Sunday, March 20, 2011

Irish Coffee Cupcakes and the Girl Who Just Doesn't Give In

Irish Coffee Cupcakes
One of my mottoes is "never give up, never give in." It's really hard to follow sometimes, especially if I've been hurt or swallowed by the ocean (don't worry, I made it back to the surface). But then there are the times when I want what I want and nothing is going to stop me. Usually these things I want are not worth it in the grand scheme of things, but for some reason, little me has assigned it the utmost importance.

One such instance happened when I was in third grade. I'm still not entirely sure if this story is true, but I'm pretty sure it is. I remember it as if it happened last year. It was a Wednesday and I woke up with a fever. My mom told me I should stay home from school, but I refused because we had a spelling test that day and there was a signed piece of paper we had to turn in from our parents and if we did so, we would get a homework pass. I lived for getting homework passes- they meant I could skip a homework assignment. Score! So, I went to school, did my spelling test, got my homework pass, and made it to gym class. In gym I really started to feel sick, so the teacher sent me to the nurse who called my mom to come pick me up. Well, at least I'd gotten what I came for. But I really hated missing school.

I spent the next few days in a haze- I was dizzy every time I sat up on the couch. One day, maybe Friday, my younger brother came home from school and told me a killer clown had been at the school that day. Now, I grew up never really trusting the words that came out of my little brother's mouth- he was a bit of a fabulist. So naturally, I thought this story was being told just to freak me out. Besides, how outrageous is that? A killer clown at my school?

A single cupcake
Come Monday I was feeling better, so I went back to school. On the bus ride to school, all that the other kids were talking about was the killer clown. Wait a second... Is this some big prank? Surely my brother isn't that good... Rumor had it that the clown had chased a boy down the hall outside my classroom with a dagger. I resolved to get to the bottom of this as soon as I got to class. When I got there, all the kids were talking about the killer clown. So I asked my teacher if it was true. She said that we shouldn't talk about it any more, but from then on we were allowed to take a buddy to the restroom, just to be safe. Are you kidding me?!

So that is the story of the killer clown and the days I was too incapacitated to go to school. I never did use that homework pass- I moved later that Spring. I feel like I was sick for a reason that week. As in, maybe I was not supposed to be at school those few days. Maybe it would have traumatized me (I am an HSP, after all).

Anyway, what does this story have to do with Irish Coffee Cupcakes? Well, I was sick all this week. I had a head cold that really knocked me out. I haven't slept this much since my last trip to London. I also had a Game Night scheduled at my place Saturday night, and I was not about to give it up. I had already said I would provide the above-mentioned cupcakes, and I was not about to let anyone down. Mostly I was stubborn and really wanted to socialize and make awesome cupcakes. So I did.

Sickly cupcakes

These cupcakes are the bomb (why yes, I'm going back to the 90s with that one). When I poured the batter into the prepared liners, I was a bit worried because it was terribly lumpy. When the cupcakes came out of the oven, I was horrified because they looked like they had cancer or something. The lumps looked awful. Luckily, I got to cut holes in the cupcakes to fill with filling, and then I glazed them with chocolate. So you can't see the lumps on the finished product. And the finished product was damn tasty. Even my fellow game-nighters agreed with me on this one.

Irish Coffee Cupcakes
from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz

175 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
250 ml strong-brewed coffee
50g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temp
275 g light brown sugar
2 lrg eggs, at room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract

4 oz cream cheese, at room temp
4 tbsp salted butter, at room temp
75 g powdered sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Irish Cream Liqueur (I used Carolans, per recommendation from the lady at the liquor store)

4 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp light corn syrup
2 tbsp whiskey (I used Jameson)

     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
     To make the cupcakes, into a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
     In a medium saucepan, heat the coffee until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa until dissolved, then add the stick unsalted butter, stirring until melted. Whisk in the brown sugar and let cool until tepid. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, then stir in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Don't overmix.
     Divide the batter among the cupcake liners and bake until the cupcakes feel just set in the center, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool completely.
     To make the filling, in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, beat together the cream cheese, salted butter, and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the Irish Cream liqueur.
     To fill the cupcakes, use a sharp knife to cut a 2-inch cone-shaped hole in the center of each cupcake. Remove the plug-like pieces. Trim off the top of each plug to create a disk-shaped piece that is 1/3 inch thick. Save these disks for capping the filled cupcakes.
     Divide the filling among the cupcakes, then gently press the caps into the filling. They won't fit perfectly, which is fine, and some filling may bulge out.
     To make the glaze, melt the chocolate with the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the whiskey.
     Dip the tops of the filled cupcakes in the glaze, completely sealing the tops and generously coating them. Let cool, right side up, until the glaze is firm.


 Note: I put the filling in a sandwich baggie and cut off a tip to squeeze the filling into the holes in the cupcakes. Made it pretty easy and less messy.


  1. You are stronger than I, I was going to make Irish brownies for st. patty's day but didn't because both Kelsey and I were sick. I would give you some more kudos if I got try one of those cupcakes.


  2. Well surely I will make these again, as they were legendary. When that happens, I will save one for me so you can give me more kudos. Which makes me think of kudos bars.