence. The chocolate-whipped cream combination insists on seizing up as soon as I’m about to do anything with it. On the bright side, I think I would be positively masterful at making chocolate truffles. My first batch of ganache solidified in the piping bag, and, after shovelling fingerfuls of it into my mouth to soothe my sadness, I mixed it with a bit of boiled water and was on my way. The moustaches need a bit of grooming, but they’ll do.

Recipe: Chocolate Guinness cupcakes
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
– 1 cup Guinness stout
– 1 cup (2 sticks) 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 large eggs
– 2/3 cup plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring beer and 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.

Recipe: Bailey’s buttercream frosting
NOTE: This frosting recipe is an approximation of the ingredients you need. I normally make my icing pretty off-the-cuff, which is why I don’t have exact measurements. If the frosting is too thick, add a bit more Bailey’s – too liquidy, add more icing sugar. Taste test often.
– 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
– 5 cups icing sugar
– 5 tbsp Bailey’s Irish Cream (approximately)
– 1 tsp vanilla extra

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the icing sugar and Bailey’s, alternating between each. Add the vanilla extract.

Makes 20 cupcakes.

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