Wednesday, March 20, 2013

chocolate stout cake with Irish cream frosting | recipe

Instead of dropping a shot of Jameson and Bailey's into a pint of Guinness, a chocolate stout cake is filled with a ganache spiked with whiskey and topped with an Irish cream frosting. The "car bomb" cupcake is way more tasty than the original beer cocktail.

I upgraded my original recipe by adding the Jameson whiskey infused ganache. I also included two frosting recipes, the original Bailey's cream cheese frosting and a Bailey's buttercream. After experimenting with both, I prefer the buttercream.

original cupcake from 2009
update June 2014
I swapped brown sugar for granulated, added some melted chocolate, added more butter, took out some sour cream and changed the incorporation of the liquid ingredients. Best version of this cake I have ever made. 

Guinness chocolate cake
1 12 fl. oz. bottle/1 1/2 cup Guinness or stout beer
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup or 1.5 ounces Dutch processed cocoa powder
8 tablespoons or 4 ounces of unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cup or 10.5 ounces brown sugar
2 egg
2 cups or 10 ounces unbleached all purpose flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream (do not substitute plain yogurt)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners or butter the cups.

In a small sauce pan, add the cocoa powder, chopped chocolate, and 1/2 cup of beer. Bring to a boil while whisk to melt the chocolate. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment add the butter and brown sugar and beat until combined. Add one egg and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 - 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl midway through. Add the second egg and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, again scrape down the bowl midway through.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

In the melted chocolate mixture, add the oil, sour cream, and vanilla until evenly mixed then whisk in the remaining bottle of beer.

Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on the slowest speed while slowly pouring in half of the chocolate mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Add the remaining flour and again mix on the slowest speed and pour in the remaining chocolate mixture. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides then fold the batter until no streaks of flour remain.

Use a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop and evenly portion the batter into the prepared muffin tin. The batter should yield 23 - 24 cupcakes, any extra batter can be divided evenly amongst the cupcakes.

Bake at 350 degrees F on the middle rack for 18 - 22 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake in the middle of the pan should come out clean. After 15 minutes, rotate the pans 180 degrees.

Set on a rack to cool to room temperature before frosting.

For layer cakes: baking 25 – 30 minutes, rotate the pans around halfway, a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes should come out clean.

Jameson whiskey ganache
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 fluid ounces/1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Jameson or other whiskey, preferably Irish

Chop the chocolate into small chunks.

Option 1: add the chocolate to the cream in a heatproof bowl and microwave on low power, stirring every 30 seconds until melted.

Option 2: heat cream gently in a small saucepan on the stovetop over low heat and add chocolate, stir constantly until melted.

Cool the chocolate ganache mixture until it is just warm (while waiting for it to cool, now is a good time to scoop out the center of the cakes) then stir in one tablespoon of Jameson.

Bailey’s cream cheese frosting
8 ounces/1 bar of cream cheese, softened
4 ounces/1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
2 cup powdered sugar
4 to 6 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, add the cream cheese and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add powdered sugar and mix until no lumps of sugar remain. Add butter and mix until fluffy. Slowly add Bailey's and beat until frosting is evenly mixed.

Bailey's buttercream frosting
8 ounces or 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces or 2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons Bailey's Irish cream

Add butter and powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Drizzle in Bailey's and continue to beat until fluffy.

Assembling the cupcake

Use a 1/2 teaspoon scoop and scoop out the center of each cupcake and set aside.

Fill the center of each cupcake with ganache. The ganache is easier to work with if it's still slightly melted. It will harden as it cools.

Frost the cupcakes when they have cooled completely to room temperature.

making a layer cake
Spread the ganache on the first layer of cake, add the second layer, then frost the outside with buttercream.


  1. Seems a wonderful recipe, is there an option for Bailey's Irish cream?

    1. Hi Anita, Bailey's is a mix of whiskey and cream and a mix of other unknown flavors. I suspect there is vanilla and coffee in the mix so I bet the frosting will taste good with a spoonful of espresso and vanilla extract.

  2. This is my "go-to" birthday cake recipe [minus the ganache]. I make my Bailey's frosting a wee bit differently ... but it started with this recipe. Thank you for sharing, this is my favourite cake recipe!

    1. I'm so happy to hear that! I'm going to experiment with the Bailey's frosting recipe some more this year. Maybe nix the cream cheese entirely.

  3. Your original recipe (with the regular Baileys buttercream) has been a St. Patrick's Day staple for me ever since I first found it 4 years ago. Can't wait to try thus new updated version. Thank you so much for sharing it! :-)

    1. *this*
      P.S.-forgot to mention that instead of Guinness, I always use Young's Double Chocolate Stout, just to "up" the chocolate factor.
      As for the frosting, what about subbing mascarpone? It doesn't have that distinctive cream cheese tang that tends to overshadow other flavors, so it wouldn't compete with the flavor of the Bailey's. I may have to try that myself when I make these next week for a beer party (ya can't have beer without cupcakes, right?) I think I might also try reducing a half cup of Bailey's down to about a quarter cup, just to see if it will intensify the flavor.

    2. Hi Karen,

      Your comment totally made my day! I'm so happy to hear this recipe has become a regular for you. As for your substitutions, they sound awesome! I've used different stout beers in the past and the chocolate one sounds perfect for this cake. I think using mascarpone is brilliant. If you like the tang you can do cream cheese + mascarpone. I bet you can even use mascarpone straight or do a combo of mascarpone and butter. I've never tried reducing the Bailey's, that's an interesting idea. Let me know how that turns out.

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  5. This used to be my go to recipe, but I just checked it to make it again but it looks completely different. I have never had to chop up semi-sweet chocolates before. Do you have a link to your older recipe because I really do love that and have directed several of my friends here to make them too. They are amazing cupcakes and I would like to keep the consistency

    1. Hi AnnMarie, thank you for your comment. I don't have a great sense of how many people use my recipes and I'm definitely guilty of tweaking recipes, even ones that are good! But is a good reminder of "if it aint broke, don't fix it!"

      You are absolutely correct the semisweet chocolate was not in the old recipe. That and the oil are new additions. I also decreased the sour cream and changed from granulated + brown sugar to just brown sugar alone. Sometimes I make changes for flavor (more chocolate), sometimes for texture (the oil), sometimes for just ease (just measuring one type of sugar).

      I completely sympathize with you wanting the original recipe which I will paste below. I haven't baked the old and new recipe side to side but would love to do a taste test one day. But I think you can safely make the brown sugar substitution without ill effects to the cupcake (for example if you run out of granulated sugar one day or are just lazy and want to measure only 1 sugar like me). I've also included the weights I follow since I weigh more of my ingredients as compared to 5 years ago.

      2 C (10 oz) unbleached all purpose flour
      1/2 C (1.5 oz) Dutch processed cocoa powder
      1/4 tsp salt
      1 1/2 tsp baking soda
      1 C granulated sugar
      1/2 C light or dark brown sugar
      4 oz./1/2 C unsalted softened butter
      2 tsp vanilla extract
      2 egg
      1/2 C sour cream
      1 12 fl. oz. bottle/1 1/2 C Guinness or stout beer

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