As many of you know, I made Car Bomb Cupcakes to take to a St. Patrick’s Day party this past weekend. (Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.) Isn’t that the most delicious thing you’ve seen in ages? I thought so.
These were so much fun to make. I’m not going to lie, a lot of work goes into these cupcakes. But I love to cook and bake, and I especially love to feed people. So to me, making something like this is an expression of my affection for the folks who then get to eat them. Since I work in a job that requires the occasional weekend shift, I had a comp day I needed to take this month. I decided to take it the day before I needed to have these ready, so I spent Friday making the cupcakes and filling them (I also baked a loaf of bread and 16 scones), and then made & frosted them on Saturday. But as the recipe notes, you can easily make these farther ahead and pop them in the fridge or freezer.
One thing that is really indispensable in making these is a pastry bag. Not just so you can make all kinds of pretty designs on top (I really dig the abstract rosettes I made) — but so you can get the ganache in there. I don’t have one, and the last time I tried the plastic bag tip (fill sandwich bag, snip off one corner, go) it didn’t work out very well for me. I was thinking I would be able to spoon the ganache in, and maybe you can do that if you do it before it thickens too much. But it’s really so much more satisfying (and faster, and neater, at least for your counters) to pipe it in. (Good thing I work with a foodie who has all this kind of stuff.)
There are a couple of things I would do differently next year. I left out the whiskey in the ganache, because I didn’t want to buy any more booze, and I don’t drink whiskey so it would have just sat around. (It didn’t occur to me until I was already home and making the ganache that I could have just bought a nip. Dummy.) I also made the ganache with semi-sweet chocolate rather than bittersweet chocolate, and I think next time around I will not make that substitution — using bittersweet chocolate will cut down on the sweetness a bit, which I think will be a good thing. I’ll also know that I can make less frosting – I have about a cup or a cup and a half left over (I should note here that I multiplied the recipe by 1.5 to make 3 dozen of these — I easily could have gotten away with a non-increased batch of frosting).
Another idea I am toying with for next year is making these as mini-cupcakes, which would be smart if they are not the major dessert (I have heard rumors of Danielle’s traditional orange Guinness cake, but she was at ACRL this year). They would be even more finnicky to fill, but honestly I think these would be equally delicious (just less rich) without the ganache.