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. Bee on March 5, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    LOVED this recipe the only thing I had issue with is I added a little extra flour (the batter was a bit runny) and I would use semi-sweet chocolate, the middle was a little too bitter for my crowd :) Oh and it was probably the old oven but I baked them for 20 mins!


  2. Jen on March 7, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I am wondering how much of these can be made ahead of time?
    Can I make the cupcakes and cut out the holes, and them freeze them?
    Can I freeze both the ganache and the frosting, also, then just thaw everything overnight and assemble?
    OR would it be better to fill the cupcakes with the ganache and freeze them, and then on the day I want to serve them, thaw the cupcakes, make the frosting, and frost them?

    Thanks much for any suggestions! Can’t wait to try them.


    • Michelle on March 7th, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Jen, You could bake and fill the cupcakes ahead of time, then freeze them. I would allow them to thaw overnight and then frost them the day you plan to serve them. Enjoy!!


      • Jen on April 24th, 2013 at 6:43 pm

        Thank you very much!


  3. Trey on March 8, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Brown Eyed Baker, I think I love you.


  4. Whitney on March 8, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I made these last year for my friends and they were a HUGE hit! So much of one that they’ve requested them again this year. My only question is, my ganache seemed to get quite hard (slightly softer than having an intact Hershey Kiss on the inside of a cupcake) and I was wondering if I’d just filled them too early (the day before, although I’m not positive if I stored them airtightly overnight or just left them out to cool), if there is a trick to keeping it softer, or if this is just how ganache behaves? No one else seemed to mind, but I can’t help but wonder if I can make these amazing cupcakes even tastier! Thanks for the recipe!


    • Michelle on March 11th, 2013 at 12:29 am

      Hi Whitney, For a softer ganache, try increasing the cream to 1 cup and omit the butter. Let me know how that works for you!


      • Whitney on March 17th, 2013 at 9:40 am

        Thanks for the suggestion, it came out exactly how I wanted. Nice and soft and AMAZING! I even had one friend come find me across the room after he’d had one and just exclaim “That FILLING!” They were a hit, once again! Everyone is just as obsessed with these as last year, I have a feeling they’ll be a repeat request throughout the year! I also only used 1 stick of butter in the frosting, like a traditional buttercream, and didn’t miss the rest. Thank you!!


  5. raj on March 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Some angel left these in our office kitchen


  6. Chris on March 8, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. I have been looking for a way to incorporate my three favorite beverages into a dessert. While in Dublin, Ireland I was introduced to the drink of the same. I had never heard of it until that visit. Personally, I prefer to enjoy them separately as drinks, but as a cupcake, they work beautifully together. I was trying to think how I might make this into a cake. I have two ideas; using the Grenache as the inside frosting and cover the cake with the Irish Cream frosting, or, vice versa. I think the ganache being richer would probably work best in a smaller amount. any thoughts? Thanks for the inspiration!


    • Michelle on March 11th, 2013 at 12:26 am

      Hi Chris, I would do it exactly the way you described, using the ganache as the filling and the frosting to cover the cake. Enjoy!


  7. John on March 9, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Wow, these look amazing. Definitely a great treat for St. Patrick’s Day.


  8. CyberMom on March 10, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    These were instant hits in my family… we do them as Jumbo cupcakes: just double the recipe and add 3-5 minutes to the cooking time.


  9. Sarah on March 11, 2013 at 12:36 am

    OMG this recipe is AMAZING! I think this is the first time that I made a recipe where the timing for the cake was *exactly* what was needed, the amount of filling and frosting was SPOT ON, there is nothing I would change with this recipe!!! (and that’s saying something!) Thank you so much for your thorough instructions and appropriate portions! 😀 You have no idea how many times I would have 3 times the filling for the amount of cupcakes made, and have no idea what to do with the stuff XP


  10. Lorraine on March 11, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks for posting this recipe. I’m making it now and it’s tasting fabulous! I modified it slightly to make the cake part boozier by using 1 1/2 cup Guiness instead of a cup, adding 1/4 cup Jameson and my extra touch, 1/2 tsp instant coffee to bring out the chocolate flavors. It is so moist and delicious!


  11. Rachel on March 13, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I made these cupcakes last year and they are soooooo amazing! I was thinking about making the cupcakes ahead of time and freezing them. Then thawing them out the day that I need them, and filling and icing them. Has anyone tried this? Think it would work ok? Thanks!


  12. Racquel on March 13, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I made these for my office and they were beside themselves. It worked out really, really well. I was worried about the consistency of the cake as it was not holding together, making it a bit messy with the ganache. Not a problem in the end!

    I subbed in Canadian whiskey with Irish… didn’t seem to lessen the tastiness. I also subbed in a Phillips Longboat Chocolate Porter beer instead of Guiness as I am not much a Guiness drinker and the porter came in a big bottle. I drank the rest :) All in all – great recipe!!


  13. natalie on March 13, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    these were delicious!
    here are my comments on how i made them:
    i used guiness extra stout and my actual cupcakes (not the filling or icing) were not super sweet and you could still taste a little beer in with the chocolate but i think this perfectly counteracted the super sweetness/chocolatyness of the filling and icing. you couldn’t taste the whiskey in the filling, which i really liked but you could definitely taste the baileys in the icing (i added ~10 spoons, not 6 ). the recipe made 24 cupcakes, but i ended up with a lot of extra icing, which i ended up freezing and saving for later.
    overall, a fantastic recipe for cupcakes!! will definitely make again!


  14. Deisel on March 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I used Pillsbury Dark Chocolate cupcake mix instead and just substituted the water with Guinness. Then followed the recipe for the filling and frosting. It tasted heavenly! I don’t want any other cupcake ever again in my life!


  15. Mellowgold on March 14, 2013 at 10:49 am

    I sure would have loved to have read more detailed comments on this cupcake RECIPE. I’m making it this evening for a work event, and I really like reading comments regarding the recipe from anyone who tried it… Thanks for posting it anyway, I’m looking forward to trying it out myself. I’ll post how it turns out:)


  16. Deana on March 14, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    These are fabulous! Made them for a cupcake fundraiser. Huge hit!


  17. Sydney on March 15, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Help! I made the cupcakes, and tried to make the filling… I can’t get it thick enough to use as filling… I want to use a little extra whiskey. It’s more like the consistency of syrup than a ganache. What can I do to thicken it?


    • Michelle on March 21st, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      Hi Sydney, I’m not sure by your comment if you already added extra whiskey – if you did, that would cause it to be thin. Otherwise, try refrigerating it to get it to thicken up.


  18. Vnk on March 15, 2013 at 5:47 am

    Thank you for this amazing turned out absolutely perfect.


  19. Laura on March 15, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I make these every year for the St. Paddy’s day parade (I’m in Pittsburgh too! w00t!) and they are always a huge hit! Thank you for such an amazing recipe!


  20. Soultraveler3 on March 15, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Going to make these tonight to take to our St.Patrick’s Day party tomorrow. They sound wonderful! :) Think this would work well as a cake though? If so, how long should I bake it for? Love cupcakes, but they always seem like way more work than a cake lol. Thanks!


    • Michelle on March 21st, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      You could make this as a cake, however I have not. It depends on the size of the cake pan, but it could take anywhere from 22 to 30 or so minutes.


  21. Carolyn on March 15, 2013 at 11:09 am

    This is probably the best cupcake I’ve ever had. I do not like Guiness, Bailey’s or car bomb shots, but this cupcake was out of this world. The cake was light, ganace was rich and gooy and the icing was so creamy. I brought some into the office and they were gobbled up so quickly with everyone asking for the recipe. Delicious!


  22. STEPHANIE COTE on March 15, 2013 at 5:24 pm



  23. Loretta on March 16, 2013 at 2:52 am

    Can someone just tell me if the recipe is easy, difficult, or what…and does it taste good? Thanks!


    • ROX on March 16th, 2013 at 3:16 am

      These Irish car bomb cupcakes are delicious!!


  24. Jamie on March 16, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Any suggestions for high altitude? I made these as is with 2 extra TBLS of flour and they are all sunken :(


    • Michelle on March 24th, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Hi Jamie, I am not sure what to tell you about high altitude since I don’t bake there, but I would Google for suggestions.


  25. Theresa Doten on March 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Sounds AWESOME, but we hate Guinness here…Can you taste the Guinness? I would love to try these…


  26. Stephanie on March 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Cannot wait to make these! Thanks for sharing the recipe.


  27. Tim on March 16, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Outstanding recipe! No overwhelming alcohol flavor at all. Rich and tasty & won’t wait for next St Pats day to make the next batch!


  28. Zan on March 16, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    OMG!! These are so good! I took them to a St. Patrick’s Day party tonight and they were a big hit. A few people even had 2. I ‘accidentally’ poured a bit more than 2 tsp of whiskey into the ganache and it was delicious. I think the next time I’ll try the suggestion of using more cream to make the ganache a bit softer. I had some leftover frosting and it killed me to throw it away, but I was afraid I’d eat the whole bowl of it if I didn’t!


  29. Nat on March 17, 2013 at 3:15 am

    Just made these for my boyfriend to bring to work! They are amazing! Especially the frosting – although, I do have to say, it could’ve been cut in half. I have no idea what to do with the leftover frosting.


  30. Sandy on March 17, 2013 at 9:52 am

    I made these last night and they taste awesome. Needless to say, my presentation did not look like yours after eloping pastry bag, but the tasted delicious. I tasted the components individually and wasn’t sure, but when combined there is some boozy magic there!


  31. Brandie on March 17, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Hi!!! I love this recipe and just wanted to let you know that I made them last year and they were fantastic!!! I posted this on my blog with my own photos, but I did post a link to your recipe. I hope that’s ok? Anyway, thanks for the awesome recipe!


  32. Laura @ WyldeThyme on March 17, 2013 at 11:34 am

    just made these for St. Pat’s day… they are wonderful.


  33. Denise on March 17, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    When I added the cocoa to the guiness and butter, the butter separated and never got smooth. What did I do wrong?


  34. JenniferB on March 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I made these cupcakes this weekend for my boyfriend’s family St. Patrick’s Day Party and MANY people told me it was the best cupcake they’d ever had. :) The ganache came out perfect in taste and texture. (i followed the cake and ganache recipe exactly from your site). I did reduce the sugar/butter on the Baileys frosting but it was still very good. I also had trouble obtaining Dutch processed cocoa in my area, so I used Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder, and it still came out great, if anyone else also is having a problem finding it.

    I definitely recommend this recipe and will be making it again. Thanks for sharing it!


  35. Maria on March 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Thank you for the recipe. I made it for my st. paddys day party and it was a big hit!


  36. Anais on March 17, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Just made these last night and served them today for St-Patricks, what a hit!!
    Was out of whisky so did tehm without the ganache and it was still excellent! Can’t wait to try them with the full recipe!!
    Thank you!


  37. Linda on March 17, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    I made these cupcakes for a friend for her birthday and I can sum it up in two words…..ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! Thank you for sharing such a great recipe.


  38. Debbie on March 17, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    I just made these today – they were AMAZING! Thanks for the lovely tastiness!


  39. Debbie on March 17, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I made these today, and I think they turned out fabulously. I halved the frosting recipe, because I like to keep the frosting at the “accent” level, not at the “half the cupcake” level. But hey, if you like a ton of frosting, totally go for it.
    I used salted butter, which could be why the Guiness-and-butter mixture didn’t smooth out as well as I might have hoped. Also, I don’t know if the Hershey’s brand of cocoa powder is Dutch process or not, but that could have affected it. Nevertheless, they turned out just beautifully, so…whatever. Will make again, or face horrible death at the hands of my friends who loved them. :)
    It was my first attempt at ganache, and I was scared of it at first. DO NOT BE SCARED! Ganache is EASY. I tossed the chocolate chunks in the food processor, because I am LAZY, and I tell you, that was the CORRECT choice. Super fast, chopped up nicely. Very fine and even and the hot cream just went through it so beautifully. I want to make more ganache now, because that was just too lovely for words.
    In summary, MAKE THEM!


    • Shan-chan on May 16th, 2013 at 3:52 am

      Thanks so much for this comment! I was afraid the ganache would be my undoing! Definitely making these for my friend’s half-birthday! ( We believe birthdays are so nice you have to do them twice!)


  40. Teressa on March 17, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    These were delicious! Just made them for St. Patty’s day party! There were a hit! Thanks for the recipe!! I baked them according to your directions, but when I took them out they had already dropped in the middle. Did I do something wrong? How can I prevent that in the future?
    Thank You!


  41. Katie on March 18, 2013 at 12:24 am

    Can’t wait to try these out!


  42. Lynn on March 18, 2013 at 1:16 am

    Dear Brown Eyed Baker,
    I’ve never baked cupcakes before in my life but decided to make these for St. Patrick’s Day, and they were truly the best things I’ve tasted! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe – my friends and I are incredibly happy today. 😉

    Lynn (another brown-eyed baker)


  43. Jan on March 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I made these yesterday and they are fantastic! My husband couldn’t stop eating them. I also did the homemade baily’s irish cream too for the frosting. I ddn’t have the cookie cutter or frosting tip so i used a melon baller and that worked our really well. Thanks BEB!


  44. Cupcake Lover on March 19, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Has actually tried these cupcakes and how they are?


  45. Mischel on March 20, 2013 at 1:42 am

    AMAZING cupcakes! They were the hit of St. Patrick’s day. I have one question. My family isn’t fond of the buttercream frosting. Could I use a cream cheese frosting instead? I am not sure if the Bailey’s would come out like it should. Otherwise, A+!!!!


    • Michelle on March 26th, 2013 at 12:14 am

      Yes, definitely!


  46. Athena on March 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I made this over the weekend and they were amazing! They tasted even better the second day after the liquor had set in more. They looked super impressive to my guests as well!


  47. Michelle Reitenbach on March 22, 2013 at 12:45 am

    These cupcakes were bomb!!!! Everyone enjoyed them. Only suggestion I have, is I added 2 tablespoons of Jameson (or maybe more lol) and almost a whole Guiness. And I really don’t think it required 5 CUPS of powdered sugar or butter!!! Had WAY too much left over. Plus I added more Bailey’s too.
    Besides all my comments, these were the best cupcakes I ever ate in my LIFE! Thank you so much for the recipe. Really appreciated it! :)


  48. Jami on March 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I made these last weekend and they were a hit! Thanks for the recipe!!!


  49. Laura on March 24, 2013 at 5:19 am

    Made these for St Pat’s this year…, so yummy!!!!


  50. skicarm on March 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    OK….Is this a good cupcake?


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