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!
This weekend did not feel like June, at all. Saturday we were lucky to get into the high 40s, and it was pouring rain most of the day! Sunday has brought a bit of sun so far, but I could really go for 80 degrees right about now. This week’s cupcake is inspired by the weather I wish we were having here in the Pacific Northwest!
Peaches and cream is a classic flavor combination for a reason, it’s amazingly delicious. As always, there’s a Sweet and Stout twist to these cupcakes, I baked the peach cake with Elysian Brewing Company’s Bête Blanche Tripel. I wasn’t quite sure what beer would go with a peach cake, but after perusing the beer section I decided a tripel would be a good choice. Tripel’s have that classic Belgian spicy-fruity taste to them, and this beer went really well with the peaches. It’s incredibly easy to drink, too.
The cake had about a cup of pureed peaches in it, and yet only came out with a slight hint of peach flavor. Next time I will dice up some peaches and put them right in the batter. It did bake up nice and soft though, very tasty. For the frosting I used a whipped cream and cream cheese frosting and, oh my, it’s bowl-devouring good. There is quite a bit of leftover frosting, and I’m imagining myself with a giant plate of peach pancakes later topped with a lot of frosting. Whipped cream is the shiz. For real.
To make sure there was no mistaking these cupcakes for anything but peach, I garnished each with a thin slice of it’s fruity namesake. It’s hard not to shove the entire cupcake in your mouth due to it’s delicious nature, but I’m refraining from eating them all. For now.
As I mentioned last week, Dylan and I participated in the Spokane Humane Society’s Parade of Paws. We got a bit soaked, but it was totally worth it. Our dog went into puppy and puddle overload, and had a great time. Our team, A Furry Frenzy, raised over $700 for SHS, and we’re proud to have been a part of that. For your enjoyment, here’s a picture of our dog, Big, soaked after the event.
Hope you had a great weekend, too!
- Jackie & Dylan
This week’s challenge, aside from Dylan and I participating in Bloomsday (a 7.46 mile walk/run), was to create a cupcake based on a random fruit we picked at the grocery store. We’re always trying to do something a little different here at Sweet and Stout (in case you haven’t noticed!). When we arrived at the store, we discovered that kiwi was on sale, so that’s what we decided to use. For the beer, we picked Monk’s Indescretion (great name!), a Belgian Style Specialty Ale from Sound Brewing. On the label the beer says that it’s “an intense tropical hoppy aroma & flavor, with balanced bitterness”, seemed a good fit, so we got it. This beer was VERY good, and, like the label also says, “scarily drinkable” with an ABV at 10%. Wowza.
I’ve never baked kiwi into anything, so we just improvised the whole thing. The first thing we did was chop up the kiwi and boiled it with some water to make them nice and soft. Then we reduced it down a bit, while mashing them (with a potato masher), and finally added a little sugar to make a mushy, mashy, kiwi sauce. It definitely wasn’t the most attractive color, however it tasted delicious.
We strained out some of the juice and set it aside for the frosting, then used the mashed up fruit in the cake. I used a recipe that I have for a lemon cake and replaced the lemons with kiwi, a simple swap. When the cake came out of the oven, it really looked like a lemon poppy seed cake. For the frosting I went with a cream cheese one (shocking, I know), and added the kiwi juice I had saved from earlier. I topped each off with half a slice of freshly cut kiwi, took a bite, and was very pleased with the outcome.
Makes me wonder what other types of fruit we can base a cupcake off of. Anyone else have some ideas?
- Jackie & Dylan
P.S.- We’re so glad that we decided to wear our Sweet and Stout t-shirts to the Bloomsday race. Many people came running up behind us to find out “Where Beer and Cupcake Unite”, and they all seemed pretty excited that there are beer cupcakes here in Spokane. So, thanks to all the people that said “hi” to us, and we hope you’ll get a chance to try some of our cupcakes soon!
After last week’s oven failure, I was a bit worried about how we would be baking cupcakes this weekend. When I got in the kitchen this morning, I crossed my fingers and fired up the oven, just to see if it would go. It has been working randomly, but hardly predictable. Lucky for us, the oven felt like cooperating!
For this recipe, I took our basic orange cake recipe and just added in some cocoa powder to make it chocolate. I also prepared a semi-sweet chocolate ganache ahead of time, and added a bit of orange zest to make it more interesting. I’m actually surprised we haven’t done this flavor sooner, orange + chocolate = one of my most favorite things. (It’s right up there next to pumpkin.)
For the beer, I went with a Belgian style golden ale, another one from Dick’s Brewing Company, called Silk Lady. This beer definitely has a strong citrus flavor, and was a perfect match to the fresh orange juice and zest in our cake recipe. We try to avoid using the same brewing company 2 weeks in a row, but the beer really did pair well with the cake.
In other news, we hit 400+ fans on our facebook page last week! To celebrate that, I sent Dylan out on a cupcake adventure Friday to give away some cupcakes. I had to work that day, but I think Dylan enjoyed making the rounds. He made stops at Arbor Crest Winery (did you know they’re going to start making their own beer soon?), Manito Tap House, The Hop Shop, and Jones Radiator. All cool places to check out, if you’re in Spokane, of course. (We’re looking for a few more places to carry our cupcakes, so if you’re reading this and you want to sell some beer cupcakes at your shop – give us a call!)
We hope you all had a terrific Thanksgiving this past week, and hopefully you survived black Friday without too many traumas! Thanks for stopping by to check out this week’s cupcake.
- Jackie & Dylan
As promised, this weeks cupcake is not chocolate! This week we used a bottle of Scuttlebutt’s Tripel 7, a Belgian style ale. This beer was what you’d expect flavor-wise, for a Belgian style – citrus, a little sweet and smooth. While I don’t claim to be a beer connoisseur, the beer was good and I would drink it again when in the mood for a Belgian style. It helps that the price for a 22 oz. bottle was decent. As an added bonus, the label design is really cool, I am such a label girl!
On to the cupcake! I love lemon cake, it’s one of my favorite flavors. As I was looking around the interwebs for some inspiration I came across someone who had made a lemon cupcake with a raspberry center and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
The cake recipe was pretty standard, lots of lemon juice & zest, I substituted my choice of beer for the milk that was called for. I find that making that switch usually works out pretty good, other times I will just add the beer then compensate for it with extra dry ingredients.
I had to go to 2 grocery stores to find fresh raspberries, who knew they’d be hard to find? I wanted to use fresh over frozen. Fresh raspberries are a little pricey right now, but I think it was worth it. For the filling we picked up some seedless raspberry jam, my favorite!
The frosting was a little bit of an experiment. I started out with a double boiler, some sugar and egg whites. I must not have gotten it to the right temperature, because no matter how long I whipped it, I couldn’t get the stiff peaks to form. Just when I thought it was close, I started adding my other ingredients and it lost it’s thickness.
I think I’m going to have to work on my egg white frosting, because it is really tasty when it’s done right. Last time I tried it was for the Lime IPA cupcakes with meringue, it went so well that I thought it was easy! I think my beginners luck is running out. What do you do with runny frosting? Add powdered sugar and corn starch, of course! I got the frosting all thickened up, but in the process I created entirely too much of it. I have so many plastic containers of random frostings and ganaches, I really need to have a frosting party and get these things eaten up!
I think these cupcakes turned out well, I wish I would have baked them for just a couple minutes less, but otherwise they tasted great. Okay, maybe I would also add more raspberry filling, that stuff is good!
Wait a second, why is the title in French you ask? Well this weeks selection for Sweet and Stout gets it’s fancy flavor from Dogfish Head Brewery’s Raison D’Etre. While it’s not a french beer, the name is, and it means “reason to be” or as I’m finding on other sites, “reason for existance”.
I chose this beer because it’s a dark Belgian style brewed with beet sugar and raisins, a perfect pairing for a carrot cake, in my opinion. You can definitely taste the raisins as well as some other fruits as you’re taking a sip of this beer. It was kind of sweet, and after a few sips, I decided I liked it. I’m sure it helped that the ABV is 8%. Why are all the tasty beers so strong?
On to the cake! Poor Dylan got volunteered to grate carrots. Do you have any idea the amount of carrots that go into this cake? About 6 cups worth, that’s how much! The thing is, I thought I had 2 graters, turns out I only had one. The next time we make this cake, I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing all the grating.
This was my first time ever making a carrot cake and didn’t make a very pretty looking batter, but they really did turn out to be quite delicious. I never really knew I liked carrot cake until recently. I’m sad I’ve been missing out on eating this kind of cake for so many years.
Of course, we topped these off with the traditional cream cheese frosting. This time I made a bit more frosting so that we could use our frosting-cake-decorator thing and make it look all pretty for you!
Sometimes I want Dylan’s job… official taste tester of all my cupcake creations. These cupcakes went quick and so did the beer. This time we opted for a Great Divide Brewing Company Hades Belgian Style Ale. The beer was pretty good, and had that classic Belgian style taste. I’ve had Belgian style beers with an orange slice in the glass, so I figured why not try an orange cupcake?
This recipe was a little different from the last two in that I actually had to modify a recipe in order to incorporate the beer. The recipe I found called for 3/4 cup of orange juice, so I just made a substitution. I ended up adding more and using a full cup of beer as the batter seemed slightly too thick.
Instead of a frosting, I opted for an orange icing. Icing is fairly simple and while I did add orange zest to it, the main flavor of the icing was powdered sugar. I’m not complaining, I could eat powdered sugar all day. The icing was light enough though that it didn’t take away from the flavor of the cupcake.
These cupcakes were delicious. Regrettably I can’t pass some out to you over the interwebs, but I think you would agree. They were soft with a subdued orange-Belgian flavor that left you wanting more and I couldn’t resist. After the photoshoot I sat down with my glass of beer and made short work of these.
I would definitely make these again.