St. Patrick’s Day Sugar Smorgasbord 1


*Bunneh Test Kitchen; not for sale*

Over the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, I went a little crazy. My family (and by this I mean ancestry, not my immediate family) is from Scotland originally, but later emigrated to Ireland. As someone of Scot-Irish descent, I felt it my duty to provide St. P’s treats for my office… and of course, any excuse to bake!

Since somehow the traditional way to celebrate here in the US involves booze – let’s face it, that’s how we celebrate everything – I began my search for a boozy cupcake recipe. I found a great one for Irish Car Bomb cupcakes. Perfect!

Except I’m not much of a drinker, so I had exactly none of the alcoholic ingredients needed. I don’t even want to talk about how much I had to spend to get everything I needed… beer, whiskey, Bailey’s, unsalted butter (short shelf life, so I don’t tend to stock it), Dutch-process (aka dark chocolate) cocoa powder, heavy cream… yeesh.

Then, I wanted to make cupcakes that didn’t involve alcohol, since I know I’m not the only person at work who’s not really into the flavor of whiskey or Bailey’s. Plus, I wanted to do something fun: pots of gold! I got this idea from somewhere on the internet, though I’m not sure where now. It was a photo I saw while clicking around looking for good St. Patrick’s ideas. Probably on Pinterest, because that site still baffles me and I get lost and turned around trying to figure out what’s going on, but I can see lots of pretty pictures.

I also – because I like to overwhelm myself – wanted to use my new candy mold to make shamrock candy pops. Those, at least, I could do early because they don’t go stale. Here was part of my setup for this whole undertaking:

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I did the candy pops first, since those could hang out in the fridge for a couple of days with no side effects.

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Saturday night I stayed up waayyyy too late making both sets of frosting. I dyed the frosting (and, in the process, my thumb) green for the car bombs. For the others, I separated a standard buttercream into 5 bowls and dyed each a different color for the rainbow.

On Sunday, I got up and began work on the first batch: the pots o’ gold.

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I used a chocolate cake recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook and added a bit of black food coloring to darken it up. Once cooled, I used a cupcake corer given to me by a friend for Christmas and made little caves in each one. Yellow Reese’s Pieces were dropped in as the “gold.”

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After popping their tops back on, I frosted them so the pots would be under rainbows, as everyone knows leprechaun pots o’ gold and rainbows go hand-in-hand! Doing the rainbow frosting was a messy experiment. I read a couple of baking bloggers’ ideas, but of course how they did it was tidy and perfect, whereas when I tackled the process, it was… well, less than perfect, and nowhere near tidy.

“Just stripe all your colors in a pastry bag and go!” I began striping, and after just 3 colors, I was out of space in my pastry bag. Just putting those 3 in had resulted in a lot of frosting ending up on my hands and my counter. I wish I could’ve taken pictures of this process, but I didn’t want frosting on my camera, too! I had 5 colors, so I put the last two side-by-side in a second pastry bag, then prepped a third (clean!) bag with a coupler. I dropped the two full bags into the third, put on a fairly wide tip, and squeezed.

As a result, I did get the rainbow swirl I wanted; however, many of them are heavy on one color or another over the rest, due to uneven “striping” or squeezing. Oh well… can’t be perfect! I’d been worried the colors would try to blend, but luckily that wasn’t the case.

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Next up: the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes. Ganache isn’t necessarily difficult to make, but chopping chocolate is definitely not my favorite thing to do. Cakes done and cooled, cored with a large decorating tip, and filled with the chocolate-whiskey ganache…

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And finally, decorated with the green-dyed Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting. While I was making the shamrock pops, I also grabbed a squeeze bottle and some wax paper, and made little shamrocks to top the cupcakes. I patterned them after one of my own tattoos!

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In the end, I think the Guinness Stout chocolate cake recipe is going to be my new go-to for chocolate cupcakes. It’s so much tastier and more moist than the one I’ve been using. If you’ve been on the hunt for a new chocolate cake recipe to try, I definitely recommend it.

Here are all the goodies, laid out on the break table at work! I’m going to put all my co-workers on diets at this rate…

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