Treat your friends to cupcakes

Dozen Bake Shop may be right down the street, but why pay for cupcakes when you can bake an entire batch on your own? Consider making chocolate Bailey’s Irish Cream cupcakes — they are rich and indulgent, perfect for a study break. These chocolate cupcakes have a light, creamy frosting that’s flavored with Bailey’s Irish Cream, and a surprise center of dark chocolate and Bailey’s ganache. As they do include Bailey’s, they aren’t for people under 21; however, you can make the recipe without the Bailey’s for something that is still rich with chocolate and sinfully delicious.

The miniature chocolate chips in the cupcake recipe will melt into the cupcakes, making them even more rich and chocolate-filled. Although you might be wary about including coffee in a chocolate cupcake recipe, don’t worry — the coffee does nothing more than enhance the flavor of the chocolate. If you don’t have a coffee maker, or don’t want to grab a cup of coffee from Entropy+, feel free to just use water instead.

(Recipe adapted from annies-eats.com and pieceofcakeblog.blogspot.com.)

For the chocolate cupcakes:

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips (or regular chips, chopped fine)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. If you don’t have a sifter, you can improvise with a strainer. Add the eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat until smooth with an electric mixer, about three minutes. Fold in the mini chocolate chips with a spoon.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each cup no more than two-thirds full. Bake until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when touched, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

For the Bailey’s ganache:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Bailey’s Irish cream

To make the ganache filling, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour it over the chocolate. Let sit for one minute and then whisk until smooth. If the chocolate is not completely melted, put it in the microwave for 15-second increments. Add the butter and Bailey’s and stir until combined.

Set aside to let the ganache cool until it is thick enough to be piped. You can use the refrigerator to speed the cooling process, but be sure to stir every 10 minutes or so to ensure even cooling. Meanwhile, cut out a cone-shaped chunk from the center of each cupcake (feel free to eat these scraps as you work). Once the ganache has a consistency that is slightly thicker than icing, spoon it into the cut-out center of the cupcakes.

For the Bailey’s buttercream frosting:

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3–4 cups confectioners’ sugar
4–8 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish cream

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about two to three minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated. Mix in the Bailey’s until smooth. Add more if necessary until the frosting has reached a good consistency for spreading. Frost the cupcakes as desired.

Anna Walsh | Pillbox Editor