Beannachtaí Na Féile Pádraig or Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!
For those of you who've been living completely behind the times for the last centuries and don't know what March 17th is all about: We are celebrating St. Patrick's Day. The day of the Irish patron saint St. Patrick who brought christianity to Ireland a bit more than one and a half millennium ago. It is said that he banished all the snakes from Ireland (thanks, Paddy, I appreciate that!) and explained the concept of the Holy trinity to the Irish by means of a shamrock which has developed into an ubiquitous feature of St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
So this is how I culinarily celebrated St. Patrick's Day this year: Chocolate Guinness cupcakes with Guinness buttercream frosting and appropriate marzipan decorations. Aren't they just gorgeous?
They're very mellow and chocolate-y, and the buttercream is heavenly sweet with just a hint of Guinness. Yumyumyum!
Even though I don't have any Irish roots, I love celebrating St. Patrick's Day. It gives me a wonderful excuse to go crazy with baking and decorating, drinking Guinness, wearing green, blasting Irish folk music from the stereo, and skipping and hopping through the flat. I was an Irish dancer for most of my teenager years but stopped training when I went to university. I'm completely out of practice at the moment but still love doing a reel or jig along an empty corridor when nobody's looking.
Chocolate Guinness cupcakes
(Recipe adapted from The Yum Yum Factor)
Makes for 15-18 cupcakes (just a guess. I only had 12 tins and had some batter left over in the end)
115 g/0.5 cup of butter
250 ml/1 cup of Guinness (some other stout (or, in absolute emergencies(!), some dark lager) will do, too)
340 g/1.5 cups of sugar
75 g/0.75 cup cocoa
225 g/1 cup sour cream
2 large or 3 small eggs
1 tsp vanilla
210 g/2 cups of all purpose unbleached flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
A pinch of salt
115 g/0.5 cup softened butter
375 g/3 cups icing sugar
65 ml/0.25 cup Guinness
Preheat the oven 210° C/410° F and grease some cupcake tins or line them with paper liners. I only had 12 tins, so I had some batter left over in the end which I made into small cake.
Heat the Guinness and the butter in a saucepan until the butter has melted. Stir every once in a while. Pour into a large mixing bowl and whisk in the sugar and the cocoa. When well-combined, add the sour cream, the eggs, and the vanilla. Combine the flour, soda, and salt, then slowly whisk it into the Guinness chocolate mixture. Continue whisking until smooth.
Evenly divide the batter among the cupcake tins, then put them into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.
When the cupcakes are done, let them cool for a few minutes, then remove from the tins, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile, whisk the Guinness, the icing sugar, and the butter until nice and completely smooth (5-10 minutes). If you don't want to do any extra decorations, you could even colour the buttercream with some green food colouring.
When the cupcakes are cool, frost them with the buttercream and decorate with marzipan shamrocks or rainbows or sprinkles or whatever you like. I made the marzipan decorations myself, just so we're clear on that.