Birthdays can be so self-serving. And I’m not talking about when you are the birthday gal (or guy), I’m talking about when you decide to make someone a birthday treat. I look forward to my friends’ and family members’ birthdays probably just as much as they do, because it’s an excuse to make a cake. Sure, it tastes yummy to them and they appreciate the treat (after all, what’s a birthday without cake or cupcakes?) but for me it’s a perfect excuse to flex my baking muscles. I often put a lot of thought into what I, as the baker, want out of the cake. Hopefully that is in line with what the birthday person wants too
This past weekend was my brother Jared’s big birthday – he’s 21! In my book, turning 21 calls for boozy cupcakes. I wanted something that was deliciously unique that he would love, but I also decided it was time to invest in some decorating tips and practice my cupcake icing. Because to me, food is almost as much about looks as it is about taste. I turned to one of my most trustworthy blogs, BakingBites, and selected her recipe for Bailey’s Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes. I adore mint chocolate chip ice cream and I’m pretty sure my brother does too, so I counted on this being a winner. Instead the icing Nicole made, I went with a classic chocolate buttercream to which I also added a touch of Bailey’s and peppermint extract.
This recipe was fantastic – I was truly impressed by the taste and texture of the cupcakes. The mini chocolate chips in the cupcakes make it a total winner! I was equally delighted by my frosting capabilities, after a few rounds of practice. I learned that it’s really not that difficult, with a little effort and a tiny investment you can easily upgrade your cupcakes from the slathered-on-with-a-knife type icing to a bakery-worthy beauty. I know they’re not perfect, but for a first try, I was psyched!
Bailey’s Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Chocolate Mint Bailey’s Irish Cream(or regular Bailey’s + 1/2 tsp peppermint extract) – I did the latter
1/4 cup milk (I omitted and used extra liquor)
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking tin of your choice – mini muffin pan or regular cupcake pan – with paper liners. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Mix in half of the flour mixture, followed by the Irish cream and milk, then mix in the remaining flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.Distribute batter evenly into prepared muffin cups (each will be roughly 2/3 or 3/4 full).Bake regular-sized cupcakes for 18-21 minutes.Bake mini cupcakes for 10-12 minutes.A tester inserted into the center will come out clean when the cupcakes are done. Tops should be domed and very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack before frosting.