When St. Patrick’s Day comes around every year, I usually follow a little tradition that involves making up a batch of soda bread, a dish involving cabbage or corned beef, and maybe drinking a bottle of Guinness, too. Nothing fancy and pretty standard, as far as celebration goes. This year, I didn’t want to get stuck in that rut, but I did want to do a little something to acknowledge the holiday in my own way – with baked goods, of course. A quick look through my cabinets uncovered my bottle of Bailey’s Mint Chocolate Irish Cream and I knew what I wanted do make.
These cupcakes are a riff on mint chocolate chip ice cream, which is typically colored green, with a generous amount of Bailey’s for character. I neglected to add food coloring to my cupcakes, but feel free to do so if you really want them looking green for the holiday; if you want to avoid food coloring, rest assured that the Irish Cream is more than enough “irish” to make these an acceptable St. Patrick’s day dessert.
The cupcakes are a tiny bit more substantial than the ultra-fluffy cupcakes that I usually aim to bake because I needed them to be able to support the weight of the chocolate chips for good distribution. Mini chocolate chips worked out perfectly and were found in every bite of the cake. The flavor of the Bailey’s was relatively subtle, but definitely carried through into the cake. Regular Bailey’s will work fine in this recipe, although the Bailey’s Mint Chocolate Irish Cream I used will work out even better because it adds another layer of chocolate mint to the cupcake.
Aside from the Bailey’s, the cakes themselves don’t have any mint in them. The majority of the mint flavor comes from some sweet and potent frosting that is spread on top of the cakes. I think that the cakes taste best without mint in them and the clarity of the mint flavor really comes through exceptionally well in the frosting. The chocolate drizzle on top ofthe cupcakes is made with unsweetened chocolate. Don’t worry about it being too bitter, though. It balances well with the sweet mint frosting and prevents the whole dessert from being too sweet. And besides, there is only a very small amount on top of each cupcake.
I made both mini cupcakes and regular ones with this recipe. If you bake all minis, you’ll get 48 bite-sized cupcakes. If you bake all full-sized cakes, you’ll get 16. Baking time for the minis is 10-12 minutes. Baking time for regular size is 18-21 minutes. For me, the full sized cakes were gorgeous, but the minis got eaten up much faster. You can’t go wrong with either size.