If you follow us along on Facebook, you may recall the time that I mentioned that Dylan and I met Dan O’leary, the owner of Duo Brewing. We met up with Dan a while ago and brought him some cupcakes and being that Dan is awesome, a few weeks later he sent us a few bottles of his Twin Ports Porter. Dylan and I shared a bottle that same night (I was really looking forward to trying it, we love getting beer in the mail!) and really enjoyed it. The porter has a nice roasty quality to it and is very easy to drink.
I was really looking forward to using it in a cupcake and wanted to create the perfect recipe to match it. We steered clear of the chocolate and opted for a buttermilk cake that really let the beer flavor shine through. For the frosting we made dulce de leche, which if you’re unfamiliar, is the most delicious thing you could put on cupcakes, ever. It’s made from cooking condensed milk, the sugar gets all dark and delicious and almost tastes like caramel, except it’s much, much creamier. If you’re on Pinterest you may have seen a pin for taking a can of sweetened condensed milk and either putting it in a crock pot for hours, or cooking it in the can on the stove (covered in water). We went with the shorter version and simmered the unopened can in water for 2 hours, then let it cool before adding it to our cream cheese frosting. Best. Idea. Ever. When I opened the can, I was pleased to see that it had worked, and I was equally as pleased that it was frickin’ delicious.
The cake turned out so soft, which was a great compliment to the smooth and soft texture of this frosting. The whole cupcake tastes like a deliciously creamy porter, and it’s really hard to resist the 2 dozen of them that are still in our refrigerator. We decided to bake these on Saturday because we’ll be busy baking some fresh cupcakes for the Manito Tap House AND a new location that we will be announcing shortly! We’re pretty excited about it, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with you all!
Jackie & Dylan
I hope your extended weekend was filled with fun, good food & great beer! Dylan and I laid low all weekend, then on Monday we decided we had better make some cupcakes. The idea for this week’s cupcake came from a couple different places. Last Thursday, Dylan happened to meet John Bryant of the newly re-invented No-Li Brewhouse, here in Spokane. He ended up buying a couple of each of their new bottles: Crystal Bitter Ale, Born & Raised IPA (my favorite), and Silent Treatment Pale Ale. There were talks about how we should do a No-Li Cupcake, so after we tried each of the beers, we decided to use the Crystal Bitter Ale in this week’s cupcake, Caramel Popcorn.
The cake flavor came about as I was discussing ones we haven’t done yet, with my coworker, JoNelle. She’s always thinking of new cupcake ideas, and when she started to talk about caramel, I knew we were on to something. We both agreed that the Crystal Bitter would be a great match for caramel. The malty smoothness of this ale compliments the rich caramel flavor these cupcakes exude. I made caramel from scratch, and while it’s kind of messy, you can really taste the difference between it, and store bought caramel. The ingredients are really simple: just sugar, water, butter, and cream. I wanted to add the popcorn in to give the cupcakes the salty contrast that goes really well with caramel.
Before we made the cupcakes, we had to make the popcorn. Using the air popper, we made a ton of it, and spread it out on a cookie sheet (with wax paper lining it – I did not want to clean that mess up). After melting chocolate chips in a double boiler, I drizzled it over the popcorn along with some caramel, tossed in peanuts, sprinkled with a little bit of sea salt and put it in the fridge to cool off.
The cake turned out really soft and delicious. Basically it’s a yellow cake with added caramel and the Crystal Bitter, of course. The frosting was made using browned butter and powdered sugar, and I’m surprised how much it tastes like caramel despite having none added to it. We garnished each cupcake with a good chunk of the chocolate caramel peanut popcorn we made earlier, and voila! Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes were born.
After one bite, I knew that people were going to love these, they are SO good!