A Delicious Parting Gift

As young adults, it’s inevitable that our friends have yet to find that one permanent place to settle down. It’s never easy to say goodbye when a friend decides to move on; such is the case with my very dear friend Brian McCarthy – he’ll be leaving Boston soon to join the army band, a position he will no doubt excel with. I’ve been through a lot with Brian, and he is someone I will miss a lot. I hosted a small going-away party for him earlier this week, inviting a handful of close friends to wish him luck. Knowing my Brian, I made sure there was a wealth of cheeses, a sizable line-up of party games, and a worthy drink for an Irishman: Jameson. This latter spirit also inspired the dessert for the evening, which undoubtedly takes the “cake” in my dessert repertoire: Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with a Whiskey Ganache and Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting.
Brian stands by his Irish heritage, which compelled me to avoid the original title for these cupcakes: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes. I have nothing against bakers who do label these cupcakes as such, it’s more the dark history behind the name itself. A drink consisting of Guinness, Irish whiskey and Bailey’s, this infamous shot garners mixed reactions, from total indifference to unmitigated outrage. The name is an allusion to the violent exploits used by the IRA against Northern Ireland during The Troubles. In other words, this shot is far from serving as a tribute to the Irish.
Name aside, these cupcakes are simply amazing! Stout and chocolate are a match made in heaven – the dark, rich brew complements the silky batter perfectly. As you saw above, I went with a Harpoon Chocolate Stout (what I had) rather than the Guinness called for – it was an unintentional stroke of genius! Filled with a spicy ganache (Jameson, no less) and topped with a buttery Bailey’s frosting, these cupcakes can’t go wrong. To push the cuteness factor up a notch (a must with cupcakes), I topped each with a chocolate-covered espresso bean – click HERE to see how to make these deliciously rich cupcakes!
If there is one thing I know about Brian, he plays an amazing Liszt – with that in mind, I chose a work I have heard Brian perform on multiple occasions (yet never grow weary of) – Liszt’s transcription of Wagner’s “Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde. Liszt was both a benefactor to and supporter of Wagner’s music. The opera Tristan und Isolde is based on the medieval legend of two star-crossed lovers, and has become on of the more prominent works in orchestral repertoire. The “Liebestod” concludes the third and final act of the opera – it is sung by Isolde as she mourns we lover’s death, shortly before her own tragic end. Known for his virtuosic genius on the piano, Liszt had a gift for adapting the music of large scale works to the keyboard. He stays true to the voice of Wagner, effectively adapting the extensive orchestration to the piano while maintaining the rich, emotive qualities of the overall work. Similarly, each bite of these cupcakes is extremely rich and decadent. I want to dedicate this post to Brian – you will be missed dearly by all of us here in Boston, and we hope you know that you always have a home with us whenever you need it 🙂 Wishing you all the best!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UQrOIa7coc

Sources Cited:
“Franz Liszt,” Wikipedia.com
“Tristan und Isolde,” Wikipedia.com

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