This recipe was brought to my attention by my Seattle Muse who saw this picture. I decided to track the recipe down and make it. This picture has been “pinned” on social networking sites many times; I tracked the recipe down at the Better Homes and Gardens site, I found that nearly 40 people had rated the recipe such that it was at least a 4 star rating.
When I first made the recipe, I ran into several problems. Perhaps the biggest two were that when the batter is finished, the chocolate batter is far denser than the white batter, and so it is difficult to get the two batters into the cupcake papers with a nice vertical split of black and white. The white batter wants to flow over the chocolate batter giving a more marbled, if not horizontal split of black and white.
The second problem was with what they called the icing. It just didn’t come together. Instead I was left with brown fluff which was slightly moistened powdered sugar. I cheated on the recipe at this point and added more moisture until the “icing” came together. Even then, it was too stiff to swirl. (I was taught by my friends at the Decorette Shop that this is a glaze, not an icing).
At that point, I read the recipe reviews; there were only two. The newest review was interesting from the point that it said simply– please email the correct recipe for the icing–. So for a year, nothing had been done to the recipe on the web site. I wrote my own review calling the web site out for not correcting the errors.
That got some results. Colleen, the test kitchen cook wrote a new review stating that —all the recipes on the web site are tested before being published. She got a good vertical separation of the batters by using two scoops, one in each hand, and releasing them together for the cupcake. And, oops, there is an error in the icing recipe–. Is that not total vindication and an oxymoron? The recipe is tested but there is an error!
Anyway, I had already embarked on a process of discovering how to do it better. I first felt I had to address the size of the recipe which stated it made 28 cupcakes- who wants to make 28 cupcakes at a time? I mean, the muffin tins come in multiples of 6; I have a lot of tins and this would take all of them. My approach was to reduce the recipe to 6 cupcakes while experimenting; it is easy for anyone to double the recipe once or twice to get 12, 18, or 24 cupcakes, as many cupcakes as they would like.
My second step was to even out the density of the two batters. This could be done by either thickening the white batter with more flour, or thinning the chocolate batter by adding water. It turns out I did both. I thickened all the batter, then when I added the chocolate to half the batter, I also added water to keep the batters more consistent. That is the recipe I am giving you here. Here is the picture of my results.
Black and White Irish Cream Cupcakes
For 6 cupcakes
- Allow butter and egg to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Prepare 6 muffin cups with cupcake papers. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Mix the cocoa powder in the boiling water and stir with a rubber spatula until smooth; let cool.
- Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, liqueur, and vanilla and beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the egg and beat well.
- Alternate the flour mixture and buttermilk, beating on low speed after each addition just to combine.
- Divide batter in half (about 3/4 cup); stir dissolved cocoa in one half. Fill cupcake papers with some of each batter.
- Bake about 20 minutes; cool for 5 minutes in pan on racks. Remove and cool completely.
- Spread tops with Irish Cream Ganache; let stand about 1 hour to set. Spoon Irish Cream Glaze onto centers of cupcakes and spread with the tip of a spoon or knife.
Irish Cream Glaze
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Irish Cream Liqueur
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- In a small bowl stir ingredients together. Glaze needs to be thin enough to spread; add drops of water and stir if it is too thick. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar by the teaspoon at a time.
Irish Cream Ganache
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 Tablespoon Irish Cream liqueur
- Bring heavy cream to a boil; remove from heat and add chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes. Add liqueur and stir until smooth. Cool until slightly thickened.
The two batters are more consistent now, but are still too thin to stay on their own sides of the cupcake while the second batter is scooped and put in. Thus, if the vertical divide is really important for the looks, I think you will have to go with what Colleen says and put the two batters in the cupcake simultaneously using two scoops and two hands. Maybe a friend will offer to help with this step and handle one of the scoops.
I think the ganache recipe is superb, and will save and use it even without the black and white cupcakes. However, the glaze is not the right stuff to use on the cupcakes; I made some and refrigerated them for a couple days, and the glaze all melted where it was on the ganache. There is too much liquid in the ganache for the glaze. I would suggest using a simple Royal Icing or Buttercream, but must admit I need to try it first myself. But, do not expect the glaze to look nice after a couple days!
The cook time seems to be somewhat critical. I left a batch in the oven for an extra 5 minutes and it dried the cupcakes out and made than hard- more like biscuits- rather than soft and moist. The 20 minutes is just right for me.
I did learn one other trick from the recipe- how to make cupcakes without papers. This is nice since you then do not need to peel papers and have a trash receptacle around. All it takes is to grease and flour the muffin tins; the cupcakes turn right out. I tried it with a cooking spray the first time, but I disliked getting the tops of the muffin tins all sticky and messed up. So the second time, I used shortening and kept it inside the indentations, and then floured them; this worked well. The only trouble was when I was scooping the batters and trying to handle two scoops simultaneously, they would drip onto the top of the muffin tins. Other than looking bad before and after being in the oven, the muffin pan cleaned up easily.
The original recipe used only the white of the egg; I might go back and try that again. I dislike throwing the yolk away, and my thoughts are that first, it might be adding some color to the white batter, and second, it might be stiffing the cooked cake since it does contain cholesterol.
Notes: 8/21/2015- I baked some more of these cupcakes, and at the last minute decided to experiment with further stiffening the dough. So I added another 1/4 cup of flour making it a total of 1 cup flour instead of the 3/4 cup. It made for more total batter- I could have made at least 7 cupcakes, and the amount of batter to save for the white side needs to be increased if you are doing this; my seventh cupcake would have been totally chocolate. I was worried about the cooked product being dry; it wasn’t. It was nice and soft, with the exception of the outside. I cooked the cupcakes an extra 3 minutes to make certain they were cooked completely; I have a tendency to under-bake my products, and was reminded of that this week and decided I had to get out of that mode- thus the extra cooking time. As noted, unfortunately that dries out the outside and the cupcakes are slightly crusty. I will say that stiffening the batter did make a difference in getting it into the cupcakes; it is nearly enough to do each half as a separate operation instead of putting both colors into the cupcake simultaneously.