Dessert With An Irish Kick: Guinness Cupcakes

Get in touch with your inner Irish kid with this tasty recipe.  A hint of Guinness gives this treat a little kick, and the cream cheese frosting atop these moist chocolate cupcakes make them a true indulgence!  Whenever I make these, my fans tell me they are, "the best cupcakes ever tasted."  Strong words for a little cupcake, but you be the judge.

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes:

- 1 and 1/2 cups Guinnes Stout (plus a little extra to brush on the cakes after baking)
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 3/4 cup Sour Cream
- 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
- 2 and 1/2 cups Flour
- 3 Eggs
- 3/4 cup Cocoa Powder
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1, 8oz package Cream Cheese at room temperature
- 3 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 stick Butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl (Guinness, milk, sour cream, oil, vanilla, eggs) one at a time until mixed well.  In a separate bowl, combine and sift dry ingredients (sugar, flour, baking soda, cocoa).  Fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (remember: don't use an eletric mixer immediately, or you'll get flour dust everywhere!).  Pour batter into prepared cupcake pan (with wither paper cupcake cups or butter and floured), and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes.  When cupcakes are halfway cooled.  Paint tops of cupcakes with extra Guinness for more flavor!

For frosting:  Cream butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer until combined. Add vanilla and mix well.  Sift powdered sugar into cream mixture and carefully mix together.  Frost the cupcakes and enjoy!

Note: Feel free to dust the completed cupcakes with sifted cocoa powder.  You could also draw a clover in the frosting with a knife on each cupcake, mimicing the famous Guinness head clover done by the talented bartenders out there.  Don't be afriad to get creative and festive.  Any Guinness lover would be proud, and if you're not a Guinness lover, you soon will be!

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