Chocolate stout cupcakes with Irish whiskey ganache + Irish cream frosting

Chocolate stout cupcakes with Irish whiskey ganache + Irish cream frosting

I drank my first Guinness atop the Storehouse in Dublin exactly two years ago this Sunday. It was then that I decided I didn’t particularly care for Guinness, but I did like the view from the Storehouse. Despite the gray clouds and fog that lingered over the city, it was stunning. Almost like Dublin was built for the gray. I also liked watching the men in kilts, and how they swayed ever so perfectly with their every step or turn. It was hypnotizing, almost. A nice respite from the pint of bitter syrup that set in front of my face, begging to be drank. But I just couldn’t do it. So I pushed my beer over to Thom’s side of the table and declared that I was not my father’s daughter. Because she would love and bathe in Guinness. And so that night we stumbled home drunk and I emailed my dad to tell him the unfortunate news surrounding my Guinness experience; how I hoped he wouldn’t disown me But seriously how does anyone drink that stuff?

He didn’t disown me (thank goodness) but he did write back saying how much he wished he could have been there with us, and that it was his dream to drink a Guinness at the top of the Storehouse on St. Patrick’s Day. I remember the words like it was yesterday: You’re living my dream.

That struck me in the gut. And not in a good way. Why am I living his dream? That’s not fair. I want him to live his dream. And so Thom and I spent an entire year devising a plan to surprise my dad with a trip to Ireland so that he could finally live his dream of drinking a Guinness at the Storehouse on St. Patrick’s Day. And in May of last year, we purchased the tickets and made it final; there was no turning back. Except there was because I bought travel insurance like any level headed person does when they do something as bold as buy their dad and step mom plane tickets for a surprise trip to Ireland.

Is Sharebear even going to like Ireland? I asked. Who cares, we’ll get her drunk, said Thom.

Dutch processed cocoa powderIrish whiskey ganacheChocolate stout cupcakes with Irish whiskey ganache + Irish cream frostingChocolate stout cupcakes with Irish whiskey ganache + Irish cream frosting

When it came time to surprise them with the trip, I started getting cold feet – wondering if it was too over the top and how we were going to break the news without stepping on toes on Christmas Eve morning. So we pulled them into the kitchen – my dad and step mom – and handed them a card. On the front it simply said THANKS, and the inside was filled with run on sentences about how much we’ve appreciated their unconditional love and massive support over the past half decade. And how we’d like to repay them with plane tickets to Ireland.

Their faces? Priceless. So here we are heading back to Ireland for our 2nd biennial St. Patrick’s Day trip, but this time with my other favorite man in tow. And for you? Well, I have a delicious post lined up next week – but for now I’ve got boozy cupcakes.

Chocolate stout cupcakes with Irish whiskey ganache + Irish cream frostingChocolate stout cupcakes with Irish whiskey ganache + Irish cream frosting

Notes: Do not (DOOOOO NOOOOOOT) substitute natural cocoa for the Dutch processed cocoa. I mean it. You also cannot use Hershey’s special dark cocoa in this recipe, as it’s a blend of both natural cocoa and Dutch processed cocoa. You can, however, use special dark cocoa in this recipe – just replace the punkin ale with extra stout Guinness. Because it’s vegan (unlike regular Guinness). If you’re not into the tofu, you can substitute two flax eggs for it. But the cupcakes aren’t going to be nearly as tender as the tofu version. Just sayin’.

UPDATE: Apparently North American bottled Guinness extra stout is no longer considered vegan due to suspicion that bottlers practice a filtration process that uses the bladders of some fish.


1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 cup cane sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup non-GMO canola oil
1/2 cup Guinness extra stout
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
6 tbsp soft silken tofu, blended

4 oz good quality dark chocolate, chopped
6 tbsp non-dairy milk
2 tbsp Irish whiskey

1/2 cup vegan butter, room temperature
1/4 cup non-hygrogenated shortening
2 1/4 cups powdered cane sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1/4 tsp unsulphured molasses
2-3 tbsp Irish whiskey

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt; whisk and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the oil, stout, milk, and tofu. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients; whisk just until combined. Do not over mix. Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake at 350˚F for 16-17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the ganache by adding the chocolate to a small mixing bowl; set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil then pour it over the chocolate. Let stand for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Stir in the whiskey and set aside.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, use a grapefruit spoon (or cupcake plunger if you’re fancy) (I’m not) to remove a small circle from the middle of each cupcake. I made mine big enough so they held about 2 teaspoons of ganache. Fill the centers with ganache then transfer cupcakes to a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the cupcakes are chilling, prepare the frosting by creaming the butter and shortening on high speed for about 15-20 seconds. Sift in the powdered sugar, cocoa, and espresso powder then continue mixing, on high speed, for 30-45 seconds. Mix in the molasses and whiskey; blend on high speed until light and fluffy. If the frosting is still a bit soft, sift in 1-2 tablespoons of tapioca starch. Or more sugar, but I’m not a fan of overly sweet frostings.

Once the cupcakes are ready to be frosted, spoon about 3 tablespoons of frosting onto each cupcake and smooth with the back of a spoon. Store in an air tight container for up to three days. Cupcakes made with flax eggs will only keep for two days.

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes


  • Reply Chloe Moon 14 March 2013 at 1:44 PM

    I’m not a fan of guiness but I would not be able to pass up a cupcake with this jam packed flavor! It must be so delicious!!!

  • Reply Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar 14 March 2013 at 1:57 PM

    These look so freaking fabulous! Love that frosting!!

  • Reply the cake hunter 14 March 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Oh My! They look so delicious. I love booze in my cakes. I’ve never made a cupcake with tofu so I’m really excited to work this into a recipe. Have a great time in Ireland! I’m trying out your easy caramel sauce this weekend and I can’t wait.

  • Reply Meg Sylvia 14 March 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Wow! If I were only throwing a St. Patrick’s party these would be first on the list to make! Beautiful photos, too.

  • Reply Kelly | Eat Yourself Skinny 14 March 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Yes please!! These look amazing!!

  • Reply Emily K. @ Leaf Parade 14 March 2013 at 2:29 PM

    What a lovely story — and lovely cupcakes! I agree with you about Dublin. It’s always so grey and dreary, but that’s part of why it’s so wonderful. Happy travels!
    -Emily K.

  • Reply realsimplefood 14 March 2013 at 2:35 PM

    These cupcakes look unbelievable – the crumb looks like it has the perfect texture and I would love to be able to sink my teeth into that frosting right about now. And that little bit of ganache lurking underneath the frosting? Wow.

    But, more importantly I think, what a sweet gesture! My sister and I have been dreaming about doing something similar for our parents after they worked so hard to put us through school. I think this is the kick in the pants I needed to just do it already!

  • Reply Ashley 14 March 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Oh my word. The reason for taking your dad to Ireland is the best. And, I love Thom’s answer about Sharebear. I hope you guys have the most amazing time ever. I’m sure you will!!! And thanks for this killer recipe. Wow. You’ve outdone yourself….again. p.s. I don’t like Guinness either.

  • Reply Little Kitchie 14 March 2013 at 3:21 PM

    Such a great story! Love, love, love this. And those cupcakes – holy deliciousness.

  • Reply Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker 14 March 2013 at 3:24 PM

    What an absolutely fantastic gift to give your dad! You definitely win daughter of the year. Have a wonderful trip!

  • Reply The Casual Baker 14 March 2013 at 4:47 PM

    What a sweet gesture. Have an amazing trip!

  • Reply MMS 14 March 2013 at 6:27 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply Martha 14 March 2013 at 6:28 PM

    I love everything about this post–from the cupcakes (yum), to the Guinness (YUM), to the Irish-ness of it all, and most especially? For how sweet you are to have done that for your father!! I love reading your blog always, but I finally had to comment when I read this :) Can’t wait to see what’s next! xo

  • Reply 14 March 2013 at 7:13 PM

    How awesome! That’s such a great gesture and coincidentally I’m going to Dublin for St Patrick’s Day this year too, maybe I’ll see ya there!

  • Reply sara forte 14 March 2013 at 7:55 PM

    I’m inspired by the gesture and your generosity. SO inspired. Have the best time!

  • Reply Hena Tayeb 14 March 2013 at 8:37 PM


  • Reply Kathryne 14 March 2013 at 10:30 PM

    Well, if you two aren’t the best gifters ever, I don’t know who is! I am still so mad at myself for not touring the Guinness brewery when I was in Dublin. I suppose I’ll just have to go back someday. I do love Guiness, and have consumed my fair share of Irish car bombs in my super-classy bartending days, so I’m all for these cupcakes.

  • Reply Kristy 15 March 2013 at 12:10 AM

    So, you just won the title of Best Daughter Ever. Can I be your dad? :-)

    Also, these cupcakes look wonderful!

  • Reply Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} 15 March 2013 at 12:23 AM

    Yummy looking cupcakes, I bet the Guiness gives them a great depth of flavor. Ireland is one country that I would really LOVE to visit. My husband’s family is Irish and it would be an amazing experience to travel to Ireland with him and our kids.

    Have fun with Thom and your dad and Sharebear!

  • Reply TheCookieFairy 15 March 2013 at 7:03 AM

    That’s so funny, I just made a chocolate stout cake yesterday for my blog! Haha, guess it’s popular around this time of year ;) I wasn’t sure I was going to like it considering I don’t like Guinness or any kind of stout, but it works surprisingly well with chocolate. These cupcakes look divine, I wish I had one right now!

  • Reply Rebecca 15 March 2013 at 11:20 AM

    OOhhhh I love these cupcakes! I have just come across your blog and love it! Will follow, really great stuff :D Take care! :)

  • Reply Jade Sheldon 16 March 2013 at 2:09 AM

    This really speaks to my heart: I dream of someday being able to give a trip to my dad too. My parents are the type of people who aren’t really into traveling (not sure where I got the travel bug from!) but ever since I can remember, my dad has talked about seeing a baseball game at wrigley field. I’d love to be able to do that for him someday.

    Wishing you all a wonderful trip! My husband is extremely jealous. And don’t feel bad: I’m not a Guinness fan either…

  • Reply Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe 16 March 2013 at 2:32 AM

    What a fabulous surprise – and what fabulous cupcakes! Enjoy your trip!

  • Reply Dawn 17 March 2013 at 2:57 AM

    Oh, yes you did! I love both Guinness and Whisky, and so these could be my dream cupcake, Car Bomb Cupcakes! :-) I just made chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting (Scary Librarian Cupcakes) and drank whisky with them…is that good enough? I guess I’m a lazy bomber.

    Vegan Fazool Blog

  • Reply raechel @the rebel grrrl kitchen 17 March 2013 at 1:54 PM

    I love, love, love that story about your dad! I feel similar feelings when I tell my mom about certain experiences or trips I have, and try to do what I can to treat her to her own special things, because she sure deserves it.

    These cupcakes look wonderful! I think I will try making them for a belated St. Paddy’s Day party that’s happening next weekend.

  • Reply Swiss Miss in the kitchen 20 March 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Dear Ashlae

    I think you have one of the most beautiful blogs out there! Love it

  • Reply Ginny McMeans 20 March 2013 at 10:18 PM

    This recipe is amazing. Thanks for crating it!

  • Reply Little Box Brownie 10 June 2013 at 10:13 PM

    This looks so moist and delicious, you have such a beautiful blog.

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  • Reply Rylan 3 February 2014 at 6:55 PM

    How is your icing white?
    I made twice. Once with the cane sugar and once with white icing sugar and it always took on the brown color of the espresso powder and cocoa powder =\

    They tasted great though!

    • Reply Ashlae 3 February 2014 at 7:12 PM

      Hi Rylan –

      My frosting was tan, too! It just looks white in these photos because I was shooting in natural daylight. Happy you liked them. :)

      • Reply Rylan 3 February 2014 at 10:46 PM

        Ohhh OK! I was really confused :P
        Thanks for reply and recipe. Mmm MMM

  • Reply Courtney 13 March 2014 at 12:56 AM

    Question: If these are meant to be vegan, why do you use Guinness as it uses isinglass additive in processing?

    • Reply Ashlae 13 March 2014 at 12:20 PM

      Hi Courtney –

      Up until May of last year, after the post went live, Guinness Extra Stout brewed in North America WAS vegan. They now use a filtration process that utilizes fish bladders (isinglass). If you read through the entire post, you would have seen that there’s a disclaimer before the recipe indicating that GES is no longer vegan.

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  • Reply Sini | my blue&white kitchen 15 March 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Guinness and chocolate are a pairing made in heaven! I’ve made a chocolate guinness cake, and it was amazing. These cupcakes look truly delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • Reply Laurie 31 July 2014 at 6:35 PM

    Is there a vegan substitute for the Guinness stout that you could recommend?

  • Reply Gemma 4 September 2014 at 3:20 PM

    I was looking for a nice fluffy frosting with not too much sugar (I’ve seen several ones using more than 1lb!!!) and this one looks amazing! :-) The espresso powder must give it a special touch, different from the regular frostings.

    Great recipe!


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