Happy Birthday, M! Irish Booze Cakes

Guinness Chocolate Cupcake with Bailey's Irish Cream Cheese Frosting, Drizzled with Jameson Whiskey Caramel Drizzle

Guinness Chocolate Cupcake with Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheese Frosting, Drizzled with Jameson Whiskey Caramel Drizzle

My coworker M wanted Guinness cupcakes for her birthday.  After doing some searching through the interwebs & Pinterest, I gathered a few ideas and added my own to come up with a delectable cupcake.  These cupcakes have booze in every layer, but it is not overpowering.  Since we really don’t drink around here, I had to spend some $$ on making it happen.  First stop: Liquor Store! Here I bought I six pack of Guinness Extra Stout 12oz bottles, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and Jameson Irish Whiskey.

Guinness Extra Stout, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Bailey's Irish Cream

Guinness Extra Stout, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Bailey’s Irish Cream

Guinness for the cupcakes. Bailey’s for the frosting, and Jameson for the caramel drizzle.

Ingredients & Equipment

Ingredients & Equipment

Irish Booze Cakes Recipes – Makes 24

Guinness Cupcakes

Ingredients 2 cups (500 mL) all purpose flour (I use unbleached)

1/2 cup (125 mL) of dark cocoa powder

1 cup (250 mL) sugar 1/2 cup (125 mL) brown sugar (I used light, but you can use dark)

1 1/2 tsp (7.5 mL) baking soda

2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract

1/4 tsp (1.25 mL) salt

1/2 cup (125 mL) softened (room temperature, leave out for a couple hours, try not to put it in the microwave – which can melt it), unsalted butter

2 large eggs

1/2 cup (125 mL) sour cream

1 (12 fl. oz) (335 mL) bottle of Guinness Extra Stout Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4.
  2. Prep your muffin tins with liners (or you can butter and flour them. Take a paper towel and softened butter – not the butter for your recipe – “dip” your paper towel in the butter, rub it on the inside of each muffin cup. After you have done this with each of the cups, take flour – not the flour for your recipe – sprinkle enough to coat the inside of each cup. Remove excess flour by turning the pan upside – over the sink or trash – and giving it a gentle tap with your hand).
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. I’m not a sifter, so I whisk the ingredients, gently.
  4. In your stand mixer, using your paddle attachment on Speed 4 or 5 (medium speed), add butter and both sugars. Mix until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure the mix stays fluffy in between eggs, and scrape the sides of your bowl down.
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Add sour cream until well incorporated
  8. Slowly add Guinness. It may look a bit separated and changes the beautiful fluff that you worked so hard to achieve, but it will come out great.
  9. Add the dry ingredients slowly, about a ½ cup at a time in order not to have a flour cloud going through your kitchen. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides a few times to make sure all of the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  10. Divide the mix between the 18 muffin cups. I have a scoop that helps me get an even distribution, it’s about a ¼ cup.
  1. Bake at 350F/180C/Gas4 for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick/cake tester comes out clean.
  2. Set on rack to completely cool before frosting.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheese Frosting (You can double the recipe if you want more frosting for your cupcakes. Reference the picture; I had barely enough frosting to cover each one.)


1 (8 oz) (226g) block of cream cheese, softened (keep on counter for a couple of hours to get to room temperature). I use Philadelphia. (note: I had trouble with most cream cheese bought in Germany, I couldn’t keep my frosting solid, if yours doesn’t turn out stiff enough, use a buttercream recipe instead)

1/4 cup Room temperature butter

3 – 4 cups confectioner’s (powder or icing) sugar

5 TBS (75 mL) Bailey’s Irish Cream Instructions

  1. In your stand mixer, using your paddle attachment, speed 4 or 5 (medium), add the cream cheese and butter until well mixed
  2. Slowly add confectioner’s sugar until incorporated, mixing until light and fluffy
  3. Slowly add Bailey’s, I found 5 TBS (75 mL) was the perfect amount, but you can add more or less as you see fit
  4. Mix until completely incorporated.
  5. Fit piping bag with a tip and frost completely cooled cupcakes.

Jameson Irish Whiskey Caramel Drizzle

Ingredients 2/3 cup (150 mL) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (125 mL) heavy (whipping) cream

1 TBS (15 mL) unsalted butter

2 TBS (30 mL) Jameson Irish Whiskey


  1. In a heavy saucepan, over low heat, you are going to melt the sugar. Swirl it, don’t stir it. If you stir it, it will seize up on you and become a gross granulated mess. Continue to swirl until the melted sugar becomes a beautiful dark golden color. I found it took me about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and carefully pour the heavy cream into the sugar. You should stir constantly while pouring the cream. It will bubble and steam, and stirring it will help keep the cream from burning and will get it mixed in properly.
  3. Return to low heat, continue to stir, if caramel has hardened, continue until it is dissolved, then add the butter. Continue until butter is incorporated.
  4. Remove from heat, slowly add Whiskey, and continue to stir while you are adding it.
  5. Let cool before drizzling it on top of your cupcakes.

I ended up with a large amount of drizzle, compared to the amount I put on my cupcakes. Store in the refrigerator and bring to room temp to serve. I ended up serving it over vanilla ice cream – YUM! You can also add it to the top of brownies.

Jameson Irish Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Jameson Irish Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Visiting the Eiffel Tower

I love Paris!

Oh, the view from the Eiffel Tower... lovely.

Oh, the view from the Eiffel Tower… lovely.

As many times as I have gone, I can’t seem to get enough of it.  I have a couple of tips for making your visit a little less stressful.

Everyone wants a lovely picture in front of the Eiffel Tower.  Do you see that lawn in the picture above?  You can take pictures on the side that is above the road that cuts through the lawn.  The best time to take pictures is early morning.  The tourists haven’t invaded and the lawn is virtually empty (this last time we went, it was empty – the sprinklers may have been the reason for that).  We like to go around 8 in the morning.  Downside, you can end up with the sun in your eyes…

Oh, empty lawn, but sun in eyes

Oh, empty lawn, but sun in eyes

As you see, we had the sun in our eyes for this shot.

When you are planning your trip to Paris, you can purchase your tickets to go up the Eiffel Tower well in advance.  I *highly* recommend you do this.  You can purchase your tickets by visiting:  http://www.toureiffel.paris/en/preparing-your-visit/buying-your-tickets.html. Book your tickets early, they sell out online months in advance. If you wait until you get there, you will end up waiting in a very long line – even if you get there well before it opens.  The line can last hours if you wait to purchase the ticket.  There are a couple of lines you will wait in.  The first is the ticket line (the longest line of all).  It snakes around the bottom of the Eiffel Tower, packed full of people.  You will then be harassed by people selling illegal merchandise and others (Roma Gypsies) begging for money.  The Roma have cards that state they are trying to get back to their country (they will hear you talking and hand it to you in whatever language you are speaking), it is usually a woman. They just want your money – they are definitely not trying to get back to Romania.  You will also find men with some sort of a “disability” wanting money, as well.  I tell them “no” and don’t let them approach me.  You will also need to be concerned with pickpockets while waiting in line (another reason not to take money out in front of the people begging for money).

When purchasing your ticket, you will need to decide how high up you would like to go. 1st & 2nd (elevator goes up to the 2nd floor and you can walk down or take another elevator down to the 1st), or 3rd. The higher up, the more it costs.

You’ve dodged the pick pockets and people begging for money, you’ve purchased your tickets or had them already purchased online prior to your visit (you will have reserved a time to show up with a copy of your print out), it is now time for you to get on the elevator (I’m assuming you want to take the elevator up.  You can walk up the 5 million stairs, if you would like.)  The elevator will take you to the 2nd floor.  If you would like to go to the 1st floor, you will need to take the stairs or another elevator down.  You can explore around the 2nd floor, take pictures, visit a shop, etc.  If you had purchased a ticket to take you to the 3rd floor (the top), then you will need your ticket and get into another line.  There is a place where you can purchase a ticket to take you to the 3rd floor, if you had originally purchased a 1st/2nd floor ticket and then had changed your mind.  You will get in the line and wait for another elevator to take you to the top.  The view from there is *AMAZING*.  You can see forever.

After you’ve explored all you want on the 3rd floor, you take the elevator back down to the 2nd floor.  You can walk down steps to take you to the 1st floor, and then hop on the elevator to take you back to the ground.  I like the steps (on the way down), it makes you feel like you are really in the Eiffel Tower.

Up close and personal with the Eiffel Tower

Up close and personal with the Eiffel Tower

You are surrounded by the metal workings and get to see the “guts” of the Eiffel Tower.

If you are around the area at night, you can see the Eiffel Tower sparkle.  On the hour, all kinds of little lights flash on the tower and make it look like it is twinkling.  It is really pretty.

It is a fantastic experience, if you happen to be headed to Paris, I highly recommend you visit the Eiffel Tower.


On the move….

Oh, life never stands still.  I can’t even stand still.

Look! I stood still long enough to take a picture of my feet.  Don't get used to it... I'm always on the move and can't sit still for too long.

Look! I stood still long enough to take a picture of my feet. Don’t get used to it… I’m always on the move and can’t sit still for too long.

After 20 years of being a military family, we can’t stay in one place for too long.  We are always looking to move up and explore somewhere else.  Barefoot Runner and I both got new jobs – back in the States.  I love living abroad.  I love the opportunities it brings. I love the travel.  I love saying, “oh, I’ve been there”. I also need to have a career.  Sometimes, careers lead us somewhere else.  This time, it is leading me to Virginia.  Oh, I love D.C.  I always have stated that I have a short list of places that I’m willing to move to when it was time for me to go back to the States: D.C. and Austin.  I told you it was a short list. 🙂 Austin is great! The music, the vibe, the fantastic atmosphere.  D.C. well… the history. There is a different vibe there.  In Austin, it is laid back.. D.C. is very much LESS laid back, but the history, the sites, the craziness (and I’m not just talking crazy politicians).  Although I won’t be living or working in D.C., I will be very close.

Now, the fun begins with trying to ship my car from Germany (this has been an extremely long process and I’m still not even close to getting it shipped), find a place to live (I think I’ve found one), and purge the house (basically, get rid of all of the CRAP) so I will have a smooth pack out and move. Oh, yeah… and lets not forget that Barefoot Runner has been trying to get his PCS orders for weeks now and the people stateside are slow.  We are now down to 45 days until he starts (oh, and 5 weeks until I start my new job) and NOTHING can be done to arrange the move until he receives his orders. :::sigh:::

Okay… what should be coming up: the whole shipping a car from Germany to Baltimore experience (requesting/receiving quotes, decisions-decisions, paperwork, shipping, and finally picking the car up), purging the house from unwanted “stuff”, moving into a new house and starting my new job.

mmmmmm…. Mochi

This New Year’s I decided to make Mochi.  I did not make it to add to broth, but as a delicious candy.  This is the second time I made it.  The first time, I steamed them on the stove with homemade cranberry sauce inside.   Those instructions will come later. This time, I tried the microwave method and were not filled with any extra yumminess.

Orange Mochi – Microwave method


1 1/2 Cup of Mochiko (It is a glutinous sweet rice flour. I use Koda Farms – Blue Star Brand)

3/4 Cup Sugar (just regular sugar – not powdered)

2 to 3 drops of vegetable oil

1 1/2 cup liquid (I put “liquid”, but you could use water.  I used the juice from 4 mandarin oranges then the rest was water.  I should have used more juice, it did not have a strong enough orange flavor that I was looking for)

Food coloring (optional, I used orange to make it more orange than the juice provided)

The dusting:

3/4 cup Corn starch

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Orange Mochi Ingredients

Orange Mochi Ingredients

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (1 1/2 cup rice flour, 3/4 cup sugar).  Add 1 1/2 cup of the liquid of your choice, drops of oil, and your food coloring. Mix well until it comes to the consistency of pancake batter.

Mochi batter

Mochi batter

Cover with plastic wrap and put in microwave – mine took 8 minutes on high.  Depending on your microwave you could have it in there anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes.  After it is finished cooking, take out of microwave and let it cool.  When it is cool enough to handle, dump it out on a plastic cutting board.  As it cooled, I gently worked it into a large circle with the thickness that I wanted.  I would leave it sit until it became easy to handle.  Since the dusting contains powdered sugar, you will want it to really be cool enough as to not melt the powdered sugar.  While I waited for it to cool, I combined the 2 ingredients for the dusting powder. After it has cooled, it is shaped to the the depth that I wanted, I pulled out the pizza cutter.  Sometimes I had to dip the pizza cutter into the dusting powder in order for it not to stick while cutting the Mochi into squares.  After I had cut the Mochi into squares I put them in the bowl of dusting powder, shook off the excess, and placed them in their container.  Thanks to Little Red for the help, it went by real quick.

Dusted Mochi Squares

Dusted Mochi Squares

It was really simple to make it and took next to no time at all.  The longest part was waiting for it to cool down enough to handle.  They turned out really yummy, however I would have like a bit more of an orange flavor.

What is your favorite flavor of Mochi?

Every Home Needs a Gnome!

I enjoy hanging out with the girls from the Spouses’s Club once a month to play Bunco. If you are not familiar with the game, you basically sit 4 people to a table (3 or 4 tables) and roll 3 dice. The goal is to score points by rolling a certain number. You start with 1 and each take turns to roll. If you roll a 1, 4, and 6 and the round was to roll 1s, then you get 1 point. You continue to roll until you no longer roll a 1. If you happen to roll three of a number (not the number you are rolling for) and it is in a single roll, you receive 5 points. Continuing with our round of rolling 1s, I would receive 5 points for rolling three 5s in a single roll, this is called a mini-Bunco. If you roll three of the number, let’s say three 1s in our 1 round, then you receive a Bunco, which is worth 21 points. On your score sheet you keep track of your Buncos, mini-Buncos, wins, and losses.
Okay, so there is more to the game, but that is not the point of this post. The point is the prizes you can win. We play our Bunco game with a “steal the gift” way of winning prizes. This past week I won with the most Buncos and basically got to pick any gift I wanted & no one could take it from me. Oh, infinite cosmic power! There were quite a few really awesome prizes, however, I chose the gnome.


Isn’t he adorable!! He is a doorstop. There were other prizes that cost more. I was even tempted to bring home the prize I had brought, but this little guy stole my heart. After a bit of begging and pleading, I got the location of the store…. I needed more! So, a couple of days later, I dragged Barefoot Runner with me to find the store. Oh, it didn’t disappoint. I bought a handful more to give as gifts this year. So, family back in the States, be prepared for your gifts that will be coming in the mail. You may receive a gnome… After all, every home needs a gnome!

It’s a love & hate relationship

Oh, school… how much I love you and hate you at the same time.  I enjoy the learning, but the papers I have to write are a different story.  I have class this evening (Friday) all day Saturday, and all day on Sunday – 3 (10 – 15 page) papers due on Sunday and a report due on Saturday.  Where has the time gone?  I’m sure I should have been writing well before now, but who has time?  Not this girl!  I’ve been busy – sleeping, working, trying not to melt in the heat of Germany (no really… it’s been hot here & for some reason the Germans don’t believe in air conditioning, or something like that).  I have been doing research today, really I have… I just … well… my brain is fried!  It’s too hot to think!  Either that or I’m a procrastinator – your pick!      Books

For those of you on my Facebook page that have been following the drama of “are we staying or going”… we are staying!  We get to stay in Germany for at least another 5 years – unless something more exciting comes along.

Time to get back to the papers/report.  Even though I would rather be in Paris!

Enjoying the view while I work

It’s been a while since I wrote a post, life is a bit crazy. I’m supposed to be working on a project right now, but I needed a 5 minute break. I am spending my 5 minutes with you… Oh, aren’t you lucky! I want to share the view of the Bavarian Alps that I am enjoying while pounding away on my keyboard. I’m such a lucky girl!