Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In Celebration of St. Patty's Day - Guinness Cupcakes

What goes better with St. Patricks Day then Guinness! Did you know that over 13 million pints of Guiness are sold on this favored Irish Holiday? I admit, it's delicious stuff, but I have to be in the mood for it. One things I am always in the mood for however, is cupcakes!

I wanted to make these Guinness Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream last year, but never got around to it. The fancy struck me yesterday so I headed to the grocery store and picked up a 4-pack of Guinness Draught cans (really, if you can't have it on draft, these are the way to go) and a bottle of Irish cream.

When I got home I couldn't find the recipe from last year, but a simple google search turned up this one and I wasn't disappointed!


1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup Guinness Stout
2/3 cup dutch process cocoa (I just used Hershey Cocoa)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream


1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar
4 tbsp irish cream liquor


Preheat oven to 350

In a saucepan, melt butter with cocoa, brown sugar and stout whisking regularly. Allow to cool to room temp.

In your mixer bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and beat on medium for approx. 1 minute. Add eggs and sour cream (I beat the eggs into the sour cream first, but you can add them seperately). Beat just until all flour mixture is incorporated. Scrape the bottoms and sides with a spatula to get it all mixed in. It should be smooth. **I added about a cup of bittersweet chocolate chips here and folded it into the batter...yum!

Divide into cupcake liners (about 1/3 cup each makes 24 standard cupcakes). Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

For Frosting: Beat butter until fluffy then add the sugar. Add the Irish Cream in 1 tbsp at a time on low. Once the sugar is all "wet" I beat it on high for 1-2 minutes just to soften it up a bit.

Personal Thoughts:

I'm used to the creaming method, mixing the dry ingredients together, creaming the wet ingredients (ie. butter, sugar, eggs) and slowing adding the dry to it, but this method is different and still produced a deliciously moist cake!

I recommend letting the cupcakes set out over night. They are really moist and fell apart (though I do like to try them when they are warm!) This morning they were perfect!

It's too bad I can't try these with the frosting! You see, I'm doing Weight Watchers and these are 10 points! (I did the recipe builder to figure it out). I did share one without frosting with my husband last night and my kiddo this morning and the chocolate is so good! You can't really taste the stout but it definitely adds dimension to the chocolate flavor! I did take a couple licks of the frosting too and its delicious! Only tastes slightly alcoholic from the liquor, but very, very slightly! I bet they are amazing together!

Hopefully I'll find out because I'm dropping off a dozen for the restaurant crew to snack on this afternoon!

If you make a picture and share how they were!!

Happy St. Patty's to you all!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Its been a while

....since my last post. Not that I've stopped baking! The holidays are always crazy and then I've been working hard on my new diet and workout routine since the beginning of the year and have admittedly made less goodies than normal.

I've officially finished my 2nd Wilton Cake Decorating Course, which I thoroughly enjoyed! I'm so looking forward to the next one but it won't be starting till March because of my busy busy February...busy because in about 5 days, I'll be headed to ITALY! Can't wait!

So I'm not sure I'm in the mood to write alot now, but I figured I'd get on her and get the bug for blogging I'm going to post a bunch of photos that I've been meaning to share for a while....Hope you enjoy!

This is my first REAL fondant covered cake. I made it for my cousins little boys baby shower! It was fun to do, but man, a LOT of work!

yes, the baseball is a cake too...I used the Wilton Ball Pan, I was very happy with the results

showing off some of my royal icing flowers made in my cake decorating class

I tried out this great sugar cookie frosting was easy to use, but after a couple of days, the pink took on a brownish hue....I'm going to try poured fondant next time.

ooohhh, I LOVE these cupcakes! I used up some frozen mini one-bowl chocolate cupcakes and made the Salted Caramel Cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting. I was trying it out to make sure it was a delicious recipe from Martha Stewart before I made 100 to donate to a charity event this weekend!

they are all topped with royal icing hearts....I had to use up the royal icing from the flowers and though it was a cute idea on the cover of MS Living.

way back in december, I wanted to make a croqembouche for my holiday party...well I did, it was fun to do and I would definitely do it again...though I have work to do on the sugar part, it hardened up on me way tooo soon, but I LOVED the pastry cream filling and the puffs! It makes a LOT of puffs...

and I think I used them all for the tower...I didn't start it off very well to keep it nice and straight, but it tasted good none the less!

Well thats it for pictures today.... I'm going to be making some red velvet cupcakes for my little mans daycare (Valentines gifts) and then those Salted Chocolate Cupcakes again for this coming weekend...then I'll definitely be taking some time off as I will be far to busy eating fresh pasta and drinking delicious italian wines! Happy Valentines to everyone! Happy baking!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Cocktail Party Challenge!!

This Friday, we are having a little Cocktail Party to celebrate the season with friends. Normally, when I have a party...a few hundred dollars are spent on food, drinks, decorations....etc. Well this year, here's my challenge: I will spend no more than $125 for everything!!!

Of course, I don't have to purchase any decorations...we are taking this year off from buying anything...we have oodles already (could use more of course) but we don't need it. I do have a small advantage...I get to purchase my wine at cost (a benefit of being in the industry) but the food is always challenging to keep the cost down. Now, I'm not taking into consideration the food and ingredients that I already have in the house...only what I will spend in addition.

The menu isn't finalized yet...I'll update later once the menu is set...ONE THING I am attempting though is a Croqembouche...a beautiful french cake that is coincidentally shaped like a christmas tree....

Probably the most difficult thing to attempt considering I'm such a novice baker...but I can wait!

I will also be making some cupcakes (of course) and peppermint bark (super easy)

We are having a yankee swap as well, so for one of the gifts I was going to do a little gourmet hot chocolate set, with some butterscotch schnapps and homemade toasted caramel marshmallows courtesy of Miss Ina Garten

Wish me luck! I'll post the menu...and then the outcome with of course loads of pictures of my $125 party!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Girls Weekend - Lets celebrate with cake!

So this weekend is my family's girls shopping I made a cake to celebrate! I also had to use up all the frosting from my Wilton buttercream practice session this morning plus I've been dying to use the delicious Martha Stewart chocolate frosting that was waiting in the freezer. It freezes great by the way!

So I have pink and white buttercream and a dark chocolate frosting to use up...hmm, what kind of cake should I make! Well I tried Martha Stewart's One Bowl Chocolate recipe and it was a GREAT choice!!! The recipe was so easy, flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder & soda, eggs, vegetable oil, water and buttermilk, all in one bowl! And it is GOOD! Delicious and moist, thanks to the vegetable oil. I made a 6 inch round and a dozen cupcakes which I filled with the rich chocolate frosting and topped with the buttercream. Of course I would just stop there...I did fondant cutouts which I monogrammed with the soon to be recipients first initial....

I really tried hard to get the cake smooth but couldn't do I covered it! Its got two layers of the chocolate frosting, and I also applied the monogrammed fondant cutouts on the side.....I went just a bit too far on the top of the cake with the chocolate frosting...I was going to little chocolate dots, but they really looked like little poops all through out the pink (yes I just used the word poop on a food sue me) so I covered them up with the star flowers...but in my effort to try and use up as much frosting as possible...I ended up making my cake TOO busy...but it sure will taste good!

I got these great little cupcake boxes at Michaels yesterday....I also splurged and bought the professional decorating kit! Its huge and awesome! Maybe I'll turn this into a money making hobby!

First Class and Wilton's Buttercream Recipe

I haven't posted in a while and have A LOT to post about! Originally I was going to squeeze it all in to one very long post...but I figured I would break it here is the first of a few...

So this past Sunday I had my first Wilton Cake Decorating Class. This one was just informational, we talked about what we would be learning, the instructor made the "classic" Wilton Buttercream and discussed the recipe, how to use it etc. The recipe is super simple:

1 cup All Vegetable Shortening
2 Tbsp Water or Milk
1 tsp Flavoring (butter, vanilla or almond)
1 Lb Confectioners Sugar (approx 4 sifted cups)
1 Tbsp Meringue Powder

Now lets talk about this buttercream recipe. First off, how can it be called buttercream when there is no real butter in it! I understand that using crisco definitely stabilizes the frosting and giving it a longer shelf life, especially when you use water instead of milk, but I want butter! Oh but it is good! I remember the many wedding cakes I had before fondant and swiss meringue became popular...I always loved the frosting, its usually my favorite part. And THIS is the frosting. Its pure sugar and so tasty, I love it!

Now when you make it, I have one recommendation....use the beater paddle, NOT the whisk! I was practicing some of the borders, dots and flowers for course 1 this morning and so I made the buttercream, used the whisk attachment and noticed that my frosting wasn't super smooth, a little crackly....and looked like this...

So I made another batch....using the beater paddle, and it looked much better!

Now I did wonder if maybe the addition of color made a difference but I don't really think so. I do recommend the beater blade though I think it really does make a difference. The frosting crusts pretty quickly which is good for writing and decorating and with a nice thin consistency, it frosts nicely as well...though if you're like me and don't like to wait a couple hours for the cake to cool, it does pick up a lot of crumbs, so be very careful!

I'm looking forward to this weekends class..though I will be on my way home from my girls shopping weekend...I really hope I make it! I have to bring a cake or cupcake in and some frosting and we get to work on shells I think and dots and star flowers! I'm sure I'll have lots of pictures!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yellow Buttermilk with Dark Chocolate & Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

So here are some pics of the finished cupcakes...the ones that I couldn't even resist tasting! I did doubt Martha for a bit on the chocolate frosting, it has 2 bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips in it, melted of course making it very runny. The recipe said that it would pipe out beautifully and I really thought it would just run all over the place so I had to add some more confectioners to it to just assure myself that wouldn't happen, and it didn't and it looks beautiful!

I also LOVE my new tip from, it made that perfect gorgeous swirl on my cupcakes! I think I'll use it forever now!

The dark chocolate frosting (from Martha Stewart Cupcakes if I didn't mention it before) also spread and frosted the birthday cake wonderfully as only warning, chill it for a bit before traveling, because the layers did slide just a little on the trip into town...

And here is my new pride and joy...a cupcake carrier I found on Amazon and have been waiting over a month to receive because it was on backorder. All summer long, everytime I had to transport cupcakes, it was a game of trying to balance them on plates in my car without them sliding off the plate or into each other. Almost everytime, one or both happened, very frustrating. So, as someone who loves to bake but would rather give them to people than eat myself, a nice transportation vessel was definitely in order!

It has 3 stacking trays holding 12 cupcakes each, or in this case, I only needed one tray for cupcakes and it fit the cake very nicely as well! Very promising....and heres the link the the carrier... CLICK HERE!

So if you remember from yesterday, I still have some sugar cookies cutouts to make....but those may have to wait till later as I have some pressing homework to do...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Distractions.....and Yellow Buttermilk Cupcakes...and Sugar Cookies

I'm not sure what it it...I am starting to think I am NOT destined to be a wonderful baker. Either I never have the right ingredients but I only find out when I'm already half through mixing or I'm distracted by my kid's new found entertainment in writing on everything with any pen or marker he can find and I leave out the vanilla! Actually I blame that on Martha...I'm used to adding the vanilla into the sugar and egg mixture, not at the end..but in my want to follow the directions exactly..I forgot that final, crucial addition. I caught it just soon enough to put a little in the leftover batter and stir it into the cake pan but the cupcakes are doomed!

I also found a supposedly amazing sugar cookie recipe as I just purchased the box of 100 cookie cutters from wilton and am anxious to use some. I try to keep my baking supplies nice and organized in labeled tupperware containers...but alas I did not label the salt because I was pretty confident I could remember that the only NON-labeled was Salt and not Baking Soda or Baking Powder. Well my husband already made the mistake of thinking it was sugar for his coffee and I should have taken the notice then, instead I grab what I think is salt because I see no label (nor did I look for one) and of course, I found out well after the fact that it was Baking! Well the cookie batter I licked off my fingers tasted great, I guess we'll just see how they cook off.

I'll just have to try to be more patient I guess.....I'll update with pictures of the final products later!