Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes


It’s been many moons since I’ve had an Irish car bomb, but whenever St. Patrick’s Day rolls around I find myself thinking about that delicious, milkshake-like drink. To honor the patron saint of beer I whipped up some cupcakes that incorporate all the boozy components of the quintessential St. Paddy’s drink…without the hangover. You don’t have to slam these like the drink, but I won’t judge you if you do. They’re that good.

The traditional car bomb uses Guiness, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and Jameson. Around here, we tend to buck tradition and wanted to use ingredients that were local. I used Loowit War Tortoise Barrel Aged Stout (brewed in Vancouver, WA) baked into the cupcakes, Woodinville Bourbon Whiskey (distilled in Woodinville, WA) swirled in the ganache, and Five Farms Irish Cream (not local – Cork, Ireland) whipped in the icing.

The following measurements will yield 12 cupcakes.

Chocolate Cake

My go-to chocolate cake recipe is none other than Hershey’s that I’ve adapted slightly over the years. It yields an insanely moist and flavorful cake that has yet to fail me. For this version, I swapped beer for the coffee.

  • 1.5 oz dark chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup stout of your choosing
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk – I use 1/2 C milk with a tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder – can use regular cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt

Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare muffin tin.

Place chocolate chips and beer in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until chocolate is melted. Whisk together until smooth.

In a medium bowl or measuring cup, mix together buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until combined. With mixer on low, gradually pour in the milk mixture and mix until combined (~30 seconds). Slowly add the chocolate and beer mixture until combined.

Divide mixture evenly in the muffin tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.


  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) dark chocolate chips – or your favorite kind of chocolate
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons whiskey – can add more or less depending on your desired booziness

Heat heavy whipping cream in microwave-safe dish until hot but not boiling (~45 seconds – 1 minute). Add chocolate chips and let sit for 5 minutes. Gently stir the mixture until smooth. Add whiskey and mix to combine. Allow ganache to cool; it will thicken as it cools and you may want to put it in the fridge or freezer to speed up the process.

Irish Cream Frosting

  • 1 cup of butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup Irish cream

In large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter on high until light and fluffy (~5 minutes). Slowly add powdered sugar in 1/4 cup increments allowing mixture to combine before adding more (this helps decrease the graininess you sometimes get with American buttercreams). Once all the sugar has been added, pour in the Irish cream and continue whipping until light and fluffy (~3-4 minutes).


Once cupcakes are cooled, use a knife to cut a small hole in the top of each cupcake. Spoon a generous amount of ganache into the hole. Frost the cupcakes using your favorite method (I used a Wilton 1M tip).


Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake


Around mid-February, when it feels like the winter will never end, I get a craving for all things fresh, bright, and summery. Enter the lemon poppy seed pound cake. This bread is moist and bursting with lemon flavor. The poppy seeds add a fun texture and the glaze adds an extra punch of lemon. It’s perfect for breakfast, a mid-morning snack, or any time you’re craving a sweet treat. As always, we love ours paired with a good cup of coffee.


Lemon poppy seed pound cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 1/2 large lemons (~2 tablespoons)
  • Juice of 1/2 large lemon (~2 tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 F and grease and flour an 8″x4″ bread pan.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine softened butter and sugar and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy (~3-4 minutes).

Mix in eggs one at a time until just combined. Then mix in vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

Alternate adding in half the flour mixture and half of the yogurt, scraping down the sides of the bowl before adding in the remaining. Do not over-mix.

Pour batter in prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove from pan and allow to cool completely.

Lemon Glaze

  • Juice of 1/2 large lemon (~2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Add additional juice or sugar as needed to achieve the desired consistency. I also added some lemon zest, because you can’t have too much lemon flavor.

Once cake is cooled, drizzle glaze over the top.




Lemon Cranberry Muffins

It’s no secret that we love muffins. To change it up from our weekly banana nut muffins and to use up some leftover cranberries, I decided to whip up some lemon cranberry muffins. This cranberries are cooked before being added to the batter to remove some of their inherent tartness, and then lemon adds such a brightness.  I also added poppy seeds, which aren’t necessary, but balance out the tartness of the lemon with a slight nuttiness.




  • 1 1/2 C  all-purpose flour
  • 1 C whole wheat flour – can sub all-purpose if desired
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t  salt
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C milk
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 C fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 2 T water


Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

Place cranberries, brown sugar, and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium until cranberries start to pop. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

In a medium bowl, mix together oil, eggs, milk, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add to dry mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in cranberries.

Divide into muffin tin and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.



Phoenix Eats

A little rundown of places we enjoyed.


Matt here – Added my own Phoenix Coffee post with a bit more detail on my professional blog –


Cartel – coffee roaster in downtown Phoenix. Multiple pour over options to choose from, all with a smooth finish.

Press – local roaster right on Central Ave. They have a handful of pour over options from single-origin growers to fit any flavor profile preferences, and you can choose your brew method (Chemex, Kalita, etc.).

Giant Coffee – dog friendly coffee bar in a large, open space. They roast their own beans and do a pretty solid cup of joe.


Rainbow Donuts

Matt’s Big Breakfast – good breakfast spot downtown. Ample portion sizes and fresh-made food. They make their bread and jam in-house and have fresh-ground coffee brewed locally just for them. Go hungry and early because it can get busy for the brunch crowd.

Rainbow Donuts – we only tried one donut shop, but we didn’t need to try any more! Rainbow has a seemingly endless menu, and they do them all extremely well. We went with our classic order: jelly filled, custard filled, glazed, and apple fritter and they were all perfect.


Kaleidoscope – located downtown next to Cartel, this place is serving up fresh and healthy options. Choose from smoothies, juices, protein bowls, and sandwiches. They don’t skimp on the veggies and protein in the bowls and it’s always nice to have a healthy option when you’re out and about.

Poke Catcher – fast lunch spot in Central Phoenix. Fresh poke and all the toppings make for a quick and healthy lunch option.

Carolina’s – don’t be deterred by the location, Carolina’s is serving up authentic Mexican on the cheap! They make the tortillas in house and the food is a slam-dunk. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu and the burros and chimis hit the spot. Don’t forget to get a bag of chips!




St. Francis – a great happy hour option located in Central Phoenix. $5 drink specials and sharable small plates.

Little Cleo’s – located at The Yard, a veritable outdoor adult playground with multiple restaurants and games (cornhole, shuffleboard, etc.). We went for the happy hour special of $1 oysters on the half shell and $2 champagne.

O.H.S.O. Brewing – dog friendly brewery serving up plenty of house-brewed beers. Snickers gives the spent-grain treats four enthusiastic paws up, and we thoroughly enjoyed the brewer’s cheese and charcuterie board with an added smoked sausage made next door. They’ve also got a great happy hour special on beer – $7 for a pitcher (normally $6 for a pint).

Taco Guild – tacos in an old Methodist church. They’ve maintained a lot of the original pieces – including a number of stained glass windows – which makes for a great juxtaposition of old and new. You can’t go wrong with the unique taco offerings on the menu, but be sure to check out the daily taco (it was fried chicken with mashed potatoes and a green chili gravy when we went) and don’t forget to get a margarita to wash it down.

Presidio Cocina – upscale Latin food with good happy hour specials. Food is very fresh and flavorful and you can’t beat a $5 real margarita!

Forno 301 – Italian and pizza. They make the pasta in-house, and serve up wood-fired pizzas. We tried the caprese salad, which included half a plate of prosciutto along with the mozzarella and tomato, arugula salad, and the Forno 301 pizza. Everything was fresh and delicious and paired well with the Italian Moretti beer.


Creamistry – very cool concept! The ice cream is made to order using liquid nitrogen to freeze the milk. Incredibly creamy with lots of unique flavor options and mix-ins.

Nami – vegan soft serve with plenty of fun mix-in options.