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Friday, March 2, 2012

Luck O' The Irish Cupcakes


St. Patrick's Day will soon be here and these chocolate and mint cupcakes would do him proud!  Light and full of flavor.  And, okay, I admit it: there is no Irish whiskey in these, but the GREEN is amazing and so are the mints in these babies.  Andes mints are hiding in there and on top.  I brought these into work and all 12 were gone by 9am.  I had 3 of these cupcakes consumed without even leaving my cubicle by 3 VERY hungry men! 

Unabashed consumption of breakfast cupcakes--a sight to warm my heart.   

These cupcakes are based on the Grasshopper cocktail, which my parents drank when I was little, like when I was 4 and 5 years old.  I remember these, even as a very young kid.  Obviously.  :)  Probably the first cocktail I ever knew about.  They are legend in my family stories of our time at Picatinny Arsenel in New Jersey.  Yes, I'm sorta an Army brat and believe it or not, my dad was a REAL rocket scientist.  Those were back in the lazy days of playing outside all day and watching the tar bubble up in the roads on a hot summer day.  Not wearing shoes and learning the phrase, "It's either: IN or OUT!"

I used Jacqueline's famous Mint Julep Cupcake recipe as the basis for this cupcake.  I am truly amazed by this recipe.  This are the BEST recipe so far as they achieve the crumb and moisture I've been searching for since we started this blog.  Give them a try and you won't be disappointed. 

And, look, can't you just smell the mint and see how luscious these are?  No delayed gratification this time!
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Get your ingredients together.  Yes, those are Andes mints BAKING CHIPS!!!!!!
Follow the directions to make the batter.  I didn't take pics of those steps so please see other posts if you'd like to see each step.  And, alas, I forgot to add in the green gel coloring to the milk mixture and added it before the flour additions...Still worked out okay.  Got a bit confused, I guess.     
Okay, so it's very important to this batter that the final portion of flour not be over mixed.  We learned earlier that too much beating makes for too much gluten formation which leads to a rubbery texture.  We don't want that!  By hand, fold in the Andres baking chips, being careful not to over beat.  Batter will be loose and light and OH SO GREEN!
Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Lookey here...
And, here...Little Andes mint eruptions!
Go ahead...make the frosting.  You really shouldn't wait...I make this frosting everytime and I usually have a photo of it in the bowl.  This time I wanted to show the final consistency that I like to use for piping.  It sort of just falls into the piping bag.  Kinda loose, kinda not.  You DO NOT want runny.  Someday, I will have video.  Promise.  :)
Look how beautiful and festive and SO VERY IRISH!
I use only large piping tips these days.  The ONLY way to go!!

Luck O the Irish Cupcakes {adapted from Jacqueline’s Mint Julep Cupcakes}


Cupcakes (makes 12 cupcakes)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
2 cups flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk or half and half (use the half and half, trust me)
1/4 cup Vodka
1/4 cup Crème de Menthe
1/4 cup Crème de Cocoa (use only the white)
Green food coloring or gel
1/3 to 1/2 cup Andes Crème de Menthe baking chips

Mint Buttercream Frosting1 stick salted butter
1 teaspoon mint extract
1 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 Tbsp Crème de Menthe
1 Tbsp Crème de Cocoa (use only the white)
1 Tbsp cream or milk
Green food coloring or gel
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
Corn syrup
Andes Crème de Menthe baking chips and green sprinkles for decoration

To Make the Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350º F and line 12 cupcake cups.
Combine salt, baking powder, cream of tartar and 1 1/2 cups of the flour in a bowl and set aside.  In a measuring cup, combine and mix the milk, vodka, liqueurs and green food coloring/gel and set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well.  Add the extracts and beat until creamy. On low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture alternating with the milk mixture. Add the last 1/2 cup of flour at the end. Mix as little as possible and just until the batter comes together.  By hand, fold in Andres baking chips, being careful not to over beat.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cups.  I used a #12 scope and added maybe 1/2 Tbsp more batter to each cup.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Make the Mint Buttercream
With a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium until broken up, but not smooth about 1 minute (you don't want you butter to get too hot=runny).  Add the extracts, liqueurs, milk and food coloring/gel.  Beat on medium for one minute, scrape bowl until just emulsified.  Beat for another minute, scrape bowl. 

Slowly add in all the confectioners’ sugar.  Beat on medium for 1 minute, scrape bowl.  Beat on medium for 1 minute, scrape bowl. To achieve desired spreading/piping consistency:  Add 1 tbsp corn syrup and beat for 30 seconds, repeat as necessary until desired consistency.   Beat for 1 minute on medium high.  Decorate! 

P.S. So, you all know I strive to be Italian, but these cupcakes may just tip the scales towards becoming Irish...No. Wait!  I can become Italian-Irish or Irish-Italian, which ever way you please!!
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  1. Erin-go-braugh! These are beautiful and the Irish in me are longing for a taste right now;-)
    I love St. Patrick's Day and these cupcakes will make a lovely addition to my dessert table this year...I'm going to have to make my batter from scratch (just because Mom would be very disappointed). LOL!
    Poof! You're Irish! XOXO

    1. Good morning, Susan! These really are so easy and turn out great. I think they just have the right ratios of fat, flour, levening and liquid. Pretty, too. When are you coming over for tea and a cupcake? :) P.S. I'm looking for a booze-infused sugar cookie recipe to make St. Patrick's Day iced cookies...I'm on a mission today. Plus, that green gel coloring is too cool not to play with again!

    2. Oh, dear friend, I'd be there in a second if we only lived closer :-D!

  2. Oh my gosh my mouth is watering! I want a cupcake now, bad. Beautiful cupcakes!

    1. Thanks, Dorothy! These are keepers...And, perhaps the basis for all cupcakes to come! :)

  3. Where did you find the Andes Crème de Menthe baking chips?

    1. Hi Sara! I found the baking chips at Target! We have one of those big T's with all the food in our town now. I can even get King Arthur flour at a reasonable price. A must with all this baking I now do. Good luck and let me know if you make these and how they turn out. :)))

  4. These are really sounding good right now!! What a great color they are. I hope you'll link up to my St. Patty's Day Project Parade.


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