Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Year to Celebrate

Despite all the crazy and unfortunate things that seem to be popping up this year, 2011 has still given us reason to celebrate, birthday after birthday.  That's right, all us 1990 babies are turning 21, the most looked-forward to age in the US.  It wasn't a huge deal for me, since I don't really drink much, but I still enjoy celebrating with everyone else.

This week, it was my friend Chris's turn.  For the last 3 months, he's been telling me about this cupcake his TA told him about: the legendary Guinness chocolate cupcake with Bailey's Irish Cream frosting.  It's been on the foodie circuit for quite a while now, and I've been anxiously awaiting for a reason to try this recipe out anyway, so I decided this would be part of my birthday gift to Chris.  These cupcakes aren't exactly something you make just for fun, since both Guinness and Bailey's are pretty expensive ingredients given how much of them you actually use (a few tablespoons of Bailey's and only a cup of Guinness).  No, this is a special occasion recipe for a special person.

Of course, I was exhausted from a long day out at the farm taking care of my grandparents, so I decided if I was going to get these done, I was going to need a little help.  Unfortunately, the only help I could get was from the birthday boy himself.  I know, I know, what a terrible person to have someone help with his own birthday cake, but if he wanted them, it was the only way it was going to happen.  I also have a lot of qualms about making someone cupcakes instead of giant cupcakes or a cake, but I had to keep Chris's housemates in mind.  A house of 6 boys isn't exactly the cleanest living situation, and dishes are rarely done.  To save the trouble of finding clean dishes and washing them after, we agreed that simple cupcakes would be our best bet.

We scoured FoodGawker for the best recipe, and chose the first one we saw, from Le Petit Pierogi.  Then we ran out in our pajamas to grab the sour cream.  We followed the recipe for the cupcakes exactly, but used my own favorite buttercream recipe.  Measuring never seems to help, so I have given up, but here's the general game plan:

Bailey's Irish Cream Buttercream
  • Equal parts butter and vegetable shortening (equaling about a cup total)
  • About three times as much confectioners' sugar as butter/shortening mixture
  • A few tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream
Beat together butter and shortening until fluffy.  Add powdered sugar slowly (unless you like looking like Casper) until stiff.  Add a few tablespoons of Bailey's until soft enough to spread.

These cupcakes got rave reviews, both from Chris' friends and my family.  Yes, conceptually these are pretty awesome- I mean, who wouldn't love combining two types of alcohol and chocolate cake?  But it's not just the idea that made them a hit.  The actual cupcakes were moist and had a great depth from the beer, and the frosting was the perfect complement.  My mom said they may be the best cupcakes she's ever had, and my grandfather loved them too.  They both want them for their birthdays!  I refuse to make the same thing twice for birthdays, so we'll see what I can come up with.  Until then, here's a few photos of the cupcakes and the night out that followed:

Making a wish
The birthday margarita from Bomber's Burrito Bar

Despite me being a zombie the next day, I think Chris had a good birthday and that it was worth all the effort.  The lucky dog is still celebrating right now in Vegas and then Cali with his family.  Happy Birthday, dear.  Have a great time and I can't wait to see you soon.

Love and cookies,

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