Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes by Sugar & Snapshots

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes Recipe

The name of these cupcakes alone makes me want to take a shot. But it’s ok, it’s 4pm here. If you are not familiar with this shot that inspired this amazing confection let me give you a brief rundown. You get a small tumbler filled with Guinness (I am a HUGE fan of Guinness). Then you layer a shot glass with Jameson Whiskey, and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Just before you’re going to drink you drop the shot into the beer and quickly drink before the Bailey’s curdles in the beer. Now, this might not sound delicious, but trust me it’s soooo delicious. I have made these several times for St. Patrick’s Day and summer barbecues and they are always a wild hit.

Now that you know a little about the shot where the idea for this cupcake came from, let me tell you that this is the best cupcake I have ever had. I have many friends who are all fans of either the shot or Guinness so sharing these with them made for some of the best complements I have ever gotten about my food. That, and the high number of requests for these as birthday cupcakes leaves me to believe they are just made of win.

I made just a few changes from the original recipe I based these on mostly because I feel that filling the cupcakes took away from the flavor and texture of the cake and my experience with filled cupcakes is that people tend to eat around the filling or leave most of it still on the plate. I went with making it into a ganache that went over the caps of the cupcakes which not only add a different dimension to the flavor but help seal in the moisture keeping the cake from drying out – not that these ever last more then a day or so. Then you get this light spongy cake with this hint of malt and coffee, then this rich decadent ganache with a tinge of whiskey, and to round out the flavor the most amazing tasting buttercream frosting you’ve had in your life. I seriously had to stop myself from just eating the frosting while piping. It’s sweet, creamy, light, fluffy, rich, and has that amazing Irish Cream flavor that finishes out the cupcake to perfection. Enough about how just simply amazing these are. I will let you judge for yourself, but just know that these are NOT for children, as the cake is the only part in this that has the alcohol cooked out. However, you could just do the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with a chocolate buttercream and it would be great.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes Recipe
Makes about 30 cupcakes
Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1 cup stout beer (Guinness)
  • 16 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 oz (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate
  • 2½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (8oz) sour cream
Jameson Ganache Topping
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa), finely chopped
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp butter at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp Jameson Irish Whiskey
Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting
  • 4 egg whites
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup vanilla sugar
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 100 ml Bailey’s Irish cream
Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Add the beer, chopped unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and set to the side and allow to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornflour, sugar, baking soda and salt, whisk until combined.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and sour cream till creamy. Slowly add the stout-butter mixture to the egg mixture, and mix just to combine.
  5. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until completely incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them about ⅔ to ¾ full.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Jameson Ganache Topping
  1. Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl. In a sauce pan or microwaveable cup bring the cream to boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and butter. Leave untouched for 2 minutes. Stir until thick and glossy. Add in the whiskey and stir to incorporate. Refrigerate for 5 min, and stir. Repeat this until the ganache is cool but not solid. It should resemble a thick chocolate sauce.
  2. My tip for making sure the ganache doesn’t run down the sides of your cupcakes, is to place the cupcakes in the freezer for 10 min or leave in refrigerater for 30 min. They should be cool to the touch before adding ganache. The cooled cake will solidify the ganache quickly preventing it from dripping down the sides.
  3. Bring the bowl over to the cooled cupcakes. Grab the cupcake by the base and dip the top up the wrapper line in the bowl of ganache. Hold over the bowl to allow excess to drip off. A twist of the wrist as bringing back to upright position, while over the bowl will help reduce mess. Let the cupcakes cool for 1h or till the ganache is not tacky but firm to the touch. If in a hurry you can refrigerate to cool.
Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting
  1. In a medium metal bowl add the egg whites and whisk with a pinch of salt to break up. Add the sugar to the egg whites and whisk until incorporated. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water. Continue to whisk until the sugar has melted into the egg whites. When you rub it between your fingers it should feel smooth not gritty. FYI: Sugar melts completely into the egg whites at around 185-190°F and in accordance to the USDA and FDA eggs should be cooked to 145-155°F to be safe. You do not need a candy thermometer to make this frosting which some sites suggest. Due the melting point of sugar into your eggs whites they are heated to a temperature high enough to be safe. Just make sure that when you rub it between your fingers it feels completely smooth, no grittiness left at all from the sugar.
  2. Once it is smooth transfer to the bowl of a mixer and whisk on med high for 7-10 minutes until has almost tripled in volume and the bowl is cool to the touch. It should resemble marshmallow fluff in texture and have very stiff peaks.
  3. When your egg whites are at this stage slowly add in butter. You will notice it does appear to look curdled after you have added in all butter but keep mixing it will come together I promise. Taste and add powered sugar to desired sweetness. I typically add ½ cup.
  4. Now it’s time to add the Bailey’s. I use 100ml which is a whole bottle out of of the Bailey’s Mini pack. Be careful not to over mix. Just mix until the Bailey’s is just combined. Taste it and add more sugar if needed and mix for 30 seconds more.
  5. Place into piping bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. I typically use a Wilton 1M tip. Enjoy!

75 comments leave a comment →

  1. Great recipe and I love the Guinness in the back. Hmm, my wife just said no more cupcakes after icing her first and only batch recentlty. But I think she might reconsider on this front if I give her my puppy dog eyes. (She’s the baker, I’m the cook in the family, not that I can’t bake! I may have to take matters into my own hands!)

    • If my sister in law can make three anyone can! They are super easy. Also, if you bake as cake they freeze really well! I kept two 8″ single layers one frosted and one not in the freezer and used the frosted one at 3 weeks another at 5 weeks and they tasted just as good as the day they were baked.

      Also the frosting freezes well for upto a month. Just bring to room temp and whip to smooth out, I do this a lot since I make small cake/cupcake batches but frosting doesn’t scale down as well.

  2. these sound delicious! but is there anything you could substitute for the Bailey’s for those of us who are under 21 ;)

    • The Guinness(alcohol in the beer) bakes out of the cake so it is suitable for those under 21. You can omit the whiskey from the ganache, and the baileys from the frosting, and you have my basic ganache and frosting recipe. Which are delicious, and I have done the under 21 version which still tastes amazing.

      I use this as my go to chocolate cake, so I don’t have one that doesn’t include beer at this time. Devils food would be a great substitute if you could not get a hold of Guinness.

  3. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that.

  4. I absolutely love this recipe. This would be something perfect to take to a BBQ. Thanks for sharing this cupcake Irish Car Bomb recipe

  5. DYING TO MAKE THESE! but can you please clarify… what does 1/4 vanilla sugar mean? 1/4 of what?

  6. These cupcakes look amazing! I will have to give them a try. Also, your photos on your blog are fantastic. You have a very good eye for photography.

    • Thank you! However, my husband does most of the photos, I just do the cooking and baking. :) We make a really good team.

  7. Wow… Guinness, Whisky and Baileys… I feel like eating off the screen. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Bomb is the perfect word for this. Absolutely not one for the kids. Forget my mouth, my brain is totally fuddled trying to imagine the boozy flavour combinations!

  9. I just made this for my brothers house warming…. OMG They’re SOOO GOOOOD. I made them in mini cupcake tins… Can’t stop “tasting” the product! Thanx :) Going to the gym tomorrow for sure!

    • Glad you enjoyed them, they are completely amazing. My husband has to ‘taste test’ every batch, he calls it quality control.

  10. This looks AMAZING. I’m going to have to change the name before I serve these to my son’s Irish friends this weekend (don’t want to cause an international incident), but I just know they will appreciate the flavors. My mouth is watering!

  11. Having live most of my adult life in Dublin I Loooove Guinness and jemmie :) So obviously these cupcakes are a must try for me!! Thanks for sharing!

  12. I would like to know if anyone has used Guiness Lager rather than stout.. is there a difference? I am not a drinker, forgive my ignorance. I make these for friends that adore them. I am going to be making some and was wondering if anyone made these with different forms of Guiness.

  13. Love the recipe but is that really its name? In England, where I live, that carries entirely different conotations. I will reuse this recipe as the cakes look delicious but will have to have another name for them. Can’t put it on my Pinterest board either under that name.

  14. My frosting never came together! Huge disappointment, the eggs got frothy like marshmallow fluff and it looked so yummy but when I added the butter it never came together! I just wasted vanilla sugar!

  15. I cannot wait to make these! My best friend is turning 21 this weekend and we have a running inside joke about Irish car bombs!

    Quick question: I have Ghiradelli SWEETENED ground chocolate that I hate to not use. Is there a way that I can incorporate this into the cake recipe instead of the UNSWEETENED that it calls for?

    • Not at all sorry. The sweetened ground chocolate is just that. Finely ground chocolate, which is completely different from cocoa powder, which is more like a flour. I have seen the ground chocolate used in recipes like this and the cake doesn’t rise and has a really wet/raw texture to the finished product. Any regular unsweetened cocoa powder will do, I strongly suggest against using that ground chocolate.

  16. Question about the buttercream…is that regular granulated sugar or powdered sugar? I’ve just never made a buttercream with granulated before so just checking :)

    • It is just regular granulated sugar infused with vanilla bean pods. After you scrape out vanilla seeds from the pod, chop up the pod and place into an air tight container with the sugar, let it set for a few days and you get vanila sugar, it’s great in recipes but also coffee and teas. 1 seedless vanilla pod to 1 cup sugar is the ratio I use.

  17. Is Jack Daniels Whiskey a possible substitue for Jameson in the ganache?

  18. Do you know if you can purchase vanilla sugar? Or can I simply use a bit of vanilla extract instead??

    • Just increase the amount of regular sugar to what the vanilla sugar asked for, and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

  19. What is cornflour? Do you mean corn starch or cornmeal? I am confused. I tried to look for it in the grocery store. I researched and it said corn flour is a UK term and corn starch is the US term.

    • Corn flour is the same as corn starch. Regional called different names from different parts of the us to different parts of the world. But it is the same thing.

  20. I’m finding mini Bailey’s bottles at 50ml, not 100ml. Should I use one mini bottle or two?

  21. Is cornstarch the same as corn flour? and if I don’t have corn flour can I use corn starch?

    • Corn flour is the same as corn starch. Regional called different names from different parts of the USA to different parts of the world. But it is the same thing.

  22. Sugar melts at 186 degrees celsius, 366.8 degrees F.

  23. Made these for St. Patties, they were wonderful. I made it a two day project, cupcakes the day before, the rest on the day of.

    The frosting recipe will definitely be my go-to recipe from now on – minus the baileys.

    For the vanilla sugar (since I decided way late that I would be making these, and didn’t have time two weeks to dedicate to real vanilla sugar) I just put 1/4 cup sugar and a 1/2 of a vanilla bean – seeded, but then put the outer part in too- into a food processor, then sifted out the sugar. It was good for a quick fix.

    Thank you for this recipe!

  24. I just wanted to share…these cupcakes ROCK! WE made them and I about fell out of my chair when I took the first bite! Yes the Cornflour is cornstarch in this recipe and as long as you follow everything she says in the recipe to a T, you will make the most amazing cupcakes ever!!!!!!! I was licking the bowl even before I started baking the cupcakes. Which is a tradition with me because I always say, if the uncooked batter is amazing tasting before you bake it, then your cake is gonna be AWESOME tasting! In which these are! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  25. Thank you for the recipe! Can these cupcakes be made ahead of time, frosting and all? Secondarily, if the frosted cupcakes are made a few hours before they are to be eaten, should they be put in the refrigerator? I am not familiar with how to store buttercream and am concerned if the buttercream will solidify too much on the cupcakes, if left in the fridge.

  26. Can I substitute semi-sweet chocolate chips for the bittersweet chocolate?

  27. Can I substitute semisweet chocolate chips for the bittersweet chocolate?

  28. I live in a tropical island, does that buttercream keeps well in hot weather?

  29. Thank you for the excellent recipe! I’ve made them a couple times and everyone who’s tried them loves them.

    I have a question about the frosting, though – the first time I made them it was perfect, but the second time I tried to make it it was kind of watery and coming apart. Do you know what I might have done wrong? I tried twice that second time and it turned out the same way both times.

    • If the butter is too soft, it will turn soupy. Which can also happen if the eggs were still too warm when the butter we added. I have had it split and get watery when I add the butter too soon.

  30. Hi. Really looking forward to make these as I work in an Irish Pub and Car Bombs are our typical “after work” drink. I live in Germany and have a few questions regarding ingredients.
    I have been unable to find cornstarch. Can I just use a bit more flour??
    Is 15% cream enough or must it be higher fat?
    Also, can they be made in a silicone muffin cup without the cupcake liners?
    Thanks :)

    • Answer to your questions…

      Yes! You can just use all flour

      Yes! 15% is enough

      and Yes! They turn out great in those cups, just mind cooking time.

  31. Hi There!

    I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time. I just made them for the dessert contest of my christmas job party. I used margarine instead or butter (worked perfectly) using a general rule of 1/2cup = 1 butter stick. I also used 2 mini-bottle, to reach the 100ml. The buttercream holds up nicely! I had too much both ganache and buttercream, so I froze it for the next batch.

    A little tip for those of you who might be worried about the raw egg whites (or what to do with the yolks for that matter…), try those egg white cartons (250 or 500ml). Those are pasteurized, so no worries!

  32. suggestion on making these the night before? Can I just store in the fridge?

    • totally, just cover them tightly so the frosting doesn’t absorb fridge smells. They take about 1-2 hours to come up to room temperature so just remember to remove them a few hours in advance before serving.

  33. The name of these cupcakes is unbelievably offensive. What can we hope you will memorialize next: Death-Camp Bundt Cake? Cambodian Mine-Field pie? You should be ashamed of yourself.


  34. So what, the name of the drink is also offensive. BRB, gonna create a World Trade Centre crumble pie.

    • BINGO! There were 10,000 bombs in the UK from 1968-98 due to the Troubles. This name is so offensive.

  35. We call them Irish Boilermakers.
    The drink these are based off of is a variation of the original Boilermaker. (Which is called a bomb shot due to the wy it’s consumed)

  36. I’m hoping you’ll follow the lead of many other food bloggers and think about changing the name of this dessert. Its easy for many who are unaware of Ireland’s history or who doesn’t know anyone who actually has been killed or injured by a car bomb to not understand how tasteless the name really is. The man who “invented” the drink has actually come forward and admitted it was in bad taste and wishes he could change it. Using this is the same as making a dessert in NYC and naming it Flight 175.

  37. These are amazing! They keep really well here and didn’t dry out in the least! The frosting has got to be my favourite part though! :P

  38. I made these yesterday and people loved them!! I was amazed at how moist the cupcakes were. Normally cakes made from scratch are dry and not as light and fluffy as cakes from cake mix. But these were special and really moist and amazing! It was a lot of work but it was worth it.

    My only complaint is that I wish there was a stronger Jameson taste in the ganache. I couldn’t really taste it.

  39. I was Soooooo excited to make these today, but after I stuck them in the oven I realized I have forgot to add the cocoa powder to the stout mixture! Is that going to cause a huge issue?

  40. What a horribly offensive name for a great recipe. Do you realize how many innocent people have died in Car Bombs in the UK? Why not make Flaming Towers cake for 9/11 ?

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