Baby, it's cold outside. Well, it's a little chilly, at least. Perfect Irish coffee weather! And perfect baking weather! Two great things that go great together. Or maybe it's someone's birthday this weekend. And cupcakes are so not trendy at this point, you don't need to feel like a cliche when you make them. OK, enough rationalizing. You don't need a reason to make David Lebovitz's boozy and amazing Irish coffee cupcakes (for adults only). Go preheat the oven!
Irish Coffee Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup strong brewed coffee
6 Tbs. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2. Into a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a medium saucepan, heat the coffee until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa until dissolved, then add the 1/2 cup unsalted butter, stirring until melted. Whisk in the brown sugar and let cool until tepid. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, then stir in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Don't overmix.
4. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners and bake until the cupcakes feel just set in the center, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool completely.
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 Tbs. salted butter, at room temperature
6 Tbs. powdered sugar
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. Irish cream liqueur, such as Bailey's Irish Cream
1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a food processor fitted with a metal blade, beat together the cream cheese, 4 Tbs. salted butter, and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the Irish cream liqueur.
2. To fill the cupcakes, use a sharp knife to cut a 2-inch cone-shaped hole in the center of each cupcake. Remove the plug-like pieces. Trim off the tip of each plug to create a disk-shaped piece that is 1/3 inch thick. Save these disks for capping the filled cupcakes. (What to do with the leftover triangles of cupcake? I recommend smearing a bit of filling on top, dunking in the glaze, and popping them into your mouth one at a time.)
3. Divide the filling among the cupcakes, then gently press the caps into the filling. They won't fit perfectly.
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. light corn syrup or agave nectar
2 Tbs. whiskey
1. Melt the chocolate with the cream and corn syrup or agave nectar in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the whiskey.
2. Dip the tops of the filled cupcakes in the glaze, completely sealing the tops and generously coating them. Let cool, right side up, until the glaze is firm.
Adapted from "Ready for Dessert," by David Lebovitz.
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.