Monthly Archives: March 2013

St. Patrick’s Day Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Since St. Patty’s Day is just around the corner I thought I’d bring back an oldie but a goodie. This cupcake has become quite the hit over the past year! Not just for St. Patrick’s Day, but for weddings, birthdays and tuesday afternoons. I will never tire of this wonderfully delicious recipe. Impress your friends this year with this heavenly irish treat. Last year I used a chocolate box cake, but since I’ve removed processed foods from my home, I’ve got a home made recipe for you this year! You can always use the box cake if you want. Enjoy!

Cake Decorating Supplies

If you’re using the cake mix here are some things I did to make it taste better. The cake mix called for 1 1/4 cups of water, plus oil and eggs. I swapped the water for the same amount of cold coffee. This isn’t all that noticeable in the final cupcake but it adds a richness to what can sometimes be a flat flavour in box cakes. I also swapped the oil for melted butter.

I added 1/2 a cup of mini chocolate chips which made the cake more chocolatey and who doesn’t like that? (You’re a ding-dong if you’re thinking either 1- “chocolatey isn’t a word” or 2- “I don’t like when cupcakes are more chocolatey”)

If you don’t want to use the Box Cake here’s my home-made recipe. This is a dense cake, a slightly bittersweet cake. It has a very “Irish” flavor. If you don’t care for that taste you could certainly substitute the Guinness for the same amount of milk, cream, or coffee.

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Yields 24 Cupcakes.


¾ cup unsweetened cocoa

2 cups sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

1 t baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 cup of room temperature Guinness Beer (Or coffee if you don’t want the beer)

1 stick of butter; melted

1 T vanilla extract

3 large eggs

¾ cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 and line two cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl or mixer, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine the room temperature Guinness, butter and vanilla extract, then beat in the eggs one at a time. If the Guinness is cold it will cause the melted butter to set up and your batter will be gritty. Mix in the sour cream until well incorporated. Beat in the dry ingredients a little at a time until well mixed. Be sure to scrape the bowl.

Using a ladle or a half cup measuring cup, fill the cupcake cups ¾ full. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the cupcakes are nicely risen, rounded, and a toothpick in one of the center cupcakes comes out clean. Set aside to cool before filling and frosting.

Affordable Online Cake Decorating Courses for 80% LessThese cupcakes are filled with an amazing chocolate ganache that is ridiculously easy. Seriously, if you’re all “I can’t make that,” I would genuinely ridicule you.

All you have to do is pour 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (the very same that we’ve already added to our cupcakes) into a pyrex measuring cup. Gently simmer 2/3 cup heavy cream + 2 teaspoons of Bailey’s Irish cream on the stove or in the microwave. Don’t boil it or you will make the cream lumpy.

Now about the Bailey’s… you simply MUST use Bailey’s brand. I was once cheap and bought an off brand and I sorely regretted it. Bailey’s is the only Irish Cream that tastes good. Moral of the story: Don’t be cheap. P.S. Try drinking Bailey’s from a shoe… I hear its amazing.

Once your cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate and add 2 tbsp of butter. Stir for a few minutes until its all melted and mixed in, then let it cool until it thickens enough to pipe into your cupcakes. You don’t want it to be too liquidy or too hot. (I cheated and popped it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool it down and get it to a nice consistency.)

Here’s a simple trick for filling your piping bag. Fold the bag over a glass, and just pour your ganache right in.

The glass is also a nice place to rest your piping bag so all your ganache stays toward the tip.

Cut out little holes in your cupcakes using a long piping tip as a punch. If you blow gently through the other side the cake will pop out of the tip. Trust me, you’ll get annoyed trying to get that cake out of there afterward. These get thrown away anyway (or if you have an Adam, they will get eaten up!)

Now pump your cupcakes full of ganache!

Become an Expert Cake Decorator at HomeFor the buttercream I followed the Sprinkles recipe (which is my go-to buttercream recipe) but I doctored it up a little bit. I doubled it for 24 cupcakes and instead of milk I dissolved one individual sized packet of Nescafé instant coffee into 2 teaspoons of Bailey’s Irish Cream + 2 teaspoons of vanilla (okay maybe I was a little heavy handed on the Bailey’s ;)) and whipped it into my frosting. This not only gave my frosting the delicious irish coffee kick I was going for, but it also ended up being the exact shade of creamy beige I wanted. Feel free to up the instant coffee amount if you want a stronger coffee flavour. It would taste great with more coffee, but I didn’t want to make it too strong for my guests. I would have used Starbucks Via, but its really PRICEY! It is tasty, but not for $10+ for 12 packets. I remember having Nescafé in Paris and being surprised at how delicious it was (imagine going all the way to france to find a good cup of instant coffee!), plus its only $1.50 for a box of 8.

I learned this nifty trick on pinterest for filling a piping bag with buttercream.

I’ve been wanting to try it, and it actually really works!

Start by blopping some frosting on a sheet of plastic wrap.

Then roll the plastic wrap around the frosting and twist up the ends.

Slide the whole thing into your piping bag and feed through the tip (with the coupler on but without the piping tip yet).

Then just snip off the excess plastic tie up the bottom and you’re good to go.

When you’re done you can just pull out the empty plastic wrap and toss it. So easy!

DISCLAIMER: Like many things on the internet, this looked extremely easy but I somehow found a way to muck it up the first time. Fear not.

If you’ve tried this and failed…

<– This fatty is an example of how NOT to do it.

I found out that you can’t use too much frosting or it won’t fit into your bag properly. I also learned that when you roll it up be sure to do this lengthwise. You’ll need a nice long piece of twisted plastic wrap to feed through the coupler. This may have been obvious to you, but it was not to me, and when I started squeezing buttercream was shooting out of both ends.

Now for the piping. This part really was just as easy as it looks. I used a Wilton Star tip. I didn’t bother to consider which number it was, so I’m sorry to say I don’t know which one you should use. Maybe just use your heart, or common sense. Its the one that looks like it would be about the size of the one I used in this picture.

Start in the center of the cupcake, and pipe right over your ganache. Starting from the inside make a neat little swirl. Make the center swirl about an inch and a half in diameter.

Then continue making 1 inch swirls all around starting from the center of where you want it to land and working your way out. You should end up with about 7 swirls on a normal sized cupcake.

Double bonus, I got to use my sweet new Dollar Store cupcake stand 🙂


Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

I’ve had enough of this cold weather! Now to all my readers from colder climates, bear with me. I know I live in Florida, but it does get really chilly here! And because it will go from 80 degrees one day to 40 degrees the next, everyone around here is constantly sick this time of year. Plus, there’s something about 40 degrees in Tampa that is so different from 40 degrees in Illinois. The humidity here pierces right through your bones and its just awful. I am SO ready for spring.

But since we still have a few more weeks of winter here, and since hubby and I have had the sniffles, I decided to make a hearty homemade Chicken Noodle Soup for dinner. Since we’ve gone BPA free its really hard to eat canned soup, but homemade is always 10,000 times better! I can’t wait till I can figure out how to can my own soup. Stay tuned in the coming months. My mother in law is bringing me a pressure canner and it will be SO on!

Now, because I like you so much, and I’m such a nice person, and I’m on a chicken noodle high… I’m giving you my TOP SECRET ingredient. This is the je n’sais quoi, the piece de resistance, the ingredient of all ingredients, that transforms your soup into something wonderful! It is…. Celery Salt! I’m not sure exactly why, but it gives the soup a wholeness that is particularly satisfying.

So here’s my soul warming, body warming, chase away the sniffles, make you feel happy, comfort food of all comfort foods, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup recipe.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2-3 Boneless Skinless Chicken breasts (about 2 cups cut into 1/2 cubes)
  • 3-4 Carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 2 cartons of organic chicken stock (do not use canned, use the cartons that have the Tetra-pak label on the bottom. If you have homemade stock even better!)
  • 2 Cups of noodles (Use any noodle you like. I used whole wheat rotini. You could use macaroni, fusilli, egg noodles, or even broken up spaghetti noodles)
  • 1 T Tarragon
  • 1 T Parsley
  • 2 t Celery Salt
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of flour (optional)
  • 1 cup of cream (optional)

Here’s what you do:

In a large pot saute’ the vegetables in the olive oil, butter, and some salt & pepper, until they are slightly tender. Add the chicken (and a little more salt & pepper) after about 7 minutes. Cook until the chicken is completely cooked through. Allow everything to very slightly brown. Add the herbs and celery salt and pour the stock over everything. Stir well. Add 2 cartons full of plain water as well. Simmer the soup on medium/low heat for about 20 minutes to allow all the flavors to marry. For a slightly thicker soup add a slurry of 1/4 cup flour mixed thoroughly with equal parts cold water. Quickly stir in the slurry. If you pour it in too slowly it might form a dumpling (which could be nice! lol, I figured this out by accident.) When you are almost ready to eat, add the noodles and cook for about 12 minutes or until desired tenderness. If you like, lower the heat to a slow simmer and add 1 cup of cream, then simmer for another 5-6 minutes. Do not boil it once you add the cream. This just adds a little bit of extra creaminess to the soup that is very nice. You can skip this if you don’t want the extra calories. Serve with lots of pepper, and maybe some homemade biscuits! Yum.


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