Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Bailey’s Icing

Cupcakes are essential for any birthday party, right?

In the spirit of a friend’s birthday and St.Patricks Day, I decided to whip up some Irish influenced cupcakes.  I had always heard rumblings about Guinness chocolate cake and I’ve gotta say I was impressed.  The cake texture is rich and decadent, yet it isn’t too sweet (so really you can just eat a bunch and be fine…).

The icing also has a nice hint of Bailey’s but it’s not overwhelming, although that can be easily fixed with an extra tablespoon.  This was the first time I recorded my icing recipe, (as it’s usually completely non-scientific) and you can also see the piping technique in the photos below.

IMG_8418You’ll start by bringing butter and Guinness to a simmer over medium heat, then whisking in the cocoa until it’s completely smooth, like this.

IMG_8424Naked cupcakes (note where the toothpick went in to see if it’s done)

The finished icing (and the damage it created, careful with that icing sugar kids…)

You’ll want a piping bag and star type tip for the icing style below, although use any tip you think is fabulous.

IMG_8433For a rose effect, start in the middle of the cupcake and continue in a circle.  Make sure there are no gaps!

IMG_8434IMG_8435IMG_8437IMG_8439Once you reach the end, stop adding pressure to the bag and line up the icing as best you can so there isn’t an abrupt stop.  Use your finger to gently “blend” to the previous line if you like.

To create an effect like the beginning photo, start icing on the outside of the cupcake and follow the reverse steps above, continuing in smaller circles until you’re at the top of your icing mountain.  Your first attempt will be a bit of a mess, but practice makes perfect!


Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1 cup Guinness
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Icing Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups SOFT butter
  • 3-4 cups icing sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp Bailey’s
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


  1. Bring butter and Guinness to a simmer over medium heat, then remove from heat and whisk in cocoa until no lumps are left.  Allow to cool slightly.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix eggs, sour cream and vanilla until combined.  Then, mix in Guinness mixture until smooth.
  4. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients with a spatula until smooth and little to no lumps remain.
  5. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes, allow to cool on a rack before icing.
  6. While cupcakes are cooling, mix butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, and add icing sugar one cup at a time, mixing each addition in completely.  After adding the third cup of sugar, add 3 tbsp of Bailey’s and the vanilla.  Mix completely.
  7. Start to add the final cup of icing sugar slowly until icing reaches your desired texture and sweetness.  Continue to add final tablespoon of Bailey’s to your preference.

Cake recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

IMG_8454As an FYI, Williams Sonoma has an awesome Star Wars cupcake decorating pack.



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