Jamie from My Baking Addiction hardly needs an introduction; her blog (like cream) has quickly risen to the top. I have admired Jamie’s blog since before we started our own and I first connected with her when she tweeted a call for “the best” brownie recipes. I replied with Mom’s Fudgey Chewy Cakey Brownie recipe which she made and later blogged about. This started an on-line friendship which quickly became an in-real-life friendship at BlogHer Food in October. In my opinion, Jamie has the best baking blog on the web. Her recipes are flawless, her photos are drool-worthy and I know I can always click onto her site to find the perfect sweet treat. This week we are excited to have Jamie guest posting on our site. The girl knows us well – boozy Grand Marnier Cupcakes! Swoon. Here’s Jamie…

I am a long time lover of  all things Three Many Cooks…especially the three lovely ladies behind this beautifully written blog, so I am thrilled be exchanging guest posts today.

I met Maggy, Pam and Sharon at BlogHer Food in San Francisco last October. I can honestly say that hanging out with the 3MCs was one of the highlights of my trip. They’re each unique, but blend so well as mother, daughter, sister – family – that you can’t help but feel like you’re part of that bond almost instantly.

As Maggy and I tossed around ideas for each other’s guest posts, I knew I just had to make a booze infused cupcake. I’m not much of a drinker (I admit it, I can’t hold my liquor and I pretty much end up a hot mess), but it’s clear that the Anderson clan loves a good drink. I also happen to have an obsession with collecting tiny bottles of liquor you can find at the liquor store and on planes. These random bottles of liqueurs have made their way into a variety of desserts on My Baking Addiction, so I thought I would put one to use for my guest post on Three Many Cooks.

Spring is around the corner, and citrus is a major player in Spring’s flavor profile, as far as I’m concerned. That’s how the idea of these Grand Marnier Cupcakes were born. The rich, moist chocolate cupcake is filled with Grand Marnier infused ganache and topped with a Grand Marnier Buttercream. Finish with a chocolate curl for both mouth and eye candy!

For the cupcakes

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
3. Using a large scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells, filling each well 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack and cool completely.
4. Once cupcakes have cooled, hollow out a small circle in the center of each cupcake; I use an apple corer because I am anal and obsessed with symmetry.

For the Ganache

Ingredients
5 ounces heavy cream
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Directions
1. Place chocolate in a large heat safe bowl.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream until it comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Allow the mixture to sit for about five minutes. Whisk the chocolate and cream mixture until smooth and glossy. Stir in the Grand Marnier. Allow ganache to cool at room temperature for about 1 hour.
3. Pipe or spoon the ganache into each hollowed cupcake and top with buttercream.

For the Buttercream

Ingredients
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Zest of one large orange (about 1 tablespoon)
pinch of fine grain sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1-3 tablespoons milk
1 drop orange gel dye (optional)

Directions
1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.
2. Add orange zest, salt, vanilla, and Grand Marnier. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add 1 tablespoon of milk and beat until thoroughly combined. If frosting is too thick, gradually add in milk until the desired consistency is reached. Add a tiny bit of orange gel dye to create a pale orange color. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and finish with a chocolate curl or leftover ganache.

Notes:
- If you do not want to hassle with the chocolate curls, you can finish these Grand Marnier Cupcakes with a drizzle of leftover ganache.
- Cake recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Storage:
These cupcakes are best served the day they are made; however, they will keep covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. Allow cupcakes to come to room temperature for 45-60 minutes before serving.