Friday, March 15, 2013

Shamrock Shake Cupcakes

Being the good Irish non-Catholic girl that I am, St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays, not only for the parties and green beer, but the camaraderie that comes with it. I'm sure we are all familiar with the sentiment "Kiss me, I'm Irish!" but on this special day anyone can be Irish and the bonds of drunken friendship are bound to blossom. These particular cupcakes are less about highlighting the alcohol, because there will be plenty of that, and more about fulfilling that 1:00am beer-induced need for something sweet. The creme de menthe can be pretty potent stuff, and at first the 1/4 cup the recipe called for had me fearing for my audience's taste buds. But the flavor becomes much more subtle after baking, and it provides the cakes with a nice minty green color. This recipe requires a lot of time for the ingredients to meld together properly, so be sure that you can devote ample time to this endeavor. Although I would have gone a different route with the white chocolate frosting I stuck with the timely recipe and it turned out to be the perfect compliment to the cakes. Lesson learned: Always follow the rules....well, in baking that is! If I can handle it, this month may be a two-for-one deal, with cute alcohol-free Easter cupcakes in a few weeks. My nieces are getting pretty fed up with their lack of involvement as my primary taste testers, I imagine my brother would not appreciate them consuming alcohol, even if it is disguised as a cupcake ;)

Shamrock Shake Cupcakes

  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup creme de menthe
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Allow the egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Also in a glass measuring cup combine the buttermilk and creme de menthe. Let me tell you a little secret about buttermilk, add some lemon juice to regular milk and allow it to stand for 10-15 minutes. Cause who has more than one use for buttermilk anyway! Beat the shortening and sugar together until whipped, add the vanilla. Alternately combine the egg whites and the milk mixture to the shortening and sugar until it is well combined. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with the batter and bake for 15-18 minutes. 

White Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, roughly half of one bag
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar
Heat the heavy cream over low heat until just simmering, add it to a bowl with the white chocolate chips, allow it to sit for 5 minutes before you stir. After stirring until smooth allow it to sit for 15 minutes while you beat the butter in a larger bowl. once the time is up add the white chocolate mixture to the butter and slowly add the powdered sugar,  one 1/2 cup at at time. This sounds like an agonizingly slow process just to make frosting, but trust me when I say that it is worth it!

Remember: We are all Irish on the inside! 

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