Guinness cupcakes revisited — or, enjoying a rich and boozy cupcake

Guinness cupcakes


Remember these?

I sure do.

Boozy desserts are all the rage these days, and these may go down in history as one of my most popular baked goods ever. I actually couldn’t believe I first made these in 2012. It really feels like yesterday.

Though I’m really more of a Smithwick’s drinker than a Guinness girl, you can’t visit Dublin without trying the iconic beverage. My dad was the sturdy one in our group, ordering his drink on our first night there in 2011. I remember less of the drink and more of the meal, which was hearty and delicious and filling.


Guinness

Irish flags

Irish food


Burger and fries — Irish style. What I wouldn’t give to jump into that frame . . .

Ahem. Anyway. Though I do partake in the occasional beverage, I have to confess to enjoying booze more in desserts than glasses. If you like the rich taste of chocolate and the bold, unmistakable tang of Guinness, this is certainly a treat for you.

Just have some milk handy . . .

Or maybe an extra Guinness. Totally your call.


Cupcake trio


Dark Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
with Bailey’s buttercream

Recipe adapted from Global Table Adventure

Ingredients:
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup Guinness Extra Stout
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs

For the Bailey’s buttercream:
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2-4 tbsp Bailey’s, as needed


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. In a small saucepan, melt butter and whisk together with Guinness, vanilla extract and cocoa. Remove from heat.

While Guinness mixture is cooling, add cupcake liners to pan. Whisk together dry ingredients (sugar, flour, baking soda). Pour Guinness mixture onto the dry ingredients, then whisk in the 2 eggs. When the batter is shiny and smooth, pour evenly into cupcake liners.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

As cupcakes cool, make the buttercream by whipping together the softened butter and sugar, then adding in just enough Bailey’s to get it loose and fluffy. (About 3 tablespoons.)

When cupcakes are done, cool completely. Frost as desired. Yields approximately 18 cupcakes.


Lucky Link-up copy

Come back Monday to share your favorite Irish-themed posts in the Lucky link-up I’ll be hosting with the lovely Maureen of She Is Moments! Whether new or old, share posts that could highlight favorite Irish books or authors; recipes for favorite Irish dishes; travel posts from past Irish adventures . . . or something entirely new. The link-up will go live in the wee hours of St. Patrick’s Day here and at SIM. We hope you’ll join us!



Dark chocolate cupcakes for two

Dark chocolate cupcakes


My love of desserts? Well-documented. Before I started Weight Watchers, the idea of forgoing chocolate was so upsetting I couldn’t even consider it. I was laboring under the delusion that I’d have to “give up” all the things I loved, which . . . wasn’t true.

But this isn’t about my eating habits, friends. This is about cupcakes.

Having moist, delicious baked goods around is a blessing and curse. When I bake, I typically end up with the standard 24 cupcakes that beckon me from every corner of our apartment. After Spence and I have our treat for the day, we’re pretty disciplined about packaging up whatever remains to take to our respective workplaces.

We’re really popular around there.

But sometimes? Sometimes you want to bake — like yesterday, with a heavy snow falling and the roads destroyed — without the surplus goodies. You want your cake for an afternoon snack, but you absolutely can’t have 22 extras eyeballing you from the dining room.

When I stumbled across The Baker Chick’s recipe for fudgy dark chocolate cupcakes for two, I was eager to give them a whirl. While I’ll admit this recipe is a bit of work for two cakes, it solved my dilemma of wanting to bake without enough food to feed an army.

One for Spence, one for me.

These are moist, decadent, incredibly chocolatey and perfectly paired with milk. Though far from low-calorie, they were a great way for me to get that craving out of my system . . . and with nothing left to tempt me now, I feel better about having made (and enjoyed) that single dessert.

I’m pretty popular around our house now, too.


IMG_2697


Dark chocolate cupcakes for two

Recipe from The Baker Chick

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dark cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon chocolate chips (optional)

For frosting:
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, very soft
1 tablespoon of dark cocoa powder
4-5 tablespoons of powdered sugar


Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
2. Make a small well in the middle of the bowl and add the water, oil and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth.
3. Evenly distribute the batter between two liners and sprinkle with chocolate chips if using. Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

For the frosting:
In another small bowl, use a spatula to spread the butter around making sure it’s super soft and pliable. Add the cocoa powder and stir into the soft butter. Using the spatula or spoon, add the powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time until the frosting is creamy and thick. Frost cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired.


Two ingredients. One delicious (pumpkin) cupcake.

photo


So.

Sometimes I’m all about crazy ingredient combinations. I relish creating something delicious from scratch; I become utterly absorbed in the hours-long process of sifting, combining, stirring and frosting. I wait by the oven. I allow things to cool. I pace around, reading and watching the timer, peeking into illuminated ovens and waiting. Waiting.

And sometimes, I just want to eat a cupcake.

I found this recipe by accident on Monday (thanks, Pinterest!), and it turned out to be perfect timing. I’d just moved the day before, meaning most of what I owned was still in trash bags or boxes in the living room. I was tired, grumpy; I was still feeling all kinds of out of sorts. I wasn’t used to baking anywhere than in my parents’ kitchen, which is always well-stocked and overflowing.

And ours, well . . . we’re working on it.

But never fear! I only needed two ingredients — yes, seriously, two ingredients — for these chocolate pumpkin cupcakes.

You ready?

Okay.

A boxed chocolate cake mix. (I used devil’s food.)

And a can of pumpkin.

No oil. No eggs.

Just chocolate cake mix and a can of pumpkin.

Pre-heat oven to 350. Beat pumpkin and cake mix until very well combined; batter will be super-duper thick. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full (batter will rise significantly). Bake for 20-25 minutes (I only needed 20), until toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Allow to cool. Frost as desired (I used store-bought cream cheese frosting). Garnish with pumpkin spice or sprinkles or whatever your heart desires. Rake in the compliments, feel like a total rock star.


Cupcakes cooling


And if you want to get fancy, follow The Picky Palate’s additional recipe for pumpkin spice brown butter frosting, which sounds amazing.

Or don’t, because you’re busy frolicking in fall leaves and drinking apple cider and listening to praise for your chocolate pumpkin cupcakes — all without mentioning how insanely easy they are to make.

Totally your call.

Also, I wound up bringing these to a “work potluck” yesterday that actually turned out to be . . . a surprise bridal shower for yours truly! And I may or may not have received a KitchenAid stand mixer from my coworkers. Um. I’m still kind of in shock.

And they totally have ulterior motives with that present, as they pointed out themselves . . . like bringing in more cupcakes like these.

Done and done.


Cinnamon buns: now in convenient cupcake form

Cinnamon roll cupcakes


Have y’all missed my cupcake posts?

I’ve sure missed writing them.

Mostly because when I was writing them, I was baking them — and eating them.

And I really do miss eating them.

As I continue on my healthy-eating journey, sweets aren’t banned . . . but they’re certainly not encouraged. Like all things, I’ve learned that moderation is key — and I’m proud of the success I’ve already had by limiting my snacking, introducing more fruits in my diet and majorly monitoring my portion sizes. I’ve cut out most carbs and started eating a healthy breakfast every morning, and the results? Well, I fit in my favorite jeans again. And though it’s not about what I’m seeing on a scale, it feels good to just . . . feel better.

But sometimes a girl needs a cupcake.

I spotted this recipe on Cupcakes For Breakfast before Christmas, and guys? You can totally eat this cupcake for breakfast. Because it tastes exactly like a cinnamon bun, and everyone knows those are perfectly acceptable, sweet and amazingly delicious ways to start the day.

With a cream cheese topping, you’re going to fight friends and family off with a batter-covered stick. I made 24 of these on Tuesday night — and had six remaining by Wednesday evening. When word got around that I’d dragged myself into the office in the snow with dessert, my cupcake carrier was empty faster than I could shout, “Don’t count the calories!”

Don’t count them. This one is worth it.


Brown sugar and pecans

From above

Muffin cups


Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

From Cupcakes for Breakfast and Better Homes and Gardens

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk


Directions:

Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy (about two minutes), scraping down the sides occasionally. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in vanilla. Alternately add flour and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed just until combined.

Spoon about a tablespoon of the batter into each cup. Sprinkle the cinnamon mix on top of the batter, then spoon remaining batter on top until each cup is 3/4 full. Garnish tops with additional sugar mixture, if desired.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck inside. Cool cupcakes on a wire baking rack. Frost with cream cheese icing (recipe here), or eat and enjoy as-is!


They are risen

Cooling

Finished product


P.S. With the day o’ St. Patrick nearly upon us, don’t miss the dark chocolate Guinness cupcakes I whipped up last year. They’re delicious — and very seasonally appropriate! Plus, you can drink the leftover Guinness. So . . . you’re welcome.


Semi-homemade with … Meg: another pumpkin cupcake


Who knew there were so many pumpkin recipes?

Well, I guess I did — and it’s reaching a critical point over here. But since our photography club is having a picnic this Saturday, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try out another autumnal recipe before everyone (myself included) gets completely sick of all pumpkin-flavored foods. I realize I’m stretching the boundaries here at write meg!, what with punching you over the head with so many mentions of my favorite gourd, but humor me just once more.

I adapted this version from Betty Crocker, though I didn’t have pecans and was too tired and stressed to make frosting from scratch (don’t stone me!). Good thing Betty is around — her vanilla buttercream is quite tasty. So I nixed the pecans in the original recipe, though they sound delicious, and the end result? Darn good! Just enough pumpkin spice flavor to satisfy this fall-obsessed baker’s heart, and next time I might even top with candied pecans or walnuts.

And since you haven’t whipped these up yet, you can add candied pecans or walnuts. Go forth and prosper, friends.


Pumpkin spice cupcakes

Adapted from BettyCrocker.com

Ingredients:
1 box Betty Crocker yellow cake mix
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 container cream cheese or vanilla frosting (or make your own!)

Directions:
In large bowl, beat cake mix, pumpkin, water, oil, eggs and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about two-thirds full). Bake 19 to 24 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes, then frost and decorate as desired.



Pumpkin pie cupcakes: like the pie. But a cupcake.


Hi, I’m Megan. Have we met?

No?

Well, do you follow me on Twitter? I’m not self-promoting, friends; I’m asking out of real curiosity. Because if you do, you already know everything I’m about to tell you. In which case you’d probably prefer to skip down to the recipe or otherwise disembark from write meg! for the weekend. I’ll miss you, but I understand.

I have a thing about pumpkin. I love it, I want it, I need it. As soon as September arrives, I’m in line at Starbucks to buy a $5 drink neither my wallet or waistline need — and I don’t care. Repeat throughout the fall.

Lattes aren’t enough for me, though. I need to have pumpkin candles, pumpkin scones, pumpkin bread. I want pumpkins embroidered on tea towels in my bathroom and sitting in my boyfriend’s apartment window, where he will stare at them and scorn me for “girly-ing” his manly, masculine, rough-and-tumble bachelor pad.

If he thinks my minimalist fall decorations are bad? Oh, the fun he has in store. (Don’t tell him.)

In the pumpkin vein, I decided to do some baking last weekend — and I spotted this recipe on my fall-themed Pinterest board (yep, totally have one of those). It’s simple, delicious and — yes — tastes exactly like pumpkin pie. Just in convenient cupcake form.

It’s best consumed chilled and with a huge dollop of whipped cream. I sprinkled cinnamon on mine because, well . . . everything is better with cinnamon. Hope you agree.


Pumpkin pie cupcakes

Recipe adapted from Baking Bites

Ingredients:
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup half and half (or evaporated milk)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking tins with paper or silicone liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and half and half until well combined. Add in dry ingredients and whisk until no streaks of flour remain and batter is smooth.
4. Fill each muffin cup approximately 2/3 full.
5. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan. They will sink as they cool.
6. Chill cupcakes before serving. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon. Yield: 12-16 cupcakes.



For more fun cooking- and food-themed posts, don’t miss Beth Fish Reads’ Weekend Cooking!


Blue velvet cupcakes — a twist on a crowd-pleasing favorite

She’s having a boy!

When we learned my dear friend Erin was expecting (congrats, Erin and Matt!), I was happy to don my apron to create baby shower treats. A request came in for blue velvet cupcakes, a variety of that red-colored favorite, but I got a little nervous peering at the directions . . . mostly because the recipe calls for buttermilk, white vinegar and a variety of other things I’ve never baked with before.

My fears were unfounded, however; though a bit time-consuming, these weren’t tricky. And while I liked the cake and dug the dark-blue hue (a bottle of food coloring will do that), the highlight was the homemade cream cheese frosting. I’m typically the type to shuck the top of my cupcake off and pass the frosting to someone else . . . but none of that was going on last weekend. I wanted the cake and the frosting, and you’d have had to pry them out of my greedy little paws.

If you’re a fan of red velvet but want something a little different, allow me to recommend this fab recipe from genius baker Heather at Sprinkle Bakes. And with the Fourth of July just days away, you could give these a patriotic makeover with red and blue sprinkles.

My notes: Though I prepared these mostly as instructed, I made two separate batches to get the 36 I needed for the baby shower and found that the batter into which I’d spilled extra vanilla extract were tastier than the other set — so I upped the vanilla and cocoa powder (could have used a little extra varoom!) in the version below. Also, I lowered the recommended baking time; at the 25-minute mark, mine were very browned and, um, “well done.” Just keep an eye on ‘em.


Blue Velvet Cupcakes

Recipe adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

Ingredients for cake:
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 whole eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid blue food coloring
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 drop violet gel food coloring (optional)
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Ingredients for frosting:
1 pound (four 8 oz. packages) cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in pans.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and mix well after each addition.
3. Mix cocoa and food coloring together to form a paste, and then add to sugar mixture; mix well.
4. Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla.
5. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture.
6. Pour batter into cupcake papers. (Batter will be thick!) Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beating until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Frost cupcakes and embellish as desired.