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Time Off

It is with a heavy heart when I tell you guys that Dylan and I are taking a break from the cupcake business. Tonight is our last night in the kitchen for a little while, and I can’t be sure when we’ll be back.

I want to thank everyone who has been a fan and supporter, we wouldn’t have come so far had it not been for you. Right now Dylan and I feel it’s best to take a breather. I will continue to leave this blog up, there are some tasty recipes, and plenty of beer cupcake inspirations that I know people like to look at. Even with my lack of recent posts, this blog still has a pretty good daily average of visits, which makes me smile.

We hope that everyone enjoys the holiday season with their families and loved ones. When we decide to come back, you will be the first to know.

Cheers,
Jackie & Dylan

 

An update of sorts

Dear friends,

I know I’m long overdue for posting a new cupcake, and I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a new one yet. There’s been a lot going on in our personal lives lately, and it’s taken up a lot of our time.

First some good news, I (Jackie), recently accepted a new job. I’m still a graphic designer, but now I’m working at Lawton Publishing. I’m really enjoying it, and it’s been keeping me very busy.

Now for the bad news, our home got broken into last week, in a pretty violent way. I’m happy to say that we’re all okay (fur babies included), and that we weren’t at home when it happened. Someone kicked in our back door, and went through all of our things. They stole my camera (the one that I used to take all these awesome cupcake photos), they took Dylan’s laptop (that had thousands of irreplaceable photos), also gone are our iPads, our Playstation 3, and all our games that went along with it. [They didn't take my (antique, probably) iMac, which is how I'm able to write this update for you. I guess they know how useless a PowerPC iMac is nowadays...]

What’s worse than losing our things is how violated we both feel. Someone tore through our house with no regard for anything, went through our personal drawers, bedroom, and living room, and filled up their backpack with things we’ve worked really hard to get. They left our backdoor wide open (it couldn’t be shut because of how bad it was bent from being kicked in) and I was so worried that our cats had run away, but thankfully, they were all hiding in the house. Our poor dog was locked in his kennel at the time, and I so wish that I had left him out, but I’m glad he did not get hurt. (We leave our dog out at all times now.)

To top it all off, this person attempted to return to finish the job, just yesterday. Dylan spotted him climbing over our back fence, with a hammer in hand! Dylan and another one of our neighbors chased him, all the way to a house, only one street away. As this guy slammed the door in Dylan and our neighbors face, they both heard someone say “They know what you did, and they’re fucking going to catch you.”

Of course we called the police, but there wasn’t anything they could do because a crime had not been committed. We’re finding out that it’s really hard to catch someone for burglary unless you catch them in the act. So now we’ve been spending all our time being paranoid, and afraid to leave the house. We did get security cameras, which we can watch from our phones while we’re at work. There is some comfort in that. But now that I know he was planning on coming back and breaking in through a window, I’ve lost 90% of my confidence.

I’m sharing this with you all because we don’t want to be victims anymore, and we don’t want to live in fear. We want to get our story out there, and we hope that this guy will get caught, very soon. There have been at least 8 break-ins, similar to ours, in a 3 block radius of where we live in the last couple weeks. It’s just getting ridiculous.

- Jackie & Dylan

Business busyness

This post is late! My apologies. This past weekend was filled with playing catch up, cleaning house, baking cupcakes, meeting friends, and general busyness! After being away from work, computers, and baking for 2 weeks, it’s been a bit tough readjusting, to say the least. Dylan and I both figured that by having the wedding stress over and done with, things would begin to relax a little bit for us … well, it hasn’t yet, but we’re still hoping!

I’m sorry to report that we don’t have a new cupcake flavor to tempt you with this week. On Sunday we ended up getting an order for the Manito Tap House for 3 dozen cupcakes and that pretty much took over our afternoon. We just didn’t have it in us after that.

Which leads me to something else I need to bring up here.

While we are still planning on keeping this blog going, it’s going to have to change a bit for business reasons, and for my own personal sanity. It’s really a challenge to come up with a different cupcake flavor every week! I’m sure there are still ideas to be had, we’re just going to limit our cupcake experiments to once a month instead of weekly. There are a few other reasons to go along with this, including that it gets expensive to buy special ingredients every week to indulge our creative culinary adventures. We also want to spend more time growing our business. It’d be different if Dylan and I both didn’t work full time jobs, but that’s not going to change any time soon. Our goal right now is to get our cupcakes at a few new places around Spokane.

Aside from all this business talk, Dylan and I got married! (As if you didn’t know already, I think I’ve talked about it a LOT on here, haha) It’s official, we are Mr. & Mrs. Sweet and Stout! Here’s a preview picture from our photographer, Shelia Carson Photography. Check her out, she’s awesome!

– Photo by Sheila Carson Photography

Cheers!

Jackie & Dylan

Guest Blogger: Savor Sweets & Hell or High Watermelon Cupcakes

Hi there! Pete and Andrea of Savor Sweets here. Since Jackie and Dylan are off getting themselves married (yay!), we asked if we could step in for the weekend and give this beer cupcake thing a try. Generally our expertise lays in candy, so this was a fun venture outside our comfort zone, and quite the learning experience!

During the summer, I have been known to sit down with a half of a watermelon and a spoon, only to emerge thirty minutes later, feeling slightly guilty and very, very happy. Those memories of watermelon came to mind when I heard of 21st Amendment Brewery’s Hell or High Watermelon beer.

The beer itself is a light, wheaty beer with an aftertaste of watermelon. Not hugely complex, but great for a backyard BBQ or hanging out on the front porch after work. I figured this light, slightly fruity flavor would make for a great cupcake. We have been experimenting with watermelon candy for the last few months, and that should have taught me that watermelon is one of those flavors that I should know better than to try and bake into a cupcake. The delicate nature of watermelon can even be assumed when you read 21st Amendment Brewery’s description: brewed with watermelon extract and enhanced with watermelon. We really wanted to do this without artificial extract, and wow it was a challenge.

The good news is, the final cupcake we ended up with was pretty tasty, and definitely has a fruity flavor. It only took us three tries and twelve pounds of watermelon!

In the end, in order to get the fruity flavor across without being completely overwhelmed with overly sweet one-note flavors, we took a three-pronged approach.

First, we paired the watermelon with fresh-scraped vanilla beans. The pairing helped round out the flavor of the watermelon, which turns very one-note when baked.

Second, we used four different preparations of watermelon. The Hell or High Watermelon beer was first. Then, pureed watermelon right in the batter and in the frosting. Third, a watermelon-steeped sugar is poured over the finished cupcakes, dulche de leche style. Finally, cold-dried watermelon on top (seriously. Slices of watermelon on a cooling rack, laid out in front of our air conditioner. I’m fairly certain our neighbors were very, very worried about us.)

Finally, we reduced the amount of sugar in the cupcake itself, helping to balance the sweetness of the frosting with the cupcake.

In the end, Hell or High Watermelon makes a very tasty cupcake, though these are enough work we’ll probably crack the beer much more often than we treat ourselves to the cupcakes.

Happy Wedding Dylan and Jackie!

Guest Blogger: Alissa from CookingWithSurly.com

Dylan and I got married on the 21st in beautiful Bellingham, Washington! As much as we love you all here, we are out enjoying our honeymoon, so we’ve lined up a couple guest bloggers to take over in the mean time. We’ll be back in a couple weeks!

We did a guest post over on cookingwithsurly.com a couple months ago and now Alissa is stopping by Sweet and Stout to do the same. She writes a great blog about cooking with beer in all kinds of recipes, you should definitely go check it out.

We started chatting back in May about exchanging recipes, and both agreed it was a great idea. Alissa had been wanting to try her hand at beer cupcakes for a while, her recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen and is called “Chocolate and Whiskey Beer Cupcakes”. The title alone makes my mouth water!

Alissa says the only issue with these cupcakes was that she bought a new silicone pan and figured that the paper liners weren’t necessary if you just grease it really well. As it turned out, the cake kind of stuck to the pan, so paper liners would have been more favorable. Even still, she was able to save a few for her photo of these delicious treats. Alissa used Schokolade Bock, from Millstream Brewing, and says it turned out good. Some styles of bock beer are dark and very malty, a great beer to pair with a rich chocolate cake. I think a dopplebock would be a excellent choice. Many thanks to Alissa and Smitten Kitchen for this amazing sounding recipe!

So, want to give these cupcakes a try for yourself? Check out the recipe below:

Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes
Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup stout (I used Schokolade Bock, but Surly Coffee Bender would be great too!)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)

Bailey’s Frosting
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream)

Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

Frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

Ice and decorate the cupcakes.

From the Archives: Crème Brûlée Cupcake Recipe

In case we haven’t mentioned it enough, Dylan and I are getting married … this weekend! Finally after over a year of planning, our wedding is here. To say that we’ve been busy is probably an understatement. This week, I thought it’d be a good idea to visit a past post, and 1-up it by sharing the recipe. I’d say that’s a win for everyone!

Remember those Crème Brûlée cupcake that we made back in September? Well, if you don’t, you can check it out here. For these cupcakes, I highly recommend using the Crème Brûlée Stout from Southern Tier Brewing Company. If you can’t find it, another sweet stout could work too.  Anyways, on to the important stuff! The recipe! This should make around 2 dozen cupcakes.

Ingredients
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra for egg whites
1/2 cup butter, room temp (1 stick)
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, separated
3/4 cup beer
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons caramel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, prepare cupcake pans with paper liners.

2. In medium bowl, combine flour, powder and salt, stir with whisk until mixed. Set aside.

3. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until well combined. Add egg yolks and mix well.

4. Combine beer and heavy cream in measuring cup (it will look gross, just go with it) and add it to the creamed butter and sugar, alternating with the dry ingredients. Make sure to end with the dry ingredients. After that’s all together, add in the caramel and vanilla.

5. In separate bowl, beat egg whites (saved from earlier) until you get stiff peaks. Carefully fold into the cupcake batter using a rubber spatula.

6. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake 18 – 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While you’re baking, you can prepare the filling:

Ingredients
1 cup brown sugar, plus extra for later
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temp (2 sticks)
7. In a double boiler, combine sugar, salt, and egg whites. Constantly whisk while sugar dissolves and the mixture gets warm. Then remove from heat and use an electric mixer to beat it until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Continue mixing until it cools, probably 6 – 7 minutes, all together.

8. Add in 2 tablespoons of the softened butter at a time while continuing to mix on medium speed. After all the butter is added, increase mixing speed and beat until it appears thick, 2 – 3 minutes.

9. After your cupcakes have all been baked and cooled, use a sharp knife to cut out a decent sized crater in the cupcake tops. (not a ton, just enough to fill and have some cupcake left over.)

10. Fill the cupcakes with the prepared filling. Sprinkle each with a little brown sugar, then use a Crème Brûlée torch to caramelize the top. We have this awesome torch-like lighter that worked perfectly for this.

Enjoy these cupcakes with your left over beer, and you’ve got yourself an awesome dessert!

Next week we’re going to have a guest post from Cooking With Surly, which also includes a recipe, so make sure you come back to check it out.

Cheers!
Jackie & Dylan

Strawberry Lime IPA Cupcakes

Over the last year, I have grown to love IPAs. I seek them out whenever we’re trying new beers, some may say (ahem, Dylan might say) that I’m obsessed with them. Don’t get me wrong, I still love stouts and porters, but IPAs have me smitten. They are perfectly refreshing, and the ones I love have a great hoppy bitterness that makes them perfect for me.

I know IPA day is in August, but I don’t need a special day to enjoy the beer I love. We picked up a bottle of No-Li Brewhouse’s Born & Raised IPA this weekend and I wanted to give it a try in a new cupcake flavor. IPAs are notoriously not favorable to bake with because they can be bitter, but I embrace the bitter! This week I matched it with a strawberry lime cake, the perfect contrast to the floral, hoppy, and bitter Born & Raised IPA.

The first thing I did was put the beer in a blender and mixed it with frozen strawberries, lime juice and a little bit of vanilla. After that was good and frothy, I mixed it into a basic yellow cake batter.  The batter tasted a bit tart, and you could definitely taste the beer in it. IPAs and lime go really well together, it’s one of my favorite combinations. The cake turned out very soft and moist, but didn’t rise up that much. (It didn’t sink either, so that’s good!)

I used a buttercream frosting and used strawberry preserves and a little bit of lime zest and juice to flavor it. The frosting turned out sweet enough to be able to eat it (by the spoonful), but the lime gave it a bit of tartness that was really pleasant. After frosting these I had to set them in the refrigerator for a little bit so they wouldn’t melt. It’s a bit of a hot one here today (My computer tells me it’s 96 degrees out right now!).

After we are all done with cupcakes we’re planning on having a couple frozen strawberry lime margaritas to beat the heat. The perks of left over ingredients!

Last week I posted a question on our facebook page about what flavors you guys think we should add to our commercial set up. Have you had a chance to weigh in on that? After our wedding (less than 2 weeks now! woohoo!) I’m planning on adding 1 or 2 flavors commerically and I’d love it to be a flavor that you’re interested in trying! Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Oh, and if you’re in Spokane, you should head over to No-Li Brewhouse and have a Salted Chocolate Caramel cupcake made with their Imperial Stout! This week the Manito Tap House has our Red Velvet, Salted Chocolate Caramel, and Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcakes.

Until next time, cheers!
- Jackie & Dylan

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