I haven't had terribly good cooking karma lately. I've been feeling a little apathetic in the kitchen, and I apparently have just entered one of those phases where I'm hungry all the time but nothing sounds even remotely appealing so I haven't been pushing myself. I'll be back on track far too soon, but for the moment I've been feeling a little stalled out, food-wise.
So recently I was flattered to be contacted via facebook by an acquaintance from Northwestern who wanted me to help her bake a cake for a mutual friend's birthday. I was totally psyched, as they say. I can't help but feel like you've crossed some sort of amateur cook line when people start asking you to help out with special events, you know? Also, this was an excellent time to talk her into helping me make these ridiculously decadent cupcakes, ones that caught my eye a few months ago but that I hadn't quite gotten the energy together to make just for the hell of it. I mean, making cookies just for the hell of it is one thing, but cupcakes filled with ganache and frosted, and requiring a significant amount of alcohol to be purchased just to get them made? That's a whole other level.
But I'm a total sucker for gimmicky foods. Show me a vegetable that's not the color I'm expecting (a white eggplant, just for example) and I will definitely squeal a little bit and possibly even buy it "just to see if it tastes different, you know?" So a cupcake that mimics an Irish Car Bomb (which yes, is a terribly insensitive name--smitten kitchen's comments are full of people pointing that out) was just right up my alley. The cake part of things has Guinness in it (let me tell you, a pot full of simmering beer and butter smells... interesting), and then you core each cupcake and fill it with a chocolate ganache containing whiskey (naturally). Frost the whole thing over with buttercream frosting with baileys in it, and you have a complete little alcoholic cupcake.
(Notes: The cookie cutter thing didn't work at all. I actually bought a set of graduated star cookie cutters just for these cupcakes, but we couldn't get it to work. We ended up just using knives. Also? Don't make the frosting and ganache the morning before and then stick them in the fridge all day. You'll just have to heat them up again.)
Frankly, I'm too lazy to post the entire rather lengthy recipe here; that's what links are for. I'm also probably too lazy to make these again except for special occasions. I haven't actually eaten a full cupcake yet--just plenty of each of the components--but I'm not sure it's going to measure up to the amount of work that went in. Although all things considered, these weren't so terribly bad. I made the ganache and frosting in the morning (cooking with whiskey and heavy cream at 9 AM is a good time) and we baked the cupcakes together at night. Coring, filling and frosting were fun; I think these might just be Party Cupcakes. If I ever actually go to a Superbowl party, these will be my contribution.