For the Stout Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line around 24 cupcake cups with liners - I actually ended up using 23. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Allow it to cool a bit
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add the stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Here is where it is important to have let the beer/chocolate cool, if you don't you will end up with chocolate beer scrambled eggs. Add the flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
5 -6 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)
Chop the chocolate and put it in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined. The original recipe calls for 1 -2 tablespoons of whiskey, but I just kept adding and tasting until it was strong enough for me, I do like it strong, but I also wanted it to stand out against the cupcake.
Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top. Or if you aren't feeling fancy, just put out little holes with a paring knife and spoon in the filling, like I did.
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 -6 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)
Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. Add the baileys a table spoon at a time until it is as strong as you like it, you may need to add more powdered sugar if it gets to thin.