I love the combination of the ingredients in the unfortunately named alcoholic drink the Irish Car Bomb. It includes Guinness Stout, Jameson Irish Whiskey, and Baileys Irish Cream liqueur. It’s called Irish because of the Irish alcohols used in the drink, but the drink originated in America. The “car bomb” part of the name in part refers to the shot of Baileys with whiskey floated on top, being dropped or “bombed” into a glass of Guinness, but also to the history of car bombs that have plagued Ireland in years past.
Many find the name offensive, but that’s the point isn’t it? Alcoholic drinks are named outrageous things so that people remember them, for example: Agent Orange, Kamikaze, Redheaded Slut. Alcoholic drinks tend to be offensive. That’s just how it is. I’m not here to judge, I’m just here to bake! So let’s get to it!
I used Brown Eyed Baker’s “Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes” recipe to make these but changed a few things about the recipe to suit my own needs. First, I decided not to call what I made Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, mainly because I chose to use Carolans Irish Cream instead of Baileys and many would not consider it a true “Irish Car Bomb” without the holy trinity of Guinness, Jameson, and Baileys. For the purposes of this recipe, Carolans Irish Cream works just as well for the frosting, but if you want the more authentic taste of Baileys, I’d suggest using the exact recipe from Brown Eyed Baker.
The other thing I decided to try was splitting the batter into two, making one half as Brown Eyed Baker did, and the other with dairy substitutes for the heavy cream and sour cream. They aren’t completely vegan, but my boyfriend prefers less dairy in his diet, and I wanted him to be able to eat these too! Plus he helped me make these, so it was only fair to make something he could eat.
For the less dairy version of these cupcakes, I used almond milk in place of the heavy cream, and vegan sour cream instead of regular sour cream. The vegan sour cream didn’t quite taste like real sour cream, but since it was mixed into the batter, the taste didn’t matter much and it moistened the cake just like the regular sour cream did.
Amazingly, the alternative batter cooked up better than the regular batter. The less-dairy cake cooked faster and rose better than the regular cake. I had to cook the regular cupcakes longer than what the recipe suggested. Not sure what I did wrong with Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe. Also, the almond milk ganache thickened quicker than the heavy cream one (which is good). It was interesting how different the two batters worked out.
Taste wise, the cupcakes were about the same. You’d never miss the dairy products that I cut out of the alternative cupcakes. I could taste the Guinness in the cake as well as the whiskey in the ganache. I would have liked more of a whiskey flavor though. You might want to add a little more whiskey to the ganache if you like the flavor. The frosting was a little sweet for my tastes on its own, but the bittersweet ganache counteracts the sweet well when it’s eaten all together.
Speaking of the frosting, the recipe calls for 2 cups of butter! That’s a crazy amount. One reason my frosting might have been too sweet is because I chose to use less butter but only cut the powdered sugar buy one cup. Therefore, I might have used too much powdered sugar for the amount of butter. If you cut the butter down, make sure to proportionally cut the confectioner’s sugar too, or it could end up too sweet like mine (unless you like really sweet frosting).
These cupcakes are really rich and boozy: a perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Although the recipe says they only take one hour to make, I highly doubt anyone could finish these in an hour unless you are a quick professional baker. They took me several hours to prepare, mix, bake, and frost, and that was with help! Doing these on my own would have been difficult. I’d suggest making these with a friend, and then drink the extra alcohol while you’re waiting for them to cook. 😉 Keep in mind that these cupcakes do have a slight alcohol content, because the ganache and frosting do not have the alcohol cooked out of them. They are not for those under the legal drinking age.
Have a fun and safe St. Patrick’s Day and drink (and eat) responsibly!