Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Can you guys believe St Patrick’s Day is less than a week away? Geez, it’s almost mid-March, how did that happen? March is one of my favorite months of the year. We finally get to say goodbye to winter, we turn the clocks ahead so the days start getting longer (thank god!), and, as if that weren’t enough, Shane and I celebrate our anniversary at the end of the month. Yay!

Anyway, back to St Patrick’s Day. We don’t really do much to celebrate it these days. I’ll buy some Guinness and either cook or bake with it, leaving the extra bottles for Shane to drink, and maybe we’ll do the traditional corned beef and cabbage for dinner one night, but that’s about the extent of it. The days of staying up late and partying are mostly over for us 🙂

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

While I really don’t drink much at all these days, I still love a good boozy dessert and it seemed especially fitting to share this one in time for St Patrick’s Day. These cupcakes are a take on the classic Irish coffee drink, which I have to confess, I’ve never actually had. I don’t drink coffee – never have and probably never will – but I have a weakness for coffee-flavored treats. Coffee ice cream was my favorite for the longest time! Sort of weird, I know…

These cupcakes are probably one of the more intensely coffee-flavored treats I’ve made thanks to the inclusion of quite a bit of instant espresso powder. You definitely won’t be left searching for the coffee flavor! On top of the cupcakes is a fluffy whipped cream spiked with whiskey. It’s not overpowering, but it’s present – if you don’t like whiskey you probably won’t be a fan. You could certainly leave it out and these would still be great, but you probably couldn’t call them Irish coffee cupcakes 🙂 Amidst a sea of popular green desserts, these cupcakes are a really fun and unexpected change of pace for St Patrick’s Day!

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Irish Coffee Cupcakes
from Martha Stewart via Cook Like a Champion

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
4 1/2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons whiskey
instant espresso powder, to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a small measuring cup, add the espresso powder to the boiling water and whisk until combined. Cool to room temperature (I stuck mine in the fridge for a few minutes to speed this up), then whisk in the milk.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients in three additions and the espresso mixture in two additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

Divide the batter among the liners, filling each about 2/3-full. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes before removing them to the racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting: Add the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar to a medium bowl, and beat with a hand mixer until medium peaks form. Add the whiskey, then continue beating until the mixture just barely holds stiff peaks (be careful not to go too far). Transfer the whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. Pipe frosting onto each of the cooled cupcakes then dust additional espresso powder over the top to garnish.

{Note: I assembled these one day before serving and just stored in the fridge overnight. The whipped cream held up just fine. Bring to room temperature before serving.}

Makes about 15 cupcakes

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