Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate Irish cream frosting – foolproof chocolate cupcakes with the most addictive chocolate, mascarpone and Irish cream frosting. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!
Sometimes when the weekend rolls round and the week has been long and arduous you need to… BAKE! Well *I* need to bake and I am sure there are others who share my feelings. Today was too busy for anything ambitious so I decided to make chocolate cupcakes, after consulting the kids. It has been such a long time since I baked something this simple, but there’s definite joy and satisfaction in relatively instant delicious gratification! These cupcakes are super-simple to make, child’s play in fact. And the frosting is… OMG so unbelievably delicious! I used the last of a bottle of Irish cream that had been knocking around for a very long time in this frosting so – hey! – St. Patrick’s Day here we come.
The other reason I am actually giddy with excitement is that I photographed these cupcakes at 4.45pm. The light was nearly gone, just enough to illuminate these without the aid of artificial lights. Do you know what this means? It’s practically SPRING people, I mean I could practically sing. Except you really don’t want me to sing – I adore music but am totally tone deaf. But suffice to say I was listening to music while processing these photos and, yes, I was singing along. I love these photos and I finally got to use my recent eBay find – a vintage money box full of photographs from at least 100 years ago. There’s so much history in this box – young women wearing their Sunday best, photographs of family groupings and courting couples and even a photo of a dog. That one photo practically makes me cry – photography was not accessible or cheap in those days, so that was one beloved pet.
But anyway I think I have gone on long enough. You probably want to hear about the recipe, right? If you don’t have Irish cream or simply wish to keep the frosting alcohol-free you could leave it out and replace it with milk or a combo of milk and coffee. If on the other hand you want this to be even boozier then by all means add some Irish whisky in the frosting. Just don’t take the cupcakes to the school bake sale! I have added a little grated chocolate on top but you could add cocoa nibs or shamrock sprinkles (if you can find them!).
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- For the cupcakes
- 150g | 5½oz plain (all purpose) flour
- 25g | ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 165g | 6oz soft light brown sugar
- ½ tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 100g | 3½oz unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 large eggs
- 100g | 3½oz buttermilk
- 3 tbsp freshly brewed espresso (or use espresso powder or Camp coffee syrup)
- ½ tbsp vanilla extract
- For the frosting
- 300g | 10½oz icing sugar
- 300g | 10½oz full-fat mascarpone cheese
- 150g | 5.3oz dark chocolate, chopped
- 25g | 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 100ml | 3.3fl oz Irish cream (Baileys)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- grated chocolate to garnish (or you can use whatever sprinkles you prefer)
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and put cupcake cases into a 12 hole muffin tin.
- Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Process/mix for a couple of seconds to combine.
- Add the cubed butter and process/mix until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the eggs and process/mix until well combined.
- Mix the buttermilk with the coffee and vanilla extract and add gradually to the batter beating or blitzing until completely mixed in. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again.
- Divide the batter among the cupcake cases, filling ⅔ of the way.
- Bake for 17-20 minutes until risen and firm. Cool on a wire rack before frosting.
- Put the chocolate and butter in a bowl and set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Allow to melt, stirring occasionally, until completely smooth. Stir in the Irish cream and mix together - the choclate will thicken slightly.
- Put the icing sugar, mascarpone and a third of the melted chocolate in the bowl of your stand mixer and start beating on low speed, increasing to maximum once the ingredients are incorporatead.
- Add the rest of the chocolate and vanilla extract and mix until completely smooth.
- Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and generously frost each of the cupcakes.
- Add a little grated chocolate and serve.
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