Guinness, Whiskey & Irish Cream Cupcakes

As I mentioned on Friday, I have been doing some experimentation with the beer and chocolate combination. The Guinness-chocolate ice cream that I made totally kicked butt, so I couldn’t wait to see how I liked beer and chocolate in my cake. The answer? I like it, a whole heck of a lot. This was my first time doing Guinness-chocolate cakes, and I was totally optimistic that I would love it, and I was definitely right. These cupcakes are fashioned after the popular drink that consists of a shot of Baileys Irish Cream and Irish whiskey dropped into a pint of Guinness. I have never had one myself, but I’ve heard that if you can get it down before it curdles, it’s smooth, delicious and almost tastes like a milkshake. I’ll believe it because these cupcakes are all sorts of delicious. They’re also very boozy. Consider yourself warned :)

These cupcakes consist of a Guinness-chocolate cake base, which has a wonderful depth of flavor and is also supremely moist. The centers of the cupcakes are cut out and filled with a chocolate ganache that has been spiked with Irish whiskey. And to top it all off, the frosting is my favorite vanilla buttercream that has been doused with a serious amount of Baileys Irish Cream.

While you can’t really taste the beer in the cupcakes (it serves as more of a flavor enhancer for the chocolate), you can definitely taste the alcohol in the filling and the frosting. Which I think means that the cupcakes are a success 😉  Plus, they got six big thumbs up!

I think I need to start converting more drinks into baked goods, this was too much fun (and way delicious!).

Two year ago: Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Three years ago: Pot Roast in the Crock Pot

Guinness, Whiskey & Irish Cream Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 17 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Guinness cupcakes with a Jameson whiskey ganache center and topped with a Baileys Irish Cream frosting.


For the Cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey

For the Baileys Frosting:
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream


1. To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.

3. To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

4. To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or the bottom of a large decorating tip), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping back with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

5. To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.

6. Using your favorite decorating tip, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.

(Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)


471 Responses to “Guinness, Whiskey & Irish Cream Cupcakes”

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  1. Sara on October 12, 2011 at 4:00 am

    I think this recipe sounds AMAZINGGGGGGGGGG!!!


  2. MissB on October 18, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Q: Is the sour cream a must or will it change the taste if omitted?

    Looks great – can’t wait to try them!


    • Michelle on October 18th, 2011 at 11:43 pm

      The sour cream is a definite must, but not for flavor – it keeps the cupcakes nice and moist!


  3. Shae on October 25, 2011 at 12:18 am

    I can’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day to make these!


  4. Lea on October 31, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    best cupcakes i’ve made to date! made them for my husband’s birthday–he loves irish car bombs. i added A LOT more bailey’s in the frosting & they came out great. thanks for sharing the recipe!!


  5. Ragu on November 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    I replaced the Guinness with a strong cup of coffee (so made “Irish Coffee” cupcakes). Turned out amazing, a great recipe, its like a whiskey truffle in a cupcake!

    FYI- This made like 2X more frosting than needed, did anyone else notice this?


  6. Amy on November 6, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Omg these are amazing, especially the baileys frosting! Everyone could not get enough of these. Definitely saving this recipe. Thank you!


  7. Chris on November 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    I must say, these are by FAR the best cupcakes I have ever tasted. So good, in fact, that my wife and I served them to guests AT OUR WEDDING!!!!! Love my wife (who suggested serving, and made, these decadent treats), love the drink (also consumed at the wedding), and LOVE this recipe.



  8. Elyse on November 13, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    The verdict on these cupcakes is: *STELLAR*

    I get very stressed when writing dissertations, and the only things that calm me down are baking and Guinness. I HAD NEVER THOUGHT TO COMBINE THE TWO BEFORE.

    Unfortunately I didn’t have the things to make the filling nor the frosting, so I just made the cake, as I had everything needed for that on hand. I didn’t have an electric beater at the mo but mixing it by hand with a whisk and letting it rest for a bit in between mixings worked fine.

    It was the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted (not just made–tasted). It was best, I thought, after sitting in the fridge over night. So moist and fudgy and delicious. I brought some to class and everyone that ventured to tried said they were exquisite.

    GREAT recipe. I will be making it in its full frosting and filling splendor in a few days for a special occasion. I just tossed together some mascarpone and Nutella for something to put on top and am SUPER excited to try the cupcakes with the real deal. Thank you so much for sharing with us!!!

    <3 Best


  9. Stephanie on November 17, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Hi there! I made these for a tailgating party I went to. Let me say that they were unbelievably fantastic….. especially your icing! Loved it. The ganache I wasn’t so sure about.
    Let me preface by saying I LOVE ganache. Seriously. But I’ve never made it before this! It wasn’t very sweet (and I don’t know if that was baker-error on my part) and my finished product looked super thin. So, I thought if I added some 10X sugar to it, it’d be a) sweeter and b) thicker. Correct on A, WAAAAYYYY too accurate on B! I did not realize that it was going to get thicker as it cooled more. My mistake! Unfortunately there was a solid ball of rich chocolate in the center of my cupcake.
    :( it didn’t taste bad, but it was a mistake I won’t repeat! Apparently this recipe has a lot of comments, so I hope someone (like me!) will see this in case you’re thinking of trying these out and know NOT to add anything to the ganache!
    But really, a delicious cupcake. A little pricey for me since I hadn’t had any of that alcohol on hand, but VERY worth it! I loved the cake and the icing… I just need to work on my filling!
    Thank you for a great treat.


  10. recipes on November 22, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Looks green and tasty.


  11. Jess on November 26, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Wonderful cupcakes.
    Very rich and heavy, the flavors all work well together. I personally found the icing a bit sweet (everyone else loved it though), so I think I will make it with slightly less sugar next time.


  12. DanicaLee on December 8, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Hi, BEB!

    I’m making these cupcakes this weekend for a party and I’m soooo excited for it!!! I just have two, quick questions.

    The first: when you say “heavy cream”, do you mean Half & Half, or whipping cream, ooor?

    And the second: which brand of whiskey do you use? My brother said it was probably Jameson’s, but I wanted to double-check; I want these to as close to yours as possible!


    • Michelle on December 9th, 2011 at 4:38 pm

      Hi DanicaLee, Heavy cream can be used interchangeably with whipping cream for this recipe. And I did use Jameson whiskey. Enjoy the cupcakes! :)


  13. Clare on December 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Just stumbled across your fantastic blog, cannot wait to peruse the rest of it (study avoidance to the max…). Absolutely love EVERYTHING about these cupcakes; pure genius, don’t change a thing!

    Irish myself, but can’t stand Guinness, so I’ll hold back a bit in the recipe I think. For those of you brave enough to try irish car bombs from a bar and not the baker; fair play, I tried and failed, I’ll just stick with a baby guinness I think. :)


  14. Tyra on December 12, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I found your blog from stumble. Awesome recipe! No really its great. Only thing I did was add more whiskey to the ganache and used store bought icing and thinned it out with the Irish cream. I hope my coworkers like them as much as I do.


  15. BakerBell on December 14, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Love beer and whiskey and baileys. Could their be a better combination? Absolutely can not wait to try these cupcakes, actually went and got all of the ingredients today just so I could make them as soon as possible (aka tomorrow morning because I cannot wait any longer haha).A great book I found was called Intoxicated Cupcakes, over 40 recipes of alcoholic cupcakes. Minus their Designated Driver cupcake (shirley temple cupcake). Love all of the cake recipes!!


  16. Stefanie on December 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Hi! I just came across your recipe and wanted to make these for a friend’s birthday.

    Is it okay to use natural cocoa powder instead of dutch-process? I was actually under the impression that dutch-process powder does not react with baking soda. I’ve read other recipes for car bomb cupcakes that call for natural unsweetened cocoa & baking soda, but specifically NOT dutch-process.

    What do you think?


    • Michelle on December 16th, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      Hi Stefanie, You could use natural unsweetened in place of the Dutch-process. I have used them interchangeably in the past depending on what I have on hand, and have never had an issue. I always prefer the Dutch-processed just because of the depth of flavor.


  17. Amanda on December 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Made these cupcakes for a NY Jets Tailgate. I used food coloring to turn half the icing green and left the other half white for the Jets colors. I figured what better to bring to a tailgate than alcohol infused cupcakes! Well, they were quite the hit! I didn’t get to bring a single one home with me, they were enjoyed by everyone! Thanks for such a wonderful recipe, I’ll be making these for years to come!


  18. Erin on October 24, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I just want to know if anyone else has tried this recipe?! I did, and it was delicious, but it made waaaay too much frosting. I’m going to try and cut the frosting ingredients in half and wanted to know if anyone else has tried that? I also wanted to add more booze! But I’m afraid it will screw up the cakes. Anyone have any HELPFUL advise??


    • Kim on March 14th, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      I made 3 batches last night. I only used a double batch of buttercream and still have some left over. If you don’t go nuts with the frosting, a half batch should be enough. These were a big hir at mine and my husband’s workplaces today. I made them as a St. Paddy’s Day treat


  19. Sylvia on October 28, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    It is simply delicious!!! My best friend loves the drink and we made the cupcakes together for her birthday. They were a total success. I don’t drink myself but I loved the cupcakes. Thanks for sharing the recipe!!


  20. Nu2Me on October 29, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    This is one of the greatest things I have ever seen!


  21. Craig on November 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Thank you for the recipe, I made these this past weekend for a Irish themed dinenr party, they were the bomb!


  22. Dana on November 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I made these today and they were AMAZING! As I tasted the mixes while making these I added a bit more of each alcohol because I was afraid it wasn’t going to be strong enough to detect after baking. I think this was a good strategy because especially after they chilled in the fridge for a bit the flavors become richer and more concentrated. Thank you so much for this recipe!


  23. Telasrevenge on November 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Omg I’ve had this recipe on my phone for months patiently waiting to have the time to make them. I’m super excited to make my favorite cocktail as a muffin.


  24. Carissa on November 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I think this cupcake sounds good. I don’t personally drink but my many relatives do I may use them to test the cupcakes. Thanks for the great recipe idea ill be sure to try it.


  25. Anne on November 18, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Hello BEB and thanks for a wonderful recipe. I’m going to try making these for Thanksgiving. Hopefully they turn out well!!!
    In the ganache, did you use salted or unsalted butter? Could I substitute nestle chocolate chips for the bittersweet chocolate in the ganache? Also, I am a novice baker and do not have any piping bags or tips. I’ve seen other websites that say putting icing in a plastic bag and cutting off the edge is a suitable substitute. Wondering if you or anyone else has tried this or if I should contact some friends/family and see if they have tips and bags.


    • Michelle on November 20th, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Anne, I used unsalted butter in the ganache. I don’t find that Nestle chips melt very well, so if you can get your hands on a higher-quality chocolate like Ghiradelli (found in most grocery stores), I would suggest that. Otherwise, you can go with the chips and see how they turn out. You could definitely use a plastic bag and cut off the tip – I did that myself for a long time before I bought bags and tips! Enjoy!


    • kl on March 5th, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Anne, thank you for the best comment ever (because they were the same questions I had, minus the choco chips). I found this recipe on another website (via Facebook) and was wondering about whether the butter in the ganache was salted or unsalted.
      And I almost bought a little cheapo set of tips/bags, but remembered seeing a tip about using the plastic bags, so I was going to just do that. Very excited to try these out, if I survive the Saturn snowstorm! 😉


  26. Rae on November 19, 2012 at 3:14 am

    What is the “proof” of the filling and frosting? I know with cooking alcohol it becomes less ‘choholic when you cook or that its so diluted its fine and not boozy. Wondering if its safe to share with the toddler if he wants some is basically all I wanna know.


    • Michelle on November 20th, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      Hi Rae, I have no way of being able to calculate the “proof” of the filling and frosting. However, neither are cooked, so the alcohol isn’t diluted in any way. I would not feed the frosting or ganache to your toddler.


    • Violet on March 16th, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      What about doubling the recipe? Can you absolutely double, or just make two batches and be safer then sorry?


  27. Ashley on November 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I am planning to make these for my girlfriends wedding, 100 of them! Any suggestions on making them in mass amounts? The wedding is Sunday afternoon, if I make the cupcakes Saturday and allow them to cool then do the frosting Sunday should I put them in the fridge overnight? Any suggestions would be helpful!!


    • Michelle on November 20th, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Ashley, Wow, what a great friend you are! :) I haven’t not made mass quantities of this, so I don’t have any specific tips for you on that end. You could definitely do the cupcakes Saturday night, then frost on Sunday. Don’t refrigerate them – they will dry out. You should put them in airtight containers or cover tightly with plastic wrap.


      • Ashley on February 8th, 2013 at 12:45 pm

        Hi Michelle,
        I did a trial of these yesterday to prepare for the wedding. I thought they turned out great, especially the frosting. The color was amazing and so perfect. The only question I had was I felt they were a bit dry. I only baked them 17 minutes and I thought that was perfect. Anything you can think of to make them more moist? Thanks!


  28. Bsomeone on November 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I’ve been saving this recipe for over a year, waiting for the right party and finally made them this weekend for my husband’s birthday. They were a HIT! I would change a few things, though. The ganache got too solid and didn’t have enough whiskey flavor, so I would definitely increase the volume of whiskey next time to increase the flavor and keep it soft. There was also way too much frosting for 24 cupcakes, buti don’t think half would have been quite enough either.


  29. Kup-kate on December 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Great cupcakes!!! I added a bit more whiskey just for a stronger taste, but absolutely delish! Thank goodness for Pinterest that brought me to you :-)


  30. Amy on December 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I made these this past St. Patty’s day and everyone loved them! Then for Labor day weekend I made your Peanut butter cup cheesecake. It too was a huge hit. Got me to thinking about turning these into a cheesecake! So I’m gonna give it a shot for Christmas Eve. I’ll let you know how it turns out!


  31. Tonya Malynn Lopez on December 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    I have made this recipe 3 times now, and these cupcakes are OFF THE CHAIN good!! It actually takes longer than the recipe says it takes to make them, but the time is oooohhh so worth it, every time I make them, they get eaten in two days time!!!


  32. Rika gatackic on December 29, 2012 at 2:52 am

    I wanna try this one now. But i like to replace the Whisky with Rhum, and since i’m A Fan of BaiLeyS therefore i’m soooo excited to start this. I only use Yolk and Olive oil. Also 4 table spoon of Margarine for my cake batter. The result is SOFT & No Cracks. Thanks again for sharing your inspiration 😉


  33. Kim on January 16, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    ICBs are one of my best selling cupcakes, I make them at least once a month. I use a mellon baller to remove the centers, works well for me.


  34. McHenry on January 18, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    These were delicious.


  35. Allie on January 20, 2013 at 10:52 am

    I made these for my friend’s birthday yesterday. They were a HUGE hit! The only changes I made were the cocoa and the whiskey. I can’t find dutch process anywhere around here, but I had a little bit of Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa – not quite enough for the recipe, though, so I topped it off with regular Hershey’s cocoa. It was probably about 2/3 dark, 1/3 regular and the cake turned out to be delicious. I also doubled the amount of whiskey because I couldn’t taste much with the amount given. It still wasn’t strong, but it was a little more noticeable. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly. It was really easy to core the cupcakes with a 1M tip – great idea! I will absolutely make these again! Thank you!


  36. Maggie on January 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Hi! Quick question for you about the amazing Bailey’s Buttercream here. I’ve made these cupcakes over and over, but I just can’t remember how much frosting the recipe makes — how do you think it would be for a layer cake? I’m planning to make a rainbow cake, so SIX whole layers to frost plus a good thick outer layer to make it totally opaque … do you think one recipe of your Bailey’s frosting would be enough?

    Thanks so much for all your amazing recipes!


    • Michelle on January 21st, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Maggie, I think you would need to at least double this frosting recipe to have enough for your cake. Enjoy!


      • Maggie on January 31st, 2013 at 11:06 pm

        Hi, Michelle,
        Just wanted to report back! I got all the necessaries for two batches of buttercream (and even mentally readied myself for a cake frosted with 4 cups of butter and 10 cups of sugar!) and lo and behold — one recipe was plenty! I am not one to skimp on frosting, and I had plenty to hide all the bright-colored cake, plus a little extra for tomorrow when I know I’m going to have to fix some uglies (my cake dome is too small for my cake, but I didn’t realize it until I’d already smashed the frosting a little. Oops!).
        Thank you so much for your recipes and your good advice!


  37. Laura on January 27, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I just wanted to drop by and tell you that I absolutely love your blog and this recipe! I stop by regularly to see what you’re baking because it always looks delicious! I liked this recipe so much that I shared it on my blog and it’s probably the only thing on there that is not dairy-free.


  38. Beth H on January 29, 2013 at 9:31 am

    A friend made these in mini cupcake size for a get together on the weekend. Very Yummy!


  39. Ashleigh on January 29, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    So I didn’t have all of the ingredients to make the cupcake as a whole, BUT I did use the Bailey’s frosting on top of coffee enhanced chocolate cupcakes HOLY POOP THEY ARE SO GOOD. Definitely going to be a staple in my cupcake repertoire.


  40. on February 1, 2013 at 11:41 am

    MY hubby’s birthday is on st patrick’s day, and i made these last year for his party. they were a HUGE hit. so delicious.


  41. Margy on February 15, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Just finished making the cupcakes and they are the BOMB!!!


  42. Jax on February 17, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Absolutely amazing recipe….hit the nail on the head per say with the perfect marriage of flavors!


  43. Heather on February 23, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I love These cupcakes! I’ve made them twice and everyone raves about them. Thank you for such a wonderful treat! :)


  44. Natalie on February 25, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    One of the best, if not the best chocolate cupcake I have made/eaten. I made these for my husband’s birthday to take into his work full of guys. THEY LOVED THEM! Every part of this cupcake was delicious! Well worth the effort it took to put them together. Plus, the instructions were flawless and very helpful! Thank you for the delicious recipe that made me look like a rockstar!


  45. Maria on February 27, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Hi! Can I substitute the bittersweet chocolate (that comes in a bar) for bittersweet chocolate chips??
    If I make them a day ahead do they need to be refrigerated ?? When they get frosted if put on the refrigerator, to keep frosting from “melting down” and to keep the pretty shape, will the ganache inside harden???
    Thanks! love your recipes!!!


    • Michelle on February 27th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      Hi Maria, Yes, you can substitute bittersweet chocolate chips. I would not refrigerate them if you will be serving them the next day. Enjoy!


  46. Sara on February 28, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I made these cupcakes last year and they were a huge hit (thank you so much for sharing!). Question … have you tried making this as a cake instead of cupcakes? I’ve converted a couple other cupcake recipes (some successful, some not so much) and wanted to ask you before attempting it myself.


    • Sara on February 28th, 2013 at 11:40 am

      I apologize in advance if you’ve already answered this question somewhere else in the comments :-)


    • Michelle on February 28th, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      Hi Sara, Not a problem! I haven’t made it into a cake, but others who have commented have, and they’ve reported good results. Enjoy!


  47. Ema on March 1, 2013 at 1:43 am

    Looks wonderful!! Have to try these for this St. Party’s day!!


  48. Valencia on March 1, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Made these today, AMAZING!!!!!! My husband says thank you as well..


  49. Wendi on March 2, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    These are probably the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.


  50. Toshia on March 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    I wanted to know what tip you used to get the ruffle looking frosting? Is it the tip you have pictured that you used to cut out the centers? Thanks!


    • Michelle on March 5th, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      Hi Toshia, I used a Wilton 1M tip for frosting the cupcakes. Enjoy!


      • Toshia on March 5th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

        Really? huh mine always look different. Must be in the angle, I will be sure to experiment. Thanks, can’t wait to try these!


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