Regular English Mum readers will know that Ireland means a lot to us all here at English Towers. In fact, it’s the reason why this little part of the interwebz even exists. Long, long ago (eight whole years to be precise) we set off on a new adventure to the Emerald Isle and spent many happy years living first in Dublin, then later Meath and finally beautiful county Cavan.
Mr English is of Irish descent and the boys are proud of their heritage. Charlie can even wow you with a bit of Gaeilge if you ask nicely (although it’s mostly swears) so when Paddy’s Day approaches, it instills in us all a mixture of nostalgia and longing for places and friends left behind.
Still, there’s always cake. Cake makes everything right, and I thought I’d revisit that most yummy of Irishy things, the sticky Guinness cupcake. Firstly, and most importantly I’d say: don’t panic if you don’t like the idea of a Guinness flavoured cake. The idea was more to emulate the ‘look’ of Guinness, rather than the actual taste, which I have to admit I’m not a great fan of. There’s a little splash of Guinness in here (otherwise, the name would have to go) which gives just a hint of earthy flavour, but feel free to leave it out. These cupcakes are dense, gingery and a bit fudgy, so don’t overcook them. A light, soft topping of whipped cream adds to the effect, but see my notes at the bottom for other topping suggestions.
You will need:
170g salted butter, softened
200g dark brown soft sugar
2 tbsp black treacle (or golden syrup if you don’t have it)
170g self raising flour
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp Guinness.
First, then, beat the butter and sugar. Soft brown sugar is the way to go here – you want the toffee, fudgy taste that it adds:
Make sure it’s really pale and fluffy before you move on to the next step:
Add in the eggs (I like to beat them first, then add a dribble at a time, beating well between each addition) then add the black treacle. Mix well before adding in the Guinness.
Now, sieve the flour and ginger, and add in to the mix, stirring just enough to combine without overworking the mixture. Spoon into muffin cases and bake at 180 degrees/gas 4 for about 15 – 20 minutes until just springy in the middle. Remove to a rack to cool.
Meanwhile, if you want to make cream cheese icing, just whisk about 100g of cream cheese like Philadelphia with a squeeze of lemon and 200g sieved icing sugar. Or you can just spoon (or pipe) over some whipped cream. Or ganache. Or just normal glacé icing. Or just leave them plain. I’m all-encompassing on the topping front. It’s just how I roll.
I actually prefer them with ganache (click here for a how-to guide), which is scrummy but obviously you’ll lose the ‘pint of Guinness’ effect.
But whatever you decide to top them with, and wherever you are in the world, I hope you enjoy them and have a wonderful St Patrick’s Day.
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig