Little-known fact about me: I was born and raised in Northern Ireland and lived there until I was nine. Sadly, all forms of a cute accent are long gone, but it’s still fun to celebrate my Irish roots each year come St. Paddy’s Day (yes—it’s Paddy, not Patty. Drives us Irish nuts, I tell ya!)
This holiday can be a little cheesy though, so I’m never sure how I want to celebrate. Green beer? No way. Green bagels? Don’t even get me started. Corned beef and cabbage? Um, I actually never ate this in Ireland—I had it for the first time at a St. Patrick’s Day party in the U.S.
But then, my cousin told me about this incredible chocolate cake that Nigella Lawson makes with Guinness and chocolate. This sounded like the perfect way to celebrate—especially in cupcake form. Cupcakes never go amiss at any holiday!
Of course, I couldn’t leave out the Irish whiskey—it might get lonely! So I decided to whip it into the frosting, and create a match made in heaven. I know, it sounds intense, but don’t worry. If you don’t have time to channel your inner domestic goddess, I’ve come up with a few cheats so you can whip up a batch of these babies in under an hour.
1. Make the Chocolate Guinness Cake
If you have the time, I highly encourage you to make Nigella’s scrumptious recipe for the cupcakes—it’s incredibly yummy. I, however, did not have a lot of time, so I created a cheat. I know, you can thank me later.
This is really complicated: Take a box of Devil’s Food Cake mix, substitute Guinness for the water (in my case it was 1 cup), and follow the instructions on the back of the box.
Mix in 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips.
Then, fill your cupcake tins. I ended up with a dozen cupcakes plus a few extras, but you could always fill them with less and get closer to two dozen.
2. Make the Irish Whiskey Salted Caramel
I found an amazing recipe for bourbon caramel sauce on Cup of Jo, so I figured—why not substitute some Irish whiskey for the bourbon? Would it work? Would it flop?
Oh, did it work! I used Powers Irish Whiskey and it added a really nice depth of flavor to the caramel. Don’t have time to make homemade caramel sauce? Have no fear, a cheat is here—just add a tablespoon of whiskey to 1/3 cup of bought caramel sauce (melt in the microwave for 30 seconds or so to thin it first) and use it in the frosting recipe below.
Side note—did you know that Irish whiskey has an “e” in it? And that Scotch whisky has no “e?” Yeah, I didn’t either. #needtobrushuponmywhiskeyhistory
3. Make the Irish Whiskey Salted Caramel Frosting
Homemade frosting is really easy. You take two sticks of softened butter, mix in two cups of sifted powdered sugar, and beat until smooth. That’s your basic buttercream recipe. Add vanilla if you want vanilla flavored frosting, cocoa powder if you want chocolate frosting, peppermint essence for peppermint frosting—you get the picture.
For this recipe, use 1/3 cup of the Irish whiskey caramel sauce you just made, and beat it into the buttercream until everything is smooth and creamy. Chef’s tastes are highly encouraged.
4. Add the Finishing Touches
A final dusting of cocoa powder is all you need to finish these babies off. Well, and some pints of Guinness, of course!
And maybe a silly green headband.