Cupcake help!

chi83December 21, 2011

Hi, I made cupcakes last night for my company holiday party tonight. They were chocolate Guinness cake with a whiskey ganache and Baileys frosting. The finished product was the BEST cupcake I have ever had. It was amazing.

However, in a non-thinking moment, I refrigerated the cupcakes overnight and now the frosting has hardened/crusted. I have them on my desk now in containers to see how they do at room temperature but I think the dreamy, creamy buttercream is lost forever.

I think the problem is that this buttercream has more powdered sugar than usual to offset all the Baileys liquid so it hardened up more than I anticipated. It still looks nice and tastes good but the lovely texture is gone.

Do you think a few more hours at room temperature would make them okay? I'm considering scraping it off, rebeating it and re-piping but I'm worried that will make the cupcakes look messy, plus it will be a time crunch for me to try to do that between leaving work and the party an hour later.

Has anyone been in a similar situation? I'm kicking myself because I spent hours on them last night and I'm such a perfectionist that I don't want to present anything that isn't amazing. Here's what they look like:

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Never mind, I decided i'm going to go home at lunch and get my hand mixer, some extra Baileys and some cream and rewhip them!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 12:09PM
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They are beautiful

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 5:05PM
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They are so pretty, and I'm sure they are fine, if not send them to me! And yes, I need that recipe. tia


    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 6:27PM
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Thanks! I scraped off the frosting and re-whipped it with a little extra Baileys, lol. Turned out awesome and they look good as new and I'm much happier about it. Plus I gained quite an audience doing it in the company kitchen!

The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. I made the cake and ganache as written (the cake is the BEST chocolate cake I've ever had though I did add a little bit of espresso powder) and used less sugar for the frosting and more Baileys. I doubled the cupcake and ganache and quadrupled the frosting and I just barely had enough to cover them all, though I used a lot more than she did as I like ample frosting.

Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes (Smitten Kitchen)

While the Guinness in the cake gets mostly baked out, the Baileys is fresh and potent, so if you're making this for people who don't drink - ahem, nobody I know, but I hear such people exist - you'll probably want to swap it with milk.

The Baileys frosting recipe makes a smallish amount of frosting - enough to just cover the cupcakes. Because they were so rich and this frosting so sweet, I felt it only needed a little. Double it if you want more of a towering effect.

Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling (Updated to double it, based on many commenters suggestions - thanks!)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)

Baileys Frosting (see Recipe Notes)
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)

Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you're using it) and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom - aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your "tasters". Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

[This is a fantastic trick I picked up while working on the cupcakes article for Martha Stewart Living; the test kitchen chefs had found that when they added the sugar slowly, quick buttercream frostings got less grainy, and tended to require less sugar to thicken them up.]

When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn't, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

Ice and decorate the cupcakes. [I used a star tip and made little "poofs" everywhere and sprinkled it with various colors of sanding sugar to keep it looking festive for New Years. I bet shaved dark and white chocolates would look gorgeous as well.]

Do ahead: You can bake the cupcakes a week or two in advance and store them, well wrapped, in the freezer. You can also fill them before you freeze them. They also keep filled - or filled and frosted - in the fridge for a day. (Longer, they will start to get stale.)


Here is a link that might be useful: Irish Cupcakes

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 6:40PM
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They look beautiful and sound divine!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 9:49PM
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Oh. My. Goodness.

Those look stunningly lovely and I just know they're delicious!!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us all!

Did you let any of the scraped off frosting come to room temperature, so you could assess the quality of it? If so, please let us know in case we're in that predicament in the future! :O)


    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 10:33PM
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They were a HUGE hit. I had so many people come up to me and say how amazing they are so I would call it a successful recipe. :) I don't know what beer does to chocolate cake but I really like it...

Sooz, after a few hours, the frosting had improved a little bit but it was still too dry for my liking. However, it whipped back into shape beautifully. Once I re-piped it, it was fine out for a few hours and it didn't develop a crust so I would say the key is not to refrigerate it. There's no milk or cream in the frosting so it should be fine at room temperature overnight or for a few hours.

Thanks for the compliments!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 1:15AM
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Good to know! Thanks for posting the extra info about the frosting.

Small wonder so many folks came up to you with loads of compliments--your cupcake skills ROCK ! !


    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 2:45AM
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