The A to Z of Baking: S is for St Patrick’s Day Cupcakes

IMG_0947Winter should technically be over in a week or so but this dreadful up and down weather shows no signs of letting up, plus virtually everyone I know has got either a bad cold, flu or a sickness bug and I’m feeling a little run down too. So all in all, things are feeling a little grey at the moment but baking these stout chocolate cupcakes in aid of St Patrick’s Day next week have cheered me up no end!

I adapted one of my favourite Hummingbird Bakery recipes and then added a little Irish twist with some green icing shamrocks. It’s definitely worth a go if you’re looking to mark March 17th with a sweet treat!

High points

These cakes are super delicious and the Guinness cake recipe never fails to impress people.

Low points

It’s not really a low point but I found this recipe made LOADS of cupcakes (20 to be precise), and I wasn’t really prepared for that so I had to get my cupcake maker out as it makes cupcakes super fast in about 12 minutes. It does tend to dry them out a little though which is why it’s not my fave appliance, but this mixture makes such a moist cake that it didn’t dry them out that much.

Ingredients

  • 250ml Guinness (although I used Murphy’s stout)
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 80g cocoa powder
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 140ml buttermilk
  • 280g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

For the frosting

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 125g full-fat cream cheese
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
  • Green ready to roll icing

Other things you will need

  • A shamrock shaped cutter

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 170C / 325F / Gas mark 3, then line the base of a 9in (23cm) cake tin with baking parchment.
  • Pour the stout into a saucepan, add the butter and gently heat until it has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the cocoa powder and sugar into the warm liquid. Mix together the eggs, vanilla essence and buttermilk by hand in a hug or bowl, and then add this to the mixture in the pan.
  • Sift together the remaining sponge ingredients into a large bowl and with an electric whisk, set on a low speed, pour in the contents of the pan. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into prepared muffin cases in a muffin tin – beware! I found this recipe made more than 12 cupcakes so I’d advise you have about 20 muffin cases at the ready – and bake for 45 minutes, until the cakes bounce back when pressed and a skewer comes out of the middle of them clean. Set aside to cool, and then remove the cupcakes from the tin on to a wire rack, making sure the cakes are cold to the touch before you frost them.
  • Using the electric whisk, mix the butter and icing sugar together until there are no large lumps of butter and it is fully combined with the sugar in a sandy mixture. Add the cream cheese and mix on a low speed, then increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  • Frost the cakes using a palette knife to create a swirled effect on top of each cupcake.
  • Dust each cupcake with a little cocoa powder.
  • Roll out a small amount of green ready to roll icing until the sheet of icing is around 1mm thick. Then, use your shamrock cutter to cut out the shapes. I used the blunt end of a wooden skewer to gently push the icing shape away from the cutter without damaging its shape.

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  • Place each shamrock on top of the cupcakes -et voila!

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