It has been a busy weekend at our house. My son graduated from high school, followed by College Girl taking off for Ireland for a summer of classes and studying. (That’s what she told me, and we are sticking with that…)

In the midst of sticking everything into space bags and shrinking it flat with my vacuum cleaner, she still made time to bake blueberry muffins for her brother’s graduation breakfast. A thoughtful (and economical) gift that inspired me to try to do something equally nice for her!

In the spirit of an Irish sendoff, I baked up these chocolate Guinness cupcakes and frosted them with a Bailey’s Irish buttercream – they’re like going to the pub AND having dessert. Perfect.

Gather Up:
1 cup Guinness Extra Stout
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-process if available)
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
3-4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3-4 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream (or regular cream)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 18 cupcake liners.

Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to a simmer in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.

Remove from the heat. In a large bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt until combined.

In an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream together.

Add the stout/chocolate mixture, and beat just to combine.

Add flour mixture, and beat briefly on slow speed.

Using a rubber spatula finish gently folding the batter until completely combined.

Fill the muffin cups. (Fill standard muffin liners about 3/4 full.)

Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Start testing at 15 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.

Time to make the frosting! If you’re not in the mood for stout cupcakes in the summer, we don’t blame you. BUT, go ahead and make this icing and find something to put it on – it is to die for good. The flavor is not overwhelming – just really delicious. We think it would be fantastic on a regular chocolate cupcake or on oatmeal cookies…

Start by sifting about 4 cups of confectioners sugar.

Whip the butter in an electric mixer until it’s very light and fluffy. Slowly add confectioners sugar a few tablespoons at a time. (When the sugar is added slowly the frosting will be less grainy and tends to need less sugar to thicken.)

When the frosting is thick enough to spread, drizzle in Bailey’s a tablespoon at a time, and whip until combined. Taste the frosting to make sure the flavor is right. (If you need to add extra Bailey’s for flavor, beat in a few more tablespoons of sifted confectioners sugar.)

For our Irish sendoff cupcakes, we made a shamrock template, set it on each cupcake, and sprinkled it with green sugar. But, you can do any shape or color.

Travel safe, Robin! We’ll be eating the rest of these and thinking of you…

Chocolate Stout Cake from Smitten Kitchen.