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!
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
There are so many different kinds of fruit that I want to turn into cupcakes! This week Dylan challenged me to create a cupcake using grapefruit. Challenge accepted! Grapefruit is known for its citrus sweet, yet bitter flavor. If I’m having one for breakfast I usually sprinkle sugar on top to sweeten it up a bit. We’ve made lemon and lime cupcakes, which are also sweet/sour/bitter, and they’ve all turned out delicious, so I figured these would turn out similar.
For the beer, we wanted to use something light, so we went with Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale. This beer was a perfect match for the grapefruit, it has a very crisp, citrus-like taste to it and just enough hops to add some bitter. This beer is great for a very hot day, or for a day of baking (like we so often do at our house!)
The cake is pretty simple, and if you have a good recipe for lemon cake, you can pretty much substitute any lemon ingredients with grapefruit. That’s what I did, and I added a bit more grapefruit zest just to make sure the flavor came through. The cake turned out super soft and the grapefruit flavor was definitely there. For the frosting I made grapefruit buttercream using reduced grapefruit juice and more zest. You still get some of the bitter from the grapefruit, but all the powdered sugar in the frosting balances it out.
To top them all off, I candied some grapefruit peel, which turned out surprisingly good. I’ve never attempted to candy anything, so I was pleased with the outcome (and it tasted awesome). If I candy anything again I’d probably cut the peels a bit thinner, but that’s only for aesthetic reasons. After putting the entire cupcake together, Dylan and I each took a bite and declared victory. I would definitely make these again, and look forward to it in the future!
– Jackie & Dylan
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!
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):
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