Where beer and cupcakes unite!

Chocolate

Guest Blogger: Alissa from CookingWithSurly.com

Dylan and I got married on the 21st in beautiful Bellingham, Washington! As much as we love you all here, we are out enjoying our honeymoon, so we’ve lined up a couple guest bloggers to take over in the mean time. We’ll be back in a couple weeks!

We did a guest post over on cookingwithsurly.com a couple months ago and now Alissa is stopping by Sweet and Stout to do the same. She writes a great blog about cooking with beer in all kinds of recipes, you should definitely go check it out.

We started chatting back in May about exchanging recipes, and both agreed it was a great idea. Alissa had been wanting to try her hand at beer cupcakes for a while, her recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen and is called “Chocolate and Whiskey Beer Cupcakes”. The title alone makes my mouth water!

Alissa says the only issue with these cupcakes was that she bought a new silicone pan and figured that the paper liners weren’t necessary if you just grease it really well. As it turned out, the cake kind of stuck to the pan, so paper liners would have been more favorable. Even still, she was able to save a few for her photo of these delicious treats. Alissa used Schokolade Bock, from Millstream Brewing, and says it turned out good. Some styles of bock beer are dark and very malty, a great beer to pair with a rich chocolate cake. I think a dopplebock would be a excellent choice. Many thanks to Alissa and Smitten Kitchen for this amazing sounding recipe!

So, want to give these cupcakes a try for yourself? Check out the recipe below:

Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes
Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup stout (I used Schokolade Bock, but Surly Coffee Bender would be great too!)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)

Bailey’s Frosting
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream)

Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

Frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

Ice and decorate the cupcakes.


Salty Chocolate Pretzel Cupcakes

I’m always looking for that perfect blend of salty and sweet. You may have noticed that theme in the last few weeks of our cupcakes. This time we will round out the salty-sweet trifecta with these Chocolate Pretzel Cupcakes. These last few cupcakes would be the perfect bar food: potato chips, popcorn, and pretzels.

The cake is a slightly salty chocolate cake infused with Firestone Walker’s Velvet Merlin, a smooth and delicious oatmeal stout. You can definitely taste the chocolate and roasted coffee flavor in this beer. It’s perfect for a chocolate cake. I used coarse sea salt in the cake, and as you take a bite, you get the tiniest bit of saltiness. I wasn’t expecting that, but it worked out in our favor.

I was trying out a new recipe for chocolate caramel ganache for the frosting, but it never stiffened up in the fridge. Being the cupcake innovator that I am (and totally modest, by the way), I tossed in a bunch of powdered sugar and whipped it into shape. The frosting had a really interesting flavor, it tasted like ganache but not heavy at all, it was fluffy and quite enjoyable! I crushed some pretzels on top of each cake after frosting and stuck a whole pretzel in to top it off.

I’ve always loved chocolate covered pretzels, and using the frosting as a pretzel dip was a great idea to do with the leftovers. I love when there’s leftover frosting.

I wanted to mention that next weekend, Dylan and I will be walking with our dog (silly dog photo: click here) in the Spokane Humane Society’s Parade of Paws. It’s a walk that raises money for the shelter, and we’re on team “A Furry Frenzy“. Our team has raised almost $300 so far (online)! We’re really proud to be a part of the team. If you’re in the Spokane area, you should come out and join the fun!

Who knows what we’ll come up with for next week. I think I’m running out of things to cover with chocolate, is that even possible?

Cheers!
– Jackie & Dylan


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!


Chocolate Covered Potato Chip Cupcakes

It’s been quite the whirlwind of a weekend for us here at Sweet and Stout! With our wedding rapidly approaching, we’ve been getting pretty busy taking care of all the fun little details that go along with planning such an event. We were also plenty busy this weekend doing cupcake and beer related activities!

On Friday evening we made a guest appearance at Spokane Real Deals and their Girls Night Out event. We sold some cupcakes, and got to talk with some really great people, including Rachelle and Kris, the owners. We also met Ginger of Peace, Love & Pearls, who does great work revamping vintage jewelry. Ginger actually inspired our idea for this week’s cupcake flavor, but I’ll get to that.  To top it all off, we got to meet Dan, of Duo Brewing, who happened to be in Spokane this Sunday. We’ve been following Duo Brewing for a while now, so it was really awesome to meet half of the duo behind the beer. We are definitely looking forward to trying some of their beers in the near future.

Anyways, I know you all really came here to read about our cupcakes, so here they are:

That’s a chocolate covered potato chip on top of a chocolate cake, with chocolate frosting, of course! While I was talking to Ginger on Friday evening, she mentioned that she used to have a business that made chocolate covered potato chips. This sounded like such a tasty idea, I decided that we had to give it a try. Making them was quite easy, just melt some chocolate and dip in your favorite chip. Let me tell you, I’m really upset I haven’t tried this sooner in life. I’m sure they have no health benefits, whatsoever, but, they were the perfect balance of salty and sweet. Definitely worth trying.

For the cake we used Rogue Chocolate Stout, a deliciously rich chocolate stout, that paired fabulously with our chocolate cake. If you are into chocolate beers, I highly recommend you give this one a try. The roasted malt flavor combined with the chocolate is sweet and toasty, and there’s just a hint of bitterness that balances it out. For the frosting I used a regular cream cheese base, then just added the leftover melted chocolate that I had dipped the potato chips into. Looking back on the last year+ of this cupcake blog, I don’t think I’ve ever done just a chocolate cream cheese frosting. That’s almost hard to believe, considering how much I love chocolate. It was pretty much the tastiest chocolate frosting ever, and I will definitely incorporate it into more cupcake recipes! (Chocoholic-4-life)

The only thing that bothered me about this cupcake creation was that the part of the chip that was covered in chocolate got a little soft, not necessarily soggy, just not as crispy as I wanted it to be. I’m not sure what would be the fix for it, but I’m willing to eat plenty more until I figure it out. So, let us know what you think– would you try a chocolate covered potato chip (on a cupcake)?

– Jackie & Dylan


Blueberry Chocolate

Blueberries and chocolate combined is entirely underrated. It is a fantastic combination of flavors, and I highly recommend trying it. This weekend we created a chocolate cake using North Coast Brewing’s Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, and combined it with some frozen blueberries, best idea, ever (maybe). Not only is blueberry and chocolate a great combination, this beer is spectacular. Old Rasputin weighs in at 9% ABV, so even after a half bottle (1 half for cupcakes, 1 half for me), I was feeling pretty tipsy.

The cake itself was a basic chocolate, the only thing different was that we added in about a cup of blueberries and we puréed them in a blender before adding them into the batter. The cake turned out dark and delicious with a hint of stout flavor and blueberry. Perfect. What didn’t work out great for me was the frosting. I was avoiding making a trip to the grocery store, so I used the butter and left over cream cheese I had on hand. Well, I guess the butter wasn’t too happy with my blueberries and lemon I added to it, and the frosting separated before I could even get it on the cakes.

Being that it was a beautiful, summer-like day, here in Spokane, I decided to pair the cake with some Tillamook Mudslide ice cream and forgo the frosting all together. Sometimes, cupcakes don’t need frosting, and this was definitely an awesome alternative! I topped the dish with some thawed blueberries, and now I can’t wait to go back and have more.

– Jackie & Dylan


Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

Sunday was such a beautiful day here in Spokane! We woke up with great ideas for the day’s cupcake, something summery, perhaps. We went to the grocery store to get supplies, and got to work. The idea was to make a strawberry rosemary lemonade cupcake, which actually sounds really delicious. I created the batter, put it in the toaster oven (yes, we still have only a toaster oven to bake in. It’s a long story), and what came out tasted really good! The only problem was that there was a giant crater in the middle of the cupcake. No rising action here. I double checked my recipe, decided to add a little more baking soda, and baked the next 6. Not only did they come out worse looking (see below), I had to soak the pan to get them out of it.

Yucky!

This all happened before noon. As I mentioned, it was a really nice day, so we decided to go take our dog for a walk and think about what we’d like to do for the blog post this weekend. I couldn’t bring myself to not post anything, so another round of baking was in our future. When we got back we had decided on making chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake.

Apparently when I bake things that have chocolate in them, they turn out just fine. We used a chocolate cake recipe we had used before, one that was a little lighter in chocolate flavor. It was a good choice. For the beer we used Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout, which is a rich and delicious stout beer. It gave the chocolate cake a definite malty flavor, that I really enjoyed.


I made the cookie dough and put a small rounded blob of dough in the middle of the cupcake, then baked them to see what would happen. Well, the cupcakes looked normal when they came out! I was so happy. We frosted them all with cream cheese frosting (now there’s something I can’t mess up) and placed a fresh chocolate chip cookie on top.When I bit into it the chocolate chip cookie had sunk to the bottom while baking, but you could still taste all it’s deliciousness. These cupcakes are basically a sugar bomb, some days, that’s just the pick-me-up you need!

Since it was such a nice day, I decided to shoot the photos outside. As it turns out, the door leading to our cellar makes a really nice backdrop for cupcake photos. Confession: Sometimes I enjoy taking the photos of the cupcakes more than actually eating them. Today I thoroughly enjoyed both!

Cheers!

– Jackie & Dylan


Chocolate Potato Cupcakes

Our favorite day in March is rapidly approaching, St. Patrick’s day! We started this blog almost a year ago, and to get into the holiday spirit, we made these Chocolate Potato cupcakes, inspired by the traditional Irish dessert.

For the beer this week, we were lucky enough to receive a bottle of Boundary Bay’s Imperial Oatmeal Stout from Dylan’s dad (who lives in Bellingham, where Boundary Bay is located). I wish we could find Boundary Bay’s beers in bottles here, this beer is fantastic! You can find some of their beers on tap around Spokane, so we’ll have to settle for that.

I know we did a sweet potato cupcake last year, so I was pretty sure that a potato version was going to turn out just fine. I was a little worried after last weeks cupcake experiment, I didn’t want two bad posts in a row. Thankfully, the potato and chocolate cake turned out fabulous. These cakes are dense and hearty, pretty sure it has something to do with the riced potatoes that I put in there. Ricing potatoes without a ricer is a bit time consuming though, I had to run those bad boys over our tiny cheese grater to make sure there were no lumps. They have just a slight hint of chocolate flavor, despite the 2 1/2 ounces of baking chocolate I put in them (also grated the chocolate over the cheese grater, when will we ever invest in a food processor?!).

To top them off I went with a classic cream cheese frosting. I was not going to try and get all fancy this time, and I stuck with what I know. It was a good choice. The frosting doesn’t overpower the cake, which lets the cake flavor be the most prominent.

Next week, if you’re in the Spokane area, you should join us at the #foodie tweetup going on over at Launchpad on Monday, March 12 from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. We’re going to be using you all as test subjects for a new flavor we’re working on, plus there will be all kinds of other cool people there with tasty treats to share (Savor Sweets and Farm Girl Gourmet, plus wine pours from Nectar Wine!). I can’t think of a better way to spend a Monday evening, hope to see you there!

– Jackie & Dylan