The Luck of the Irish (Car Bomb)

Happy belated St Patty’s Day to all those who like to pretend to be Irish every March 17th…or the weekend before March 17th…or the weekend after…

I am not Irish. I’m proudly Portuguese and Italian with a little Russian mixed in, but I do enjoy a lovely Irish beer now and then. On special occasions, like March 17th, I usually take the time to delight in a lovely Irish car bomb. If you don’t frequent the bar scene, an Irish car bomb is enjoyed by dropping a shot of Bailey’s (or any other) Irish Cream liqueur into a healthy glass of Guinness beer and drinking very, very quickly. If you’re a hearty lass who already enjoys the flavors of the beer and liqueur and you drink it quickly, it’ll taste like a carbonated chocolate milk shake. If you’re a little less Irish and you drink it too slowly, it’ll taste like chocolate milk gone sour. Eww.

If you’re not up for taking a trip to ‘ye olde pub to suck one of these down, you could instead make these cupcakes.  They’re slightly more family-friendly and cost efficient.

And probably a little easier to swallow.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Stuff You’ll Need

Makes 18 Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup or one stick unsalted butter or 1 Earth Balance vegan buttery stick, softened
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature, or 2 eggs’ worth egg replacer
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup Guinness beer at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Irish Cream liqueur

For the Frosting

  • 1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter or 2 Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks, softened
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp meringue powder (optional, but keeps the frosting sturdy and fresh for longer)
  • 2 Tbsp Irish Cream liqueur
  • Pinch of salt
  • Icing bag fitted with a large star tip, green gel food coloring, small craft paint brush

How to Do It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line two muffin pans with 18 paper liners.
  2. Place the flours, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, salt, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, and chocolate chips in a mixing bowl. Blend on low speed for 1 minute, just to combine.
  3. Combine the beer and the liqueur in a glass measuring cup with a spout, and pour half of the liquid into the flour mixture. Blend on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  4. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed, and add the remaining liquid. Beat on medium speed for an additional minute.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to scoop the cupcake batter into the prepared pans, only filling them 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.
  6. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool slightly in the pan. Move to a wire rack as soon as possible to finish cooling.
  7. Prepare the frosting while the cupcakes are baking and cooling by whipping the butter, liqueur, salt, and meringue powder until creamy. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar a cup at a time, and scrape the sides as needed. Add additional confectioner’s sugar if you’re looking for a stiffer consistency for decorating.
  8. To decorate the cupcakes like the pictures below, use a small craft paint brush and green gel food coloring (it will not work with liquid food coloring). Dip the paint brush into the gel coloring, and paint a single streak inside the icing bag from the tip to half way up the bag. Repeat this process in regular intervals around the bag, spacing the stripes about 1/2″ apart. Fill the bag with frosting as usual. Pipe the frosting starting in the center of the cupcake, and move in tight, concentric circles around the center. The dye will color the edges of the frosting.

Recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Tip: I tried making these cupcakes completely vegan without realizing that Irish Cream liqueur has real cream in it. 😦 However, if you’re looking to make these completely vegan-friendly, King Arthur Flour and some other specialty merchants offer Irish Cream flavoring similar to an extract.


  1. Deborah Frano says:

    these came out incredible.

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