Where beer and cupcakes unite!

Buttercream Frosting

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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Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes

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!


Mocha Coconut Cupcakes

I don’t know why more people don’t love coconut. It’s a great flavor, and it pairs especially well with chocolate (the greatest flavor, ever). This week we made these Mocha Coconut cupcakes based off of a recipe that I found on Pinterest from How Sweet It Is.

Are you on Pinterest? There’s a wealth of creative ideas, just waiting to inspire you over there. You can find me (Jackie) on Pinterest here. (I share all kinds of ideas, including cupcakes, of course!) I’ll wait while you go check it out, but hurry up, I can’t promise there will be any cupcakes left over by the time you get back.

Back to these tasty cupcakes. We had to modify the recipe to incorporate the beer, of course. After a trip to the beer store, (always fun on a Sunday morning!) we decided to go with Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, a fantastic imperial stout. This was the first time I’ve had this beer, and let me tell you, I fell in love with it. It’s a thick, malty stout that hides it’s alcohol content (10.5%) VERY well. Half of the can went into the cupcakes, and the other half went to me. Let’s just say, I was feeling toasty myself before noon, but (as it was pointed out by a friend on Untappd) it’s Superbowl Sunday, therefor holiday drinking rules apply.

The cake batter alone was fabulous, thankfully I did manage to bake it into a dozen cupcakes (instead of eating it all). The frosting was a buttercream with added coconut milk and flake for flavor. The recipe also has a chocolate mocha syrup to drizzle on top, and I toasted some coconut flake to top it all off. I’m not sure what I did, but the frosting started to separate before I could get it on the cupcakes. I did my best to get it back together, and lucky for me, it still tasted fabulous on top of the cake.

After messily compiling all the frosting components, I sampled the whole package, and it was excellent. Imagine soft, dense, chocolate cake with creamy coconut frosting with a hint of toasted chocolate coconut all together in your mouth. Honestly, if any of these make it into work tomorrow, I will be surprised.

– Jackie & Dylan


Dylan’s Apple Pie Cupcakes

This week’s cupcake idea is brought to you by Dylan! We used Sierra Nevada’s Northern Hemisphere Harvest Ale in these apple pie inspired cakes. The Harvest Ale is wet hopped with hops from Yakima Valley and give this beer a fresh, crisp taste. Definitely a great pairing with the granny smith apples that went into this cake.

While Dylan created the batter, I caramelized the apples on the stove top. We used some of these brown paper cupcake wrappers, a gift from my sister, Taylor, for Christmas. They were just the right height to fit in our toaster oven, and look really pretty. After the batter was placed in the wrapper, I topped each off with a few apple slices and sent them to be baked.

The frosting on these was interesting. It came out really thick, I equated it to working with concrete. It was almost too thick to come out of the frosting gun. You can see by the pictures that the frosting looks pretty stiff. It tasted really good though, so we did our best to work with it.

I think if we were to bake these again, we’d put a lot more apple on the top. The cake turned out really soft and spongy, very enjoyable. Oh, and maybe a brown sugar crisp topping would be a tasty addition, or a substitute for the heavy frosting. They do taste really great just the way they are.

In other news, this Friday you can catch Sweet and Stout at the grand opening/ First Friday event over at Studio¬†66 Art Gallery, here in Spokane. You can see the invite here for time and location, or check them out on facebook. If you’re in the area, you should definitely stop by and see us, plus see some amazing art from local artists! We’ll have mini cupcakes on hand for ease of snacking while viewing some great art work! The event starts at 5, and we hope to see you there.

– Jackie & Dylan


Eggnog Cupcakes

I’ll be the first to admit that the idea of eggnog grosses me out. However, I know a few eggnog enthusiasts (Dylan included) that would feel left out if we didn’t attempt this holiday flavor. I will also admit here that I really liked these cupcakes (but I’m not about to pour myself a glass of eggnog).

Our shiny new Twelve String growler!

Friday night Dylan and I went out to check out the newest brewery here in Spokane, Twelve String Brewing Co. Intent on sampling all their offerings, we braved the cold, and found our way there. The tap room was warm and inviting, the atmosphere filled with chatter and laughter, it was a great evening! We sampled 5 brews, including their Don’t Fret Porter. This was probably our favorite beer of the night. We bought a growler of it to take home because we knew that we had to bake with it.

Now, I realize eggnog and beer don’t necessarily sound good together, but it turned out to be a great match. The nutmeg and spice in the eggnog cake paired well with the chocolate and coffee tones that flavor this porter. The smell of the kitchen was pretty enticing while these were baking (Amazingly, the oven decided to cooperate this time!).

For the frosting, we went with a buttercream and used more of the eggnog and nutmeg to flavor it. Dylan frosted them all fancy-like, we’ve been trying to improve our frosting technique, and they look so pretty!

If you live in the Spokane area, I highly recommend you stop over by Twelve String and sample their beers, you’ll be glad you did. Also, to my fellow Spokanites (is that what we’re called?), if you’re looking to get some Sweet and Stout cupcakes before Christmas, get a hold of us soon. Only 2 more bake nights before then!

Cheers!

– Jackie & Dylan


True Irish Death Cupcakes

I know, I know … we’ve done Iron Horse Brewery’s Irish Death before. However, Irish Death is frickin’ delicious, so we’re going to use it again. There’s a few things we did different this time. First, this is a chocolate cake made with Irish Death. Second, the frosting is … oh yes … Mocha Death beer frosting! It’s like double the Irish Death fun. (Seems weird to have death and fun in the same sentence, but I reread it a couple times, and I’m okay with it.)

In case I’ve never said this before, I love chocolate. Any chance I get to make chocolate cake, I do. Dylan is always the voice of reason and says things like “well, you made chocolate last time” or “don’t you think we should do something other than chocolate?”. Well this time, I must have been pretty convincing, because he was all about the chocolate. (lucky me!)

One thing that we’ve been thinking about experimenting with is beer frosting. We needed a way to get the beer in it, without actually having the alcohol in it too. So, we ended up taking a cup of Irish Death and reducing it, on the stove top, to about a tablespoon. All the heat removes the alcohol, and leaves us with a concentrated (almost syrup-like) amount of beer. While I contemplated pouring it over a bowl of vanilla ice cream, Dylan quickly took it away and added it to the buttercream frosting.

The result were these True Irish Death cupcakes, or you could call them Double Death cupcakes (that’s what I wanted to call them, Dylan picked “True Irish Death”). Whatever you want to call them, they were pretty tasty. We’re definitely going to experiment with more beer in frosting, I think it’s the next logical step up for us to take. Just thinking about all the different beer possibilities in frosting is pretty exciting. We’re evening thinking about doing a beer ganache frosting too. mmm!

Thanks for stopping by and checking us out today! In case you missed it, Dylan and I were on one of our local morning shows on Friday. To say being on TV is pretty cool is an understatement. It’s scary and awesome at the same time! You can check out our appearance here. We were so happy to be on the show, and I think the anchors really enjoyed the cupcakes we brought by.

– Jackie & Dylan


Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Stout Cupcakes

I think I need to start coming up with more creative names for my cupcakes. This one is a peanut butter lovers dream.

These cupcakes were Dylan’s idea. We had a few different bottles of Samuel Smith’s in the fridge, one being their oatmeal stout. (I should add that this beer gets very high mark’s on Beer Advocate. You should try it if you’ve never had it, it’s a very good beer.)

These were fun to make. About 45 minutes before I heated up the oven, I made this sort of chocolate peanut butter ganache and put it in the refrigerator (to be used later in the recipe). I made a basic chocolate stout cupcake to start with. Then after my ganache was cold, I hand rolled it up into little balls and plopped 1 in the middle of each freshly batter-filled cupcake liner.

I fear I may have baked these a little too long, but they still turned out great. I made some pistachio rosewater cupcakes with a nut brown ale a couple days ago for Dylan’s dad’s birthday and I didn’t bake them long enough, and now I’m paranoid about my baking times! I ended up figuring out a (tasty) workaround on those cupcakes, but they weren’t very pretty looking, so that’s why I won’t be posting them up here on sweetandstout unless I make them again some time.

These were just slightly over cooked, but the gooey peanut butter center and the peanut butter buttercream frosting definitely made up for it. Oh yeah, and Dylan thought we should top them with chopped up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups … how could I disagree?

Aside from baking a little too long, the only thing I regret about these cupcakes is that I didn’t make more of them. My recipe worked out to making only about 15 cupcakes. It’s tough when you’re wildly mixing ingredients in the kitchen sometimes! The batter turned out pretty thick and looking back I think I could have increased the amount of beer I used and I would have gotten a few more cupcakes out of it. Oh well, there’s always next time!

– Jackie