These Guinness Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting(often referred to as Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes) are made with Guinness cake, a whiskey chocolate ganache and Irish Cream buttercream frosting. They are simply divine!
» You might also like this Super Tasty Guinness Milkshake and Bailey’s Hot Chocolate Bombs.
If you’ve never tried a Guinness cake, you really should get on that. For some reason, the cake just turns out so fluffy and moist. It’s my favorite type of cake to make. Add to it a whiskey ganache and Irish Cream frosting and you have the perfect Irish cupcake.
This recipe is inspired by the Irish Car Bomb Cupcake recipe by Brown Eyed Baker. The name is a bit outdated – referring to the popular bar shot. They’ve changed it and so have we. The new name truly reflects what they are.
If it weren’t for the amount of time needed to make them, I’d probably have a batch on rotation. They really are the best cupcakes I’ve ever had.
Don’t let the effort sway you from trying them. I saw all these wonderful photos of everyone’s Irish cupcakes online and thought I shouldn’t make them because it looked like too much effort to make them so perfect.
But you know what, they taste the same whether they’re pretty or not! I say just do your best. Mine aren’t masterpieces by any means. But they still tasted amazing!
Ingredients You Need
We’ll break this down into three parts, because there are really 3 pieces to this cupcake puzzle. There’s the cupcake itself, the ganache, and the frosting.
Guinness Cupcake Ingredients
- Guinness stout – You can use any type of stout you like, and it doesn’t have to be cold.
- All-purpose flour – Using all-purpose flour will give you the best results.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder – I use Dutch-processed Cocao powder for a deep, rich flavor.
- Salt – The salt balances out and brightens up the sweetness.
- Baking soda – The leavening agent in the recipe that makes the cupcakes rise.
- Vanilla extract – Adds a mild vanilla flavor.
- Unsalted butter – Room temperature
- Granulated sugar – Use granulated white sugar for the best outcome.
- Eggs – For baking, eggs should always be at room temperature.
- Sour cream – Using sour cream in baking adds fat which adds richness and moisture to the cake without thinning down the batter. It also activates the baking soda with helps with leavening.
Whisky Ganache Ingredients
- Chocolate pieces – I use Ghirardelli chocolate wafers. You can use any type of chocolate you want, just make sure to cut it into small pieces so it melts quickly, and be sure to measure the amount.
- Heavy cream – It’s best to use heavy cream rather than milk or half and half, because the ganache needs a high fat content.
- Irish whiskey – I used Jameson’s.
Irish Cream Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
- Unsalted butter – Room temperature
- Powdered sugar – aka Confectioners’ Sugar
- Irish Cream – You can use Bailey’s or any other brand you like. You can also make your own.
- Green sprinkles – The sprinkles are optional, but they are quite festive if you’re making these for St. Patrick’s Day.
How to Make Guinness Cupcakes
Step One: Make the Cupcakes
We’ll start out by making the cupcakes. They are very easy to make, especially if you have a stand mixer that can do all the work for you. If you don’t, you can use a hand mixer or a whisk in a pinch.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Fill your cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set it aside. I like to use these festive St. Patrick’s Day cupcake liners.
Mix the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda together in a bowl.
In your stand mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This takes about 3 minutes.
While you’re still mixing, add the eggs, one at a time, until each is incorporated, then add the sour cream. Beat until everything is well blended.
While still mixing, pour in half the dry ingredients, then half the stout, then vanilla extract, then remaining dry ingredients, then remaining stout. Mix just until combined. Try not to over blend it. This batter is so light and fluffy.
Fill the cupcake liners with the batter to 3/4 full. Bake them for 17-19 minutes. To know when they’re done, it’s best to insert a toothpick in the center to see if it comes out clean. If not, continue cooking.
Remove them from the oven when they’re done and cool completely on a cooling rack.
Once the cupcakes are cool, use a knife or apple corer to remove a small chunk of cake from the center. It doesn’t need to be a big chunk. I go for about a 1″ square piece. That gives room for enough ganache.
Step Two: Make the Ganache
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl that’s large enough to hold the chocolate and the cream.
In a saucepan, heat the whipping cream on medium low just until steaming, but not bubbling. You don’t want it to boil.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 10 minutes. Stir it with a rubber spatula until the chocolate chips are melted and the ganache is smooth. Cool completely.
If the ganache is really thin, you can thicken it by adding more chocolate. You can also add a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar to thicken it. But only do that if it’s necessary. No need to add more sugar to this already sugary dessert.
The ganache should thicken as it cools, and it should be thick enough to not soak into the cupcake. See the pictures below for consistency.
Fill the centers of the cupcakes with ganache either by spooning it in or using a piping bag.
Step Three: Buttercream Frosting
In a mixing bowl, whip the butter until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it’s fully incorporated.
Pour in the Irish Cream and whip it for another minute, until light and fluffy.
Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes with a piping bag and large decorator tip. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
Do I Have to Use Alcohol?
I mean these are pretty boozy cupcakes. While you can’t really taste the Guinness in the cupcakes, because they are baked and the alcohol has evaporated, you can definitely taste it in the ganache and frosting. That’s pretty much the whole purpose of these cupcakes.
However, if you choose not to use the alcohol, that’s totally up to you. It won’t do any damage to leave it out. If you were to leave one in, I’d go for the Guinness because it really does elevate the moistness of the cake.
How Long Do Cupcakes Last?
The amount of days you can keep cupcakes around varies depending on how you’ve stored them. These do have cream in them, so they need to be refrigerated. If you keep them in an air tight container and only open it to get one out, they will last for a week. After that they begin to get a bit stale.
You can also freeze the cupcakes to extend their life. They will last up to 4 months if you store them properly in the freezer, to prevent freezer burn.
Tips for Awesome Irish Cupcakes
- These are pretty time intensive cupcakes but they are worth it. My best tip is to take it in parts. Finish one part before going on to the next, so you don’t have a ton going on at one time. Everything has to cool after making it anyways.
- Be sure to get the butter and eggs out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes to an hour before you start. It needs to be room temperature.
- My ganache sometimes turns out too liquidy. If this happens to you, you can thicken it with more chocolate or with a little bit of powdered sugar.
- If you don’t want to put the ganache in the centers, you can skip that whole step, or you can spread the ganache on the top of the cupcakes before you frost them. The ganache center is my favorite part though so ….
- Frost the cupcakes however you like. I sometimes just make whatever designs I want. They don’t have to be consistent.
- Add sprinkles or decorations if you’re making these for St. Patrick’s Day.
Guinness Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting
These cupcakes (often referred to as Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes) are made with Guinness cake, a whiskey chocolate ganache and Irish Cream buttercream frosting. They are simply divine!
For the Cupcakes
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 125g
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 38g
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 4g
- 2/3 cup Guinness stout, 5 oz
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, 113g
- 1 cup granulated sugar, 200g
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream, 120g
For the Ganache
- 5 ounces chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, 60ml
- 1 teaspoon Irish whiskey (like Jameson's)
For the Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, 113g
- 2 cups powdered sugar, 240g
- 3 tablespoons Irish Cream (Bailey's or make your own), 37ml
- 2 tablespoons green sprinkles, optional, 21g
For the Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Fill a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set it aside.
- Mix the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda together in a bowl.
- In a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, while mixing, then add sour cream. Beat until well blended.
- While still mixing, pour in half the dry ingredients then half the stout, then vanilla extract, then remaining dry ingredients, then remaining stout. Mix just until combined, do not over blend.
- Fill the cupcake liners with the batter to 3/4 full. Bake for 17-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Once the cupcakes are cool, use a knife or apple corer to remove a small chunk of cake from the center.
For the Ganache
- Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
- In a saucepan, heat the whipping cream until steaming, but not bubbling (do not boil).
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 10 minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate chips are melted and the ganache is smooth. Cool completely.
- If the ganache is very thin, you can thicken it by adding a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar (only if necessary).
- Fill the centers of the cupcakes with ganache either by spooning it in or using a piping bag.
For the Frosting
- In a mixing bowl, whip the butter until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar until fully incorporated.
- Pour in the Irish Cream and whip for another 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Pipe the frosting onto cupcakes with a piping bag and large decorator tip.
- Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
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Laura is the founder and editor of the travel blogs Savored Sips and Savored Journeys. She is dedicated to sharing the best information about drinks found around the world.