Where beer and cupcakes unite!

Red Velvet Smoked Porter Cupcakes

Ah, holiday weekend! You were not long enough.

Since Dylan and I didn’t have any plans this weekend (except relaxing and being lazy), I saved my cupcake baking until Memorial Day. We started early in the morning, had the beer cracked open around 10:30 am! Now that’s how holidays are meant to be spent.

I wanted to make red velvet cupcakes as a test run… because in a few weeks we are making an order of 50 for a friend of Dylan’s at his work! That’s right, a paid cupcake-gig. How exciting!

I’ve been wanting to try Stone Brewing Company’s Smoked Porter, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to give it a go. I find that porter and chocolate go great together, so I used this opportunity to try it out. This beer is really good! The smokiness of the porter made it extra delicious. If you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend it.

The recipe I based my own recipe on called for the cupcakes to be baked at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. I put in my first batch and thought that was a really low temperature for baking, but I’d give it a try. After the 25 minutes I took them out and they all kind of fell flat! I was a little scared I hadn’t cooked them long enough (like some cupcakes in the past), but it was too late to do anything about them. For the next batch I upped the temperature to 350 degrees, baked them for 25 minutes and they turned out much better. It’s kind of weird what a difference 25 degrees can make, but it really made them taste much better. Also, I had no idea how much food coloring it takes to get the cake red. It’s a lot! I’ll have to get some more before I bake these again.

I’ve read that cream cheese frosting isn’t the traditional red velvet topper, but I went for it anyway. I had a lot of cream cheese in the fridge, plus it’s pretty much the best frosting ever. I do have a traditional red velvet frosting recipe, and I will have to try it some time (in the future).

I was trying to figure out what exactly makes red velvet cake different from just a non food colored chocolate cake, and I’m still unsure. There were a few ingredients that I haven’t been using in my recipes before, there was vinegar in this particular one, and maybe that makes a difference?

– Jackie

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4 responses

  1. This is amazing, Jackie! I saw your Tweet this a.m. and was wondering just how the beer would affect the cupcakes. I assume you used less leavening, to make up for the leavening from the beer, or…?? I’m intrigued at the idea of a Smoky Porter in food…and you’re right…the Red Velvet cake is quite different in that it uses mostly cocoa…and also uses both vinegar and buttermilk (at least my recipe does) to counteract the alkalinity of the cocoa. You’re right about the color, too…the first time I made it, I thought it was a misprint! You’re too young to remember, I expect…but back in the ’60s, one form of red food dye was made illegal, since it was found to be a potent carcinogen. For about five years after that edict, Red Velvet Cake recipes languished while people came to terms with the idea of a recipe with THAT MUCH food coloring…however, the dyes they use today have been tested and found completely safe. I’m glad…Red Velvet Cake is excellent! I’m so happy to hear that you’re working towards a business in cupcakes…you’ve got a very interesting and unique idea with the beer, especially…not your average cupcake vendor!

    About your wedding photography (I’m eneketasen on Twitter and we tweeted about it this morning?) I’ve asked a friend of mine who is a terrific photog if he does weddings…and if so, (and if he will give you the raw images on DVD) I’ll tweet his deets to you.

    Best of luck…and have a terrific week (glad it’s short, considering none of us wanted it to end!) Take care…Nevada

    May 31, 2011 at 11:53 am

  2. Thanks Nevada!

    I haven’t been cutting back my leavening even though I know the cake is getting some lift from the beer. I wonder what kind of difference it would make if I did cut back a little.

    In the recipe I created I replaced the buttermilk with the beer. I could probably find a way to put in both buttermilk & beer with just a few minor tweaks. I think I’m going to try that next time I’m making them.

    This whole thing has been one big experiment and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve always loved to bake, my mom can attest to that. Baked goods are my weakness and have been since I was a kid.

    Thanks for checking into photo-details. Dylan (my fiancée) figured that the sooner we start looking, the more likely we’ll find someone willing to work with what we want. Have a great week yourself!

    -Jackie

    May 31, 2011 at 12:04 pm

  3. Congrats on your paid gig! That’s awesome! If I lived closer, I’d certainly hire you to bake up some beer paired cupcakes for me!

    These look delicious – and beautiful pics, as always!

    May 31, 2011 at 5:10 pm

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