For the Cakes
- In a small sauce pan, bring the ale (or the beer if you choose to use beer instead) to a gentle boil over a medium heat. Turn down to a simmer and allow it to reduce to 2/3s cup. Once reduced, set aside until completely cooled and at room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC).
- If using regular cupcake wrappers, line 16 wells in muffin pans, if using larger cupcake wrappers as pictured in this post, then prepare 10 or 12 on a baking sheet. Set aside.
- Sift and whisk dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl: flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla until completely smooth. You may need to sift the sugar first to eliminate lumps prior to whisking.
- Pour wet into dry and whisk until completely combined.
- Pour in the reduced ale and whisk chocolate batter until completely smooth. Batter will be fairly thin. Do not overmix!
- Ladle into liners. About 2/3s full is plenty.
- Bake regular sized cupcakes 19-21 minutes, oversized cups as shown in this post for 30-34 minutes, minis for 11-13 minutes. Once baked allow them to cool completely before decorating.
For the Frosting:
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on medium high speed, beat butter and shortening together until fluffy and well combined. About 5 minutes.
- Add in Cocoa powder and vanilla flavoring and beat on medium for about 2 minutes.
- In two additions, add in the sifted powdered sugar and beat on medium speed until well combined.
- Add in Irish Cream to thin the frosting to the proper consistency. Start with 2 tablespoons and add more as needed.
Cupcakes shown in this recipe were done using a Wilton 1M tip to swirl frosting onto the top of the cupcake. You can frost your cupcakes in the way most comfortable to you.
Garnish with sprinkles as desired as soon as frosting is piped. Sprinkles won’t stick as well if you wait too long to apply the sprinkles.