Healthier Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Baileys Cream Cheese Frosting

While Irish Soda Bread is a great anytime treat (as I happily enjoy it for breakfast, snack, afternoon tea, or dessert), this March favorite is reserved for “prize time” in our house (after dinner).  Four years ago, a dear friend shared this recipe for Guiness Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese frosting.  It is dense, rich, decadent and absolutely delicious.  The calories were well worth the splurge – I was hooked!  Then, I discovered a lightened up version of Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Bailey Cream Cheese Frosting. Though my trusted recipe resources rarely steer my wrong, I usually keep my expectations low when trying something new.  I will spoil the ending – this recipe is not the same as the full fat version, but it does not at all disappoint.

I made no modifications to the recipe for the cupcakes.  I will leave you to follow it at Skinnytaste – click here for that.  I admit that I hate sifting – it seems a waste of time.  But, I take the extra time for this recipe as I do think it makes a difference.  While they are baking, you will note that the aroma from the oven is hearty but not nauseating…my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Then the best prize is revealed – almost perfectly domed cupcakes.  I swear you’d think that I am an expert baker…experienced, yes, expert, no.  You will feel how dense the cake is when doing the toothpick check for doneness.

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I am disappointed to say that I have yet to achieve the same consistency with the frosting as she seems to, by looking at her beautiful photos.  I even modified her recipe by using 2 cups of powdered sugar instead of just 1/2.  I have not tried to tweak the cream cheese, though (using regular instead of less fat or combining cream cheese and butter)…maybe next year?  But, be advised that your frosting may be disappointingly runny, even after refrigeration.  If you do try to pipe on the frosting, use a bigger tip.  I used a 1M.  It doesn’t look all that bad and, honestly, when you taste these, you won’t care at all.

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So, the taste.  The cupcakes are moist and dense.  The chocolate is rich but not sweet nor bitter.  I think that the chocolate and stout are perfectly proportioned – the flavors are present but don’t compete with each other.  There is certainly a difference between this and full-fat version…but, duh, it’s missing a whole cup of butter and an extra egg.  But, eating one of these does not leave me missing any of those ingredients, at all!  (I also don’t miss the guilt in wanting or eating a second one.)  The frosting is the perfect compliment – you can definitely taste the Baileys but it is not overwhelming.  This is a great adult cupcake – not that you’d want to share any of these with the kids anyways.  Enjoy!

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