I still can’t quite get on board with the St Patrick’s day festivities that occur on this side of the pond (so much green!) I think that I may have been scarred by my experiences back home in Cheltenham where it usually coincides with the biggest racing meet of the year. This generally means that most Cheltonians become hermits for the week rather than battle with the crowds and traffic in the town.
I do however like to have the excuse to make cupcakes, so here is my offering this year.
Don’t be put off making these if you aren’t the worlds biggest stout fan, you can’t really taste it. What it does do is add a real richness and depth to the chocolate sponge. It also makes them incredibly light and fluffy. At least I assume that it’s the Guinness because these are far lighter than any other sponge that I’ve made before and in case you couldn’t guess I’ve baked a lot of cake in my time! The butter-cream frosting is pretty much what you’d expect it to be, sweet, creamy and just a tiny bit boozy. Nothing wrong with that.
makes 18 ish (enough for everyone!)
80g butter (soft)
200g dark brown sugar
80g white sugar
40g cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
Irish cream frosting
400g icing sugar
100ml Irish cream liqueur (there’s no point being stingy is there?)
Pre-heat your oven to 190°c and line a cupcake tin with liners.
Beat together the sugars and butter in a large mixing bowl before sifting in the dry ingredients. Beat this again to ensure that everything is well combined. It will look very dry and a bit like bread crumbs at this point, don’t worry, it’s meant to look like that!
Whisk together the stout, milk and eggs in a jug and then add about 1/4 of it to the dry mixture and beat it in. Repeat this until all of the liquid has been incorporated and you have a smooth, well mixed batter.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases and bake for around 18 minutes. The little cakes should have risen and feel springy once they are done. They should also be wonderfully light. If you have to bake them in a couple of batches then keep any remaining batter cool in the fridge.
Remove them from the tin and leave the little sponges to cool on a wire rack whilst you whip up the butter-cream frosting.
Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add in the icing sugar and the Irish cream. Stir a few times to prevent an icing sugar dust cloud forming and then beat with a hand-held electric mixture until light and fluffy. Pipe or spread this onto the cold cupcakes. Complete the cliché with green sprinkles if you like.