February 18, 2012

5280 Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes.....

.....with Baileys Irish cream frosting. Yum.

Why 5280? We're at 5,280 feet above sea level and this was my first real altitude baking challenge. Okay, where we live which is outside of Denver it's more like 5,471 feet above sea level, but since 5280 is so well known here in Colorado.....I'm going with it.

Ingredients (makes 24 cupcakes):
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup Guinness Extra Stout
1/2 cup (4 ounces) semi-sweet baking chocolate
2 cups (429 grams) sugar
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (285 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (6oz) Greek yogurt

Low altitude adjustments:
2 cups (270 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

This should work for sea level, but has not been tested. If any of my sea level friends try it, let me know.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (low altitude 350 degrees).

2. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add Guinness and bring to a simmer. Do not boil or simmer too long. Add semi-sweet chocolate to Guinness/butter mixture and stir till chocolate has melted. Remove from heat, add sugar and stir till well combined. Set aside to cool.

Chocolate note: I tried these with unsweetened baking chocolate, 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolate. I liked the semi-sweet chocolate the best. The unsweetened (which is 100% cacao) and the 60% cacao seemed to mask the flavor of the Guinness. Not sure as to why, but I tasted the Guinness more with the semi-sweet chocolate.

3. Sift flour into a bowl. Add baking soda, salt and mix. Combine eggs and Greek yogurt in a stand-up mixer with whisk attachment on medium till smooth. Add Guinness mixture and combine at low speed till fully combined. Add flour mixture in 3 parts at low speed. Be very careful not to over mix. Over mixing will cause the cupcakes to fall when baking. You can even mix by hand with a spatula.

4. Pour batter into lined cupcake tins till 1/2 to 2/3 full. This is a matter of preference. If you like them higher than the cup liner, go 2/3 full.

I used an ice cream scoop which is what the pros use. ;) My husband taught me this trick years ago and some how I forgot about it and used a spoon the first batch. It was a horrible mess. Ice cream scoop works much better. I use a small rubber spatula to help scoop out all the batter into the cup.

5. Bake for 15-18 minutes (low altitude temperature 18-20 minutes). Check if they are done by inserting a toothpick in the center of one of the cupcakes. If it comes out clean, they are done. Be sure not to open the oven door to soon. Allowing the temperature to drop can cause them to fall if they have not baked enough.

6. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack. Once completely cooled, add the frosting.

The first batch I made the frosting with Greek yogurt. I only made enough for a few so don't have the exact measurements. I used Greek yogurt, confectioners sugar and vanilla extract. It's pretty tasty. Not as tasty and pretty as cream cheese frosting, but a healthy alternative.

The last batch I decided to try a cream cheese with Baileys frosting. Definitely the way to go with Guinness cupcakes. Delicious! The chef hasn't been able to stop eating them (nor have I).

Since we don't drink a lot of Irish cream, I bought the little 50mL bottles.

Irish Cream Frosting Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces butter (softened)
1 50mL bottle of Baileys Irish Cream (comes out to just a little under 4 tablespoons)
1 cup confectioners sugar

Add up to 1 cup more sugar if you like a really sweet frosting. I wanted the Irish cream to really stand out so didn't want it to be too sweet.

Directions: In stand up mixer (or using a hand held mixer), beat the cream cheese, butter and Baileys on medium until smooth. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until light and fluffy.

You could also beat with a whisk by hand and build muscles. ;)

Don't forget the mandatory glass of Guinness while baking these delicious cupcakes.

I've made these cupcakes 4 times to get them right. The first batch was a complete failure. Not only did the cupcakes fall, they looked like the black hole. I now wish I would of took some pictures just so you could see the catastrophe, but I was too upset to think about picking up my camera. Second batch I decreased the baking soda, increased the flour and increased the oven temperature, which is the recipe above...perfect!!! Day of our Super Bowl party when I planned on serving these I decided to make one more slight adjustment and increased the baking soda a bit to see if it would make them just a little less dense. Bad. Idea. Another massive fail. My chef husband had to come in and fix them since I was also making soft pretzels, homemade pizza, salsa...etc., etc.. I was far behind and friends were due to arrive very soon at this point. [NEVER, ever change a recipe the day of...lesson learned.] It's these times that it's really awesome being married to a chef. He fixes my mishaps and can help when I'm in over my head. I decided to give these cupcakes a 4th try for Valentine's Day and made one last adjustment. I went back to the original amount of baking soda and decreased the flour a bit. This time they fell, but only a little which means the 2nd batch really was perfect and there was no need to mess with it. Duh.

After all the trial and tribulations (yes, a little dramatic) with these I actually have another cupcake recipe I want to endure, Guinness whiskey lava cupcakes!!! Oh yeah! Stay tuned. :)

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