The Ultimate Irish Dessert: Car Bomb Cupcakes

The Ultimate Irish Dessert: Car Bomb Cupcakes

By now you should be very familiar with Smitten Kitchen and her glorious Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes. If not, you may be living under a rock or are not seeking enough creative ways to get your daily servings of booze. Both are unacceptable. I was first introduced to Smitten Kitchen and her boozy cupcakes at a friend’s St Patrick’s Day party. I’ve never done an Irish Car Bomb. After dropping in a shot of Jameson and Bailey’s, you need to quickly chug the beer before the Irish Cream curdles. Considering my idea of downing a beer still takes a good half hour, while others have already moved onto a second round, I don’t think the concept would work too well. Nevertheless, when my friend added cupcake to the end of the description, I was already in love.

Just as there are three basic components to an Irish Car Bomb, there are three parts to the cupcake. A Guinness based cake, a Jameson whiskey infused chocolate center and a Bailey’s Irish Cream icing. The beer in the cupcake pretty much cooks off, depending on what kind of stout you use, but the whiskey and Irish cream are added in off heat so they remain pretty potent. These cupcakes are definitely best suited for an adult only gathering rather than a child’s birthday party.

Stout, Irish Cream & Whiskey–Essential for St. Patrick’s Day

Over the years I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit, testing the limits of how much alcohol I can use, reducing sugar levels and localizing the ingredients. I’ve never been a Guinness fan, though I will agree that it is better in Ireland (or Europe as a whole), so instead I go with Brooklyn’s Chocolate Stout. The alcohol may burn off but the beer’s flavor remains strong. Rather than a typical brown cake, you’re left with an intense almost purple-black shade.

As a kid I used to love sneaking those little chocolate alcohol bottles (yes, I started young) so when I first made Smitten Kitchen’s ganache, I was underwhelmed with the almost nonexistent whiskey flavor. I learned that by reducing the level of cream you could double triple the amount of whiskey, without the chocolate getting too runny. And as for the icing, I’ve never had success with a straight buttercream. It always ends up almost chalky sweet in order to reach the right consistency. I find that by always adding a bit of cream cheese, you’re able to reduce the amount of sugar, sometimes significantly. The recent edits of using homemade Irish Cream and local McKenzie Whiskey helped localize the recipe even further.

Car Bomb Cupcakes (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen) Make 20 cupcakes



  • 1 c Irish or Chocolate Stout (I used Brooklyn Chocolate Stout)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 c sour cream
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp whiskey (I used McKenzie Pure Pot Still Whiskey)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 5-6 c confectioners sugar
  • 8 tbsp Irish Cream
Read the whole recipe on Brooklyn Locavore