My Auntie Allison has her birthday on New Year's Eve, so a few weeks before this she subtly informed me that she had a 'big' birthday coming up. She was 45. That's not a big birthday. She just wanted cake. I don't know why because she didn't even eat it but anyway... As it was the festive season, and one of her favourite tipples is Baileys, I made chocolate cupcakes with Baileys buttercream decorated simply with red lettering and fondant hearts and flowers.
For the chocolate cupcakes:
- 4oz margarine
- 4oz caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3oz self-raising flour
- 1oz cocoa powder
- a touch of baking powder (about 1/4 teaspoon)
- Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4/170° fan
- Line your baking tray with some pretty cupcake cases :)
- Cream the butter and sugar together until it's pale and creamy
- Beat the eggs together a little until they are just broken up
- Add the beaten eggs a little at a time to the sugar/margarine mixture
- If the mixture starts to curdle, add a small tablespoon of flour to the mixture to bring it back. But don't use it all!
- Fold in the rest of the flour and the baking powder in two batches to the mixture
- Divide into cupcake cases so they are about 1/2 - 2/3 full and bake for 18 - 22 minutes
Just a note on oven temperature: 170° fan is a little lower than gas mark 4 but if your fan oven is anything like mine, it will be enough! I used to always bake my cakes on gas mark 3 but recently it seems like it isn't hot enough. I need to invest in a thermometer...and to clean the oven!
For the Buttercream:
- 110g unsalted butter
- 500g icing sugar
- 60ml baileys
- Mix the butter with the icing sugar, making sure the butter is soft and that you add the icing sugar a bit at a time so it doesn't go everywhere!
- Slowly add the Baileys and mix into the mixture
- Beat the mixture until all the ingredients are incorporated and it's lovely and smooth
- Decorate away!
The best thing to do with this buttercream is just to add the Baileys a bit at a time because you might not need the full 60ml; it all depends on how you want the consistency. I didn't add enough, so, as you can see from the below picture, the icing was a bit stiff, which meant the finish on the rose swirls wasn't very neat.
I didn't worry about this too much as I knew the icing would be partially covered by the fondant I was putting over them, but for those that I was leaving as rose swirls, I added more Baileys to the buttercream to make them flow a bit better:
Chocolate and Baileys work so well together. The chocolatey sweetness and the creamy liqueur make such an indulgent cake - perfect for a birthday treat! The chocolate cupcake recipe is based on my fail-safe cupcake recipe, which is nice and simple and can be tweaked when you need a different flavour. The smell from baking them is a wonderful cocoa aroma and the finished cupcake is light, moist, and most importantly...chocolatey!
With these cupcakes, I have previously used and apple corer to remove the centre of the cupcake and filled it with a chocolate and whiskey ganache before icing. This wonderfully smooth filling gives off just enough whiskey to compliment the Baileys without being too overpowering.
I hope you like the recipe! Let me know if you give them a try :)