Whether or not you are Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday to celebrate. I am not really a green beer kind of girl but give me an Irish Coffee, and I’m all in. And since I can never pass up the opportunity for a sweet treat, I thought it would be fun to make some St. Patrick’s Day Irish Cream Cupcakes flavored with Baileys Irish Cream and coffee this year.
Over the years I have made a lot of chocolate cakes from scratch. And I have to say that most of them have ended up rather dry and lackluster. Such was the case until one day; I came across “Beatty’s Chocolate Cake” as I was thumbing through Ina Garten’s excellent cookbook, Barefoot Contessa At Home. (I confess that I’m a total Ina fangirl and want to be her when I grow up). Since chocolate is my youngest child’s favorite birthday cake, I decided to give scratch chocolate cake one more try. And let me tell you, this one was a revelation. It is everything I always hoped for in a chocolate cake and never achieved before. It’s rich, moist, and infused with such chocolatey goodness that I swear I heard the angels sing when I tasted it.
The recipe as written includes a cup of freshly brewed coffee so, when I resolved to make Irish Cream Cupcakes, I knew that it would work perfectly with the addition of the Baileys.
Beatty's Chocolate Cupcakes
(Source: Modified from Barefoot Contessa At Home by Ina Garten, pg. 165)
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup Ghiradelli Premium Baking Cocoa
- 2 tsps. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 extra large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- 1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream liqueur
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners.
Place the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk together until combined. ( I like to use this method in lieu of sifting).
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla, and the Baileys Irish Cream.
Switch out the whisk for the paddle attachment and on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tins and bake for 18 – 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
The “Beatty’s Chocolate Cake” recipe in Ina Garten’s cookbook includes a wonderful chocolate frosting recipe as well. But I wanted to decorate my cupcakes with green Shamrocks. And since I didn’t want to make two batches of icing, I decided to make a white buttercream flavored with Baileys instead.
Baileys Flavored Buttercream
- 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 1 lb. bag powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp Baileys Irish Cream liqueur
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, Beat the softened butter on high speed until it is light and fluffy.
Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and mix at a reduced speed until it is all incorporated and smooth.
Add the Baileys Irish Cream and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Once I whipped up a batch of the buttercream, I separated out about 1/3 of the icing and set it aside. With the other 2/3’s of the liqueur-laced icing, I proceeded to simply frost the cooled cupcakes. (I like to use a small offset spatula for frosting cupcakes.)
Directions For Piping A Shamrock
I tinted the remaining third of the buttercream with Wilton Kelly Green Gel Food Coloring and placed it in a piping bag.
I used a No. 103 decorating tip to make the heart-shaped petals of the Shamrock, piping each clover-like sprig onto a parchment square affixed to a flower nail.
- To pipe each petal, hold the bag at a 45° angle.
- Lightly touch the wide end of the tip to the center of the nail.
- Squeeze the bag moving from the center outward, making the first bump of the heart-shaped leaf.
- Keep squeezing as you curve inward a bit to make the v at the top of the heart.
- Curve back out and then move down to the center, returning to your beginning point.
- Relax the pressure as you return the wide end of the tip to the center of the nail, stop squeezing and lift up.
- Turn the nail 1/4 turn and repeat the step 3 more times.
- Place the parchment on a flower former so that the icing Shamrock firms in a slightly curved shape, and pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes. (You can also lay them flat.)
- Once the Shamrocks are firm, carefully and quickly peel them off the parchment paper and place them on top of the cupcakes.
- Use a No. 3 round tip to pipe a dot in the center and to make a stem.
The cupcakes turned out pretty cute. The cake, as expected, was chocolatey and dense, and the flavor of the Baileys really came through in both the cake and the icing.
To display them, I placed the Irish Cream Cupcakes on my awesome “maypole” candelabra, as well as a couple of green glass cake plates.
For more St. Patrick’s Day fun, I added ribbons studded with paper Shamrocks to the candelabra. With different shades and patterns of green scrapbooking paper, I used a heart-shaped punch to make the petals of my Shamrocks. After I punched them out, I folded each heart in half to create a crease down the center. I then unfolded the hearts and glued three hearts together at the pointed ends with a hot glue gun to form each Shamrock. Once I made all my Shamrocks, I glued them at intervals along the ribbons I’d tied to the top of the candelabra. You definitely don’t need a funky candelabra for this idea, as you could easily decorate any tiered tray or plate rack this way.
So this St. Patrick’s Day, raise an Irish Cream Cupcake with me for a sweet toast:
May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows your dead.
Old Irish “Blessing”
If you liked this post, you might be interested in this green and yellow Spring tablescape which would be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day:
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