Sixteen years ago, The Artist and I were introduced by mutual friends on St. Patrick’s Day. Being of Irish descent, March 17th is already a special day for me, and now it is doubly so. Every year I get to celebrate the fun of being Irish and the day I met my future husband. It is the perfect excuse for a boisterous party!
We usually gather friends and go to a local bar/restaurant where we indulge in corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips, and green beer. We sing silly Irish songs, dance a little jig, and otherwise have a great time. Every year I try to find a new fun green outfit to wear. This year I have a great t-shirt with images of drunks sprawled over chairs. It is labeled “Irish Yoga”… guaranteed to make my friends laugh!
When I was thinking of Irish desserts that would be good for Chocolate Monday, I went to one of my favorite chefs and authors, David Lebovitz and once again he came through big time! This is definitely a dessert for adults, but an absolutely perfect way to end your St. Patrick’s Day meal. Rich, but not too heavy, full of chocolate with a hint of Irish Cream and Irish whiskey, these cupcakes will stand on their own with a cup of coffee after dinner or as an afternoon snack.
Irish Coffee was created in San Francisco at a bar call the Buena Vista in November, 1952. The BV is still there today, and they still specialize in this drink. It was created when the then owner of the bar challenged an international travel writer to recreate a drink he had had at the Shannon Airport in Ireland. Many experiments later, they finally had the concoction perfected, and history was born. Their biggest challege was getting the cream to stay floating on the top. It turns out that if the cream is aged 48 hours and frothed to a specific consistency, it will float as delicately as a swan on water. On a cold evening, after wandering the streets in the fog, there is nothing that will warm you more quickly than a mug of coffee spiked with some Irish whiskey, a little sugar and topped with thick cream. We have ended many evenings sipping these at the Buena Vista.
When I was growing up, one of our favorite after school treats were Ding Dongs. Chocolate cupcakes stuffed with a white creamy filling, we each had a different way of attacking them. Some ate the frosting off the top and came in from there. Others broke the cupcake in half to get to the filling. And some, like me, ate them from the bottom up. Today’s dessert is an adult version of Ding Dongs!
These cupcakes alone are wonderful and you could stop with just baking and glazing them, but why not take them over the top. The cream cheese filling is flavored with Irish Cream liqueur and then piped into the center of the cupcakes. You then dip them in a melted Irish whiskey-flavored ganache glaze. Stop there and everyone will love them, or you can take extra filling, thin it slightly with a little water and drizzle it decoratively over the top of the glazed cupcakes. If a simple glaze isn’t enough for you (although I can’t imagine anyone not loving it) you can chill the ganache a bit and then whip it into a frosting. Use a star tip and pipe it onto the cupcakes for a professional-looking dessert.
So grab some friends, get together, eat some great Irish-American food, have a few drinks, and make sure to wear green. You don’t want to get pinched all day long! Then you can raise a glass to The Artist and me – you are welcome for the excuse to have a cocktail on my favorite day of the year, LOL!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
When you are dipping the cupcakes in the chocolate glaze, lower them straight down. Pull straight up and then twist your wrist as you turn the cupcakes upright. This will keep most of the glaze on the cupcake and they should be evenly covered.
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup strongly brewed coffee
- 6 tbsp unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
- 1-1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Irish Cream Filling
- 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 tbsp salted butter, at room temperature
- 6 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp Irish Cream liqueur, such as Bailey’s Irish Cream
- Chocolate Glaze
- 4 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp light corn syrup or agave nectar
- 2 tbsp Irish whiskey
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- To make the cupcakes: In 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 1/2 cup unsalted butter, stirring until melted. Whisk in the brown sugar and let cool until tepid. When cooled, whisk in the eggs and vanilla, and 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. These can be baked several hours ahead.
- To make the filling: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a food processor fitted with the metal blade, beat together the cream cheese, salted butter, and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the Irish Cream liqueur. If made ahead, hold at room temperature up to 2 hours, or up to 2 days covered in the refrigerator.
- To fill cupcakes: Use a sharp, slender knife to cut a 2-inch cone-shaped hole in the top center of each cupcake. Remove the plug-like pieces. Trim of the top of each plug to create a disk that is about 1/3-inch thick. Save these disks for capping the filled cupcakes.
- Divide the filling among the cupcakes; using a piping bag and medium plain tip makes this simple. Gently press the reserved caps into the filling. They won’t fit perfectly, and some filling may bulge out, which is fine. Set cupcakes to the side while you make the glaze.
- 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. Stir until completely blended and smooth.
- 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.
- Yield: 12 cupcakes