Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean cream cheese frosting, topped with chocolate covered pretzels.
With this blog beginning the same weekend as the kickoff to the 2011 NFL season I couldn’t think of a better way to get things started than combining two of my loves; sports and baking. Once I decided that I wanted to somehow combine the ideas of football (extremely masculine) and cupcakes (very feminine) I decided to first attempt beer cupcakes. Nothing goes better with football than beer and beer and pretzels is a staple in practically every sports bar, so why not put all of these elements into a sugary and chocolatey treat?
The best recipe I was able to track down was from the blog, Pinch My Salt. The recipe calls for the use of Guinness stout, yogurt, which is healthier than butter and sour cream and the vanilla bean cream cheese seemed like an interesting twist on a traditional flavor. There is also an added bit of cinnamon added to the cake batter, which adds the perfect hint of fall flavoring.
Recipe: Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
Adapted from Pinch My Salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt
6 oz. dark stout- preferably Guinness
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder- I used dutch cocoa powder, but any would work
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon- This is where I altered the recipe a bit. I love cinnamon, so instead I added 1/2 tsp, which you wouldn’t think makes a difference, but truly does.
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake papers. Pinch my Salt instructed bakers to spray the liners as well, but I found that it then warped the wrappers and made the cupcakes look sloppy.
3. Melt butter in microwave or on stovetop, then set aside.
3. In a large bowl whisk together eggs and yogurt. Add beer and vanilla whisk until well combined.
4. Sift all the dry ingredients together (cocoa powder, sugar, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon) into a separate bowl.
5. Add about a third of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and using a hand mixer, blend well. Add the rest of the flour mixture, a third at a time, mixing well after each addition. When all ingredients are blended, add the melted butter then continue mixing until very well combined.
6. Pour batter into the twelve cups, filling each only about 3/4 full.
7. Bake on center rack of the preheated 350 degree oven and for approximately 25 minutes.
8. When cupcakes are done (toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake will come out clean), remove the pan to a wire rack. Let cool for ten minutes then remove cupcakes from pan and let them cool completely on wire rack.
The batter gave me no trouble, and the size of the cupcakes when filling them 3/4 of the way in the tins came out perfectly. The Guinness gave the batter a rich and dark color without it tasting bitter and the aroma of stout, chocolate and cinnamon was amazing. Where I had trouble was the cream cheese frosting.
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
Seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean that has been split and scraped
In a medium bowl, blend together cream cheese, butter, vanilla and vanilla bean seeds. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing well until it’s all incorporated. Use immediately. The frosting will harden in the fridge, so plan on bring it back to room temperature if you must refrigerate it before frosting the cupcakes.
I ended up having to make two batches of frosting in the end because being the health conscious person that I am, when shopping for ingredients I bought fat-free cream cheese. Well, I learned that that kind is made with skim milk, not cream, which means that the consistency of the frosting was runny instead of thick. At first I added extra cream cheese to try and thicken it, when that didn’t work the frosting went in the freezer, but that didn’t work either. When I remade the batch with actual cream cheese the frosting turned out perfectly, and I definitely recommend using the vanilla beans!!
In the final product you could definitely taste the Guinness used in the batter, but it wasn’t overwhelming, it was off-set by the strong taste of the cinnamon matched with the sweetness of the frosting.