Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

These didn’t start out as St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes. They started out as “make these for a friend who is freakishly obsessed with car bombs”-cupcakes. But since her visit in town coincided with the week before St. Patrick’s Day, I decided they’d be perfect to pull some double-duty.

I•rish Car Bomb
n. (pl. -bombs)
A beer cocktail similar to a boilermaker made with Irish stout, Irish Cream, and Irish whiskey. A shot glass with a mix of Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jameson Irish whiskey is dropped into a three-quarters full pint of Guinness before drinking.

So what’s Irish about these beauties? Well, the cake is baked with Guinness Stout beer, there’s Jameson Irish Whiskey in the chocolate ganache center and the frosting is flavored with (a lot) of Bailey’s Irish Cream. Oh, and that’s John F. Kennedy’s profile on the chocolate coins. Did I plan that? No. They just happened to be the only chocolate coins I could find in the Metro Atlanta area, so it was a happy little coincidence.

You could make yours without half-dollar chocolate coins—or without any of the liquor if you need to. They’re just as tasty when you substitute some ingredients out for the Jameson and Bailey’s (but leave the Guinness in—it mostly bakes out anyways).

Either way, they’re festive, funny and really, really rich. And not just ’cause of the gold coins. These things are heavy. Everyone at the party will only need one.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes
Yields 24
For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. 1 cup Guinness (or another stout beer)
  2. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  3. ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 2 cups all purpose flour
  5. 2 cups sugar
  6. 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  7. ¾ teaspoon salt
  8. 2 large eggs
  9. ⅔ cup sour cream
For the Jameson Ganache Filling
  1. 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  2. ⅔ cup heavy cream
  3. 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  4. 2 teaspoons Jameson Irish whiskey (If you'd like to skip this, just leave it out)
For the Bailey's Irish Buttercream
  1. 6 cups confections sugar
  2. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
  3. 6 to 8 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur (You can substitute the same amount of milk or heavy cream here)
Make the cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners.
  2. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Take it off the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Mine looked kind of congealed here, but since I'm stubbornpersistent, I hammered on. The final product came out great.
  3. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in another large bowl to blend.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream in yet another large bowl to blend (You might also want to bribe somebody to do the dishes for you with the promise of cupcakes). Then, add the cooled stout-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Finally, add the flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Finish it off by using a rubber spatula to fold the batter until it's completely combined.
  5. Divide the batter among your cupcake liners, filling them roughly three-quarters of the way.
  6. Bake the cake at 350°F until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.
Make (and pipe!) the filling
  1. Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl.
  2. Heat the cream in a saucepan until simmering and then pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this hasn't sufficiently melted your chocolate, you can melt it in a double boiler or with around 20 seconds in the microwave.)
  3. Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.
  4. Let the ganache cool on the counter until it's thick but still soft enough to be piped.
  5. Meanwhile, using a 1-inch round cookie cutter or a cupcake corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes.
  6. Put the cooled ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.
Make the frosting
  1. Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar. The slower, the better. But if you're impatient like me, try to slow it down to at least 1 cup at a time.
  2. Once the frosting looks thick (mine resembled Play-doh more than frosting), drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.
  3. Ice and decorate the cupcakes. I used a Wilton 1M star tip here, then topped 'em with gold sugar and a chocolate coin.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Taryn Williford
Irish car Bomb Cupcakes


  • Shelly

    August 17, 2011 9:46 pm

    Yum! Can’t wait to try and make these. 🙂

  • Eliz

    August 19, 2011 1:29 pm

    So I have never made cupcakes in my life (can we still be friends?). I’ve always been more of a cookie/brownie/pie baker. Recently I made my first batch of muffins (blueberry by Martha) and they were delicious. So I have been seriously rethinking the lack of small round cakey baked goods in my repertoire, and I think these have inspired me to try out cupcakes!

      • Eliz

        August 29, 2011 6:01 pm

        I just made a batch, soooo good! Though certainly not as pretty as yours. I must invest in a piping bag.

  • August 23, 2011 5:53 am

    Just a little bit craving right now…! These look GORGEOUS! Death by muffin in the most lovely way 🙂 great recipe

  • Camille

    December 10, 2011 7:12 pm

    My store only had extra stout beer in single serve (I don’t drink beer so I didn’t want to buy an entire 6-pack). Will that change the flavor of the cake?

    • Jenn

      August 28, 2012 4:35 pm

      I could only find the extra stout too. Did they still come out ok?/

  • Robyn

    January 20, 2012 10:12 am

    I made these and they are nothing short of WONDERFUL!! I will most definitely do them again.

  • Carrie

    March 5, 2012 12:40 pm

    Can you make it with a box of cake mix?

    • Anonymous

      February 24, 2015 11:41 pm

      Why not? Maybe devils food cake mix…add the Beer instead of liquid Yum

  • Chavi

    March 9, 2012 8:03 pm

    Carrie: I’ve made all kinds of cakes and cupcakes using a mix, I would just sub the liquid that the mix calls for with the beer. Making these right now! YUM!!

  • LeeAnn

    March 14, 2012 7:42 pm

    I’ve been searching for a unique St. Patty’s cupcake, these are perfect! Can’t wait to try them! Thanks for posting them!

  • March 16, 2021 12:43 pm

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