Tag Archives: chocolate: dark

The Luck of the Irish

19 Oct

Look, here’s a not-so-secret confession: I love Baileys. Oh my goodness, I can’t tell you how much I adore it. I could quite happily spend the majority of the summer sprawled on the lawn in my back garden next to my non-existent swimming pool, guzzling Baileys on ice by the litre. Unfortunately, neither my bank account nor my liver are quite as keen on this idea as I am, so drinking it tends to be a massive and rare treat.

Now, we all know that I don’t really need an excuse to bake cupcakes. I do, however, need an excuse to buy Baileys. So when my friends Steven (who, by the way, loves Baileys as much as I do), Lauren and I organised a catch up afternoon, I came up with a brilliant plan.

Baileys Cupcakes. Right? Right? Well, I was definitely excited.

I spent the next two days cruising around the internet, searching for recipes featuring Baileys in cupcake form. There were loads which looked great, but just…not what I had in mind. So I decided to mess around and make my own recipe.

I basically took my go-to cupcake chocolate brownie recipe from my cupcake bible, The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook and played around with it a bit. Then I took my usual buttercream frosting recipe (also from that glorious book) and pretty much just added Baileys to it. The results were basically amazing: dark, rich, gooey chocolatey brownies with a hint of Irish Cream, topped with sweet, creamy Baileys buttercream. YUM!


225g butter, softened

400g dark cooking chocolate, chopped (I used 70%)

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed

1 cup white sugar

7 eggs, whisked (mine were around 50g each – use 6 eggs if yours are closer to 70g each)

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted

3 tablespoons cocoa, sifted

100mL Baileys Irish Cream

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

3/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius (340 fahrenheit/half way between gas mark 3 & gas mark 4) and line two 12-hole muffin trays with cupcake papers.

2. Place the butter and cooking chocolate into a metal bowl and sit over a saucepan of simmering water. Taking care not to allow the water to touch the bottom of the bowl or get into the mixture, stir until the chocolate and butter have melted together and are glossy and well combined. Remove the bowl from the heat and allow the contents to cool to room temperature.

3. Once the chocolate mixture is cooled, add the brown and white sugar and stir until well combined, then add in the whisked eggs, the vanilla extract and the Baileys and mix gently.

4. Add the flour, salt, cocoa and chocolate chips and fold into the chocolate mixture, making sure that there are no pockets of unincorporated flour.

5. Divide the mixture evenly between the 24 cupcake papers and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until the top of the cupcakes have a dull sheen and feel firm to the touch.


200g softened butter (use salted – it helps to stop the frosting becoming too sickly sweet)

1/3 cup milk, at room temperature (or just microwaved for 15 sec)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

100mL Baileys Irish Cream

8 cups icing (powdered) sugar, sifted

1. Using an electric mixer (stand or hand held, whichever you prefer!), cream the butter for at least 2 minutes on medium-high speed.

2. Add the milk, Baileys, vanilla extract and half of the sifted icing sugar and beat for at least 3-4 minutes, allowing the mixture to become soft and fluffy.

3. Add the left over icing sugar and beat for a further 3 minutes until the mixture once more becomes fluffy, soft and is a spreadable consistency.

4. If the frosting is too stiff, add an extra splash of Baileys. If it’s too runny, add a little more icing sugar.

Now all that’s left to do is frost the cupcakes in whichever way you like (I like using big plastic pastry tips – around twice the size of the regular Wilton 1M star tip). Enjoy!


Buttercream & Birthdays

10 Oct

October is a pretty crazy month ’round these parts. It’s my husband’s birthday on the 11th, my birthday on the 13th, my mother-in-law’s birthday on the 15th and my sister’s birthday on the 24th…and that’s leaving out about a million aunts/uncles/cousins/grandparents/etc who are also born in October. Something in the water, eh?

So, as it’s my husband’s birthday tomorrow (!), I thought I’d kick off the celebrations with the first birthday cake of the month.

And so, without further ado: a fitting cake for my lovely, adorably geeky gamer husband:

Mario! Do ignore my slightly out of focus camera work. My photography skills are pretty much non-existent.

It’s Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Fudge Cake, and Mario is a buttercream transfer. It was the first time I’d ever attempted a transfer, and it really was ridiculously easy. Time consuming – it took me around an hour (plus two hours of freezing time) to do it, but that’s also due to me working at a ludicrously slow pace because I was so scared of  ruining it! – but simple. I made the transfer before I’d even made the cake so it could freeze while I baked.

Here’s Nigella’s recipe (very slightly adapted – though I do wish I could take credit for the entire thing!):


400g plain flour

250g caster (superfine) sugar

100g dark brown sugar

50g cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

140ml sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

175g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

125ml canola oil

300ml chilled water


175g dark chocolate

250g  butter, softened

275g icing (powdered) sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius (that’s Gas Mark 4 or 350 degrees fahrenheit for all you non-Australians!)

2. Grease and line two 20 centimetre round cake tins.

3. Put the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. In another smaller bowl, place the eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract and whisk together. Using an electric mixer (I like my big stand mixer, but hand-held would also work just as well), beat the melted butter and the canola oil until just combined, then beat in the water. Turn the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients all in one go. Then add the egg mixture, mix again (still on low speed) until everything is blended. Pour the mixture into your greased and lined tins.

4. Bake the cakes for 50-55 minutes (though this depends hugely on your oven; mine were done in 45 minutes), testing with a skewer to check that they’re done. When the cakes are ready, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool in their tins for 15 minutes before you turn them onto a wire cake rack and allow them to cool completely.

5. FOR THE ICING, melt the chocolate in a metal or Pyrex bowl sitting over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring constantly and making sure that the bowl is never touching the water. When melted, remove from the heat and leave the chocolate to cool for a couple of minutes.

6. Grab your electric mixer again (after giving it and its bowl a quick clean) and beat the softened butter until it becomes light in colour and has a creamy consistency. Add the sieved icing sugar  to the butter mixture beat it again until it gets light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the melted chocolate and beat on high for a minute or so, until the mixture is thick and glossy (it should be of a spreadable consistency).

7. Use about a quarter to one third of the fudge icing to sandwich the two cakes together, then use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cakes. Don’t bother trying to make the icing look perfect – this kind of frosting begs to be slapped on unevenly.

8. Transfer to a pretty cake stand, and voila! Done and dusted.

Now, the real question is whether I have enough self control to save it for tomorrow…