St Patrick’s Day Guinness Cupcakes

Growing up in Cardiff, no St David’s Day was complete without being sent to school with a proud daffodil pinned to my blazer, and a welsh cake wrapped in my packed lunch. Just the sight of these little cakes can give me an overwhelming feeling of Hiraeth.

If you’ve only ever tasted a supermarket-bought Welsh cake or Bakestone you could be forgiven for thinking them not terribly exciting, a little dry even. But a homemade one takes this little cake to another level, tender tasty and perfect with a warming cup of tea. Traditionally cooked on a griddle, these cakes are so quick and easy that they’re the perfect choice for cooking with little ones. Deliciously coated in sugar, they’re even more tasty the day after baking plus if kept in a cake tin they’ll last a few more days still. 

I do hope you enjoy a little taste of Wales, we’d love to see pictures of your baking x

St Patrick’s Day Guinness Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Recipe by Gemma SimmoniteCourse: DessertDifficulty: Medium
Makes 12cupcakes


  • For the Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 3 large free-range egg whites

  • 185g caster sugar

  • Pinch of salt

  • 250g butter cut into small cubes

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • For the Cupcakes
  • 155g Plain flour

  • 30g cocoa powder

  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 125g granulated sugar

  • 100g light brown sugar

  • 60g butter at room temperature

  • 1 large free-range egg

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 125 ml Guinness

  • 60ml buttermilk


  • For the Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • In a large clean bowl combine the whites and the caster sugar.
  • Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water – make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture reads 71c on a jam thermometer – this should take between 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the bowl from the heat and tip the contents into a stand mixer bowl attachment. On high speed use the beater attachment and beat the whites until full and fluffy. The mixture should now be at room temperature and look glossy and whipped.
  • Reduce the speed to medium on the stand mixer and add the pinch of sugar.
  • Start adding a few cubes of butter a little at a time, beating well until the butter disappears before adding more. Keep adding until all the butter is used, then add the vanilla extract. Continue to beat for a further 3 minutes.
  • For the Cupcakes
  • Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt into a large bowl. In a stand mixer bowl beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar and the butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and the vanilla extract and beat again.
  • Add the flour mixture a little at a time alternating between the buttermilk and the guiness, scraping down as needed. Continue beating until fully combined and no traces of flour remain.
  • Carefully spoon the batter into the 12 cupcakes cases.
  • Bake for around 20 minutes until fully risen and a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool before frosting.
  • To decorate
  • Snip the end of a disposable piping bag and insert a 1m Wilton open star piping tip.
  • Put the piping bag into a tall wide glass – a pint glass is ideal or a small vase. Allow the sides to overhang, this will make filling the piping bag far easier.
  • When filled to the amount required, remove from the glass, and carefully smooth the buttercream down the bag to eliminate air pockets, then screw the bag tightly.
  • Working clockwise, pipe a continuous circle moving upwards on top of the cupcake. It may seem a little daunting if you’ve not piped cupcakes before, but a little practice and you will get the hang of it.


  • Once you’ve tried this buttercream, you’ll find it impossible to ever make any other!

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