OK please forgive me if I am rolling out all of the stereotypes by having a Guinness flavoured cupcake decorated with green shamrocks. But I am assured by airyfairy's post that Guinness is indeed a national obsession within Ireland and well, stereotypes are mostly borne of typical behaviors. I used a Nigella recipe, her Chocolate Guinness cake but made in a cupcake form. I also halved it to make a dozen cupcakes so if you would like to make it a regular sized cake, double all of the proportions below and cook in a lined 23cms springform tin for between 40 minutes to an hour and let cool in tin.
What I wouldn't have done for a shamrock cutter but I'm afraid that in the short time space I had I couldn't find any as the stores are packed with Easter goodies and I didn't have enough time to order one from overseas. So the slightly odd shamrocks that I made I'm afraid will have to do for the time being. I admit I didn't make the cream cheese topping as I used a buttercream one that I had make an excess of a few days before. I chose these high pleated soufflé cups as I wanted them to resemble a tall glass of frothy Guinness.
The resultant taste is unusual, certainly the pleasure wasn't in the actual eating as much as the aftertaste which I found pleasantly different and lingering and Nigella's description of a "ferrous aftertaste" is quite spot on. I have tried Guinness once and for someone who doesn't like beer at all, it's one of the more palatable beers. And my husband was only too happy to volunteer to drink the remaining 315ml of the can. Aren't husbands good that way?
Chocolate and Guinness Stout cupcakes for St Patrick's Day
This cake is magnificent in its damp blackness. I can't say that you can absolutely taste the stout in it, but there is certainly a resonant, ferrous tang which I happen to love. The best way of describing it is to say that it's like gingerbread without the spices. There is enough sugar a certain understatement here to counter any potential bitterness of the Guinness, and although I've eaten versions of this made up like a chocolate layer cake, stuffed and slathered in a rich chocolate frosting, I think that can take away from its dark majesty. Besides, I wanted to make a cream cheese frosting to echo the pale head that sits on top of a glass of stout. It's unconventional to add cream but it makes it frothier and lighter which I regard as aesthetically and gastronomically desirable. But it is perfectly acceptable to leave the cake un-iced: in fact, it tastes gorgeous plain.
FOR THE CUPCAKES (makes 12 regular sized cupcakes)
- 125ml Guinness
- 75ml sour cream
- 125grams unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 40g unsweetened cocoa
- 140grams all-purpose flour
- 200grams caster sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
FOR THE ICING
- 150g Philadelphia cream cheese
- 65ml heavy cream
- 75grams icing sugar
- Green coloured fondant and shamrock shaped cutter (I just printed an outline of a shamrock, placed it on top of the fondant and traced along it with a sharp, light knife)
- Green sugar crystals
- Silver cachous
Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 180°C, and butter and line a cupcake tin with papers. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter in spoons or slices and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and baking soda.
Step 2 - Pour the cake batter into a measuring jug-it will make this infinitely easier to pour into the cupcake cups and pour the thick chocolate-y batter into the liners about 3/4 of the way up, it will rise up a little but not too much. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and remove to cool on a rack.
Step 3 - Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sift over the confectioners' sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsifted confectioners' sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.
Step 4 - Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cupcakes so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.
Recipe adapted from _Feast _by Nigella Lawson