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
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!
This past weekend we put a twist on the classic margarita, turning it into a beer-rita. If you missed it, we did another beer cocktail a couple weeks ago when we made beer mojitos (and cupcakes). Since they turned out really great, I thought we’d give it a go with beer margarita cupcakes. I’m really starting to dig beer cocktails, and definitely will try more in the future. First things first. You need a BeerRita in your life, and here’s how you make one (or 2):
Our blog will be 1 year old in 2 months. I can’t believe we’ve been baking a different type of cupcake almost every weekend for the last 10 months. That sounds like a lot of cupcakes! We’ve come up with 36 different flavors and posted them up here (there were a few duds that we haven’t posted). Someone asked me a couple weeks ago if we ever run out of cupcake ideas. While we haven’t yet, it got me thinking. I think we’ve gone through a lot of basic cupcake flavors, now it’s time to get into some new flavor combinations.
To start off our new flavor pairings, we bring you these Lemon Pomegranate IPA cupcakes. I sent Dylan off to the store to find a nice hoppy IPA to match with the lemon cake I wanted to bake. He came back with 4 different bottles (it was difficult to choose)! This round we decided to use Hopworks Urban Brewery’s IPA, a balanced blend of hops, bitter, and a bit of a citrus flavor. A perfect pairing for the zesty lemon flavor in this cake.
The cake itself has the zest of 2 lemons, plus a bit of extra lemon juice, along with a full cup of IPA. I reduced a bit of pomegranate juice and added it into a cream cheese frosting, stirred in some more lemon zest, and piped it on the cakes after they had cooled. As a garnish, I placed a small spoonful of pomegranates seeds on top. Not only did they look pretty, they added a lot of flavor to the whole package. As you take a bite of the soft lemon cake, you get a rush of pomegranate juice from the seeds, it’s quite delicious.
We’re hoping to add a few more flavors to our official flavor list soon. It’s been a little crazy in our house lately, planning a wedding and all. If you have any suggestions on what you’d actually like to be able to purchase (here in Spokane, sorry, no shippy yet), we’d love to here from you. Let us know!
- Jackie & Dylan
Today was a rare chance where I was let in the kitchen to make the cupcakes for this week, all alone. This time I was able to show off my baking skills to Jackie once again. For this week’s cupcake, I settled on a cinnamon yellow cake and decided to put Quilter’s Irish Death from Iron Horse Brewery in them. This was a easy choice with the brewery calling this beer their “beer candy.”
For a topping to go with this delightfully light, but sinfully rich cake, I created a Kahlua butter glaze. The glaze gave me some grief when I was making it though, it kept thickening up on me at the strangest times. After making it a second time I had it down.
I ran into some of the same problems as we came across with the Black Cherry Ale Cupcakes, mainly the fact that it was in the high 90s and working with chocolate and glazes is nearly impossible without the constant use of the fridge. All in all, I feel that this cupcake turned out well, and am definitely looking forward to having one of these again soon.
On a different note, I wanted to share with all you beer cupcake lovers an update on where we’re at with our kickstarter campaign. We currently are 66% funded thanks to all of you and your generosity. We still have 27 days left to get the remaining 34% or $565! If we are able to reach our goal in the next 27 days we will be bringing our beer cupcakes to the Inland Northwest. We want to thank you again for all your support, we couldn’t do it without you, and if you are looking to donate to Sweet and Stout you can click here.
This past week Dylan and I were up in Bellingham, WA visiting his family. We wanted to make cupcakes while we were there since his family hardly ever gets to try them, so we baked a (rather large) batch this past Saturday. We wanted to use a local beer and one of our favorite places to go while we’re in Bellingham is Boundary Bay. Their beer is a necessary Bellingham experience whenever we’re over that way. We used their Ski to Sea ESB in a cupcake before, so why not try another one?
We headed over there and got a sampler of beers when (through some tweets & some pints) we got the idea to use Boundary Bay’s IPA in one of our cupcakes. Apparently a lot of people assume that their IPA is too bitter to bake with, but I wanted to prove them wrong. The cake flavor idea came about the next day while we were in a grocery store (can’t remember the name of it) and I picked up a couple bars of Theo’s Spicy Chile. It’s a dark chocolate with that little bite of spicy chile. I used the chocolate to make a delicious ganache and paired it with a basic yellow cake made with the IPA.
I have to add in here that Dylan’s folks have the most amazing oven (a convection oven) and it heats up to temperature in about 10 minutes. My oven at home sometimes takes about 30 to 40 minutes to get fired up to 350 degrees … a little sad in comparison! Anyways, I baked them in the convection oven and I think they turned out slightly overdone, so I will have to make them again (oh darn).
Despite the oven stuff, these actually turned out really well. The basic yellow cake (the batter was SO delicious, by the way, Dylan’s mom can attest to that) really complimented the little bit of heat you got from the frosting. I also sprinkled a little cayenne pepper on the top for added kick.
These cupcakes were a great idea, and I look forward to baking them again. Likewise, I look forward to getting some more Boundary Bay IPA because it is very delicious and one of my favorites that they have on tap. If you’re in the Bellingham area, make sure you stop in and have a pint, it’s so worth it!