I’ll admit right now, I’ve got the winter blues. I am craving some warm weather and sunshine, and all Spokane gave me this weekend was snow. It’s just not working for me. Anyways, what does this have to do with cupcakes? Well, I made cupcakes this weekend, but much like the weather, they really didn’t work for me.
Mainly it was the frosting. I found an interesting recipe I wanted to try. Looking back, I probably should have just gone with something I know, but I wanted to be different! The frosting was something of a hybrid between meringue and butter cream, and by hybrid, I mostly meant some kind of weird, gross mutant baby of the two. I don’t even think my description is close to conveying how awkward and flavorless it tasted. Okay, moving on, let’s talk about the cake.
The cake tasted fine. I was going for a coconut raspberry with a hint of lemon, and that’s what I got, mostly. The one great thing that I came up with, and all on my own, was a beer raspberry sauce. My original intent for this sauce was to swirl it with the lemon coconut cake batter, bake amazing cupcakes, and wow you all with my genius. Since I’m not going to wow you with my cupcake skills this week, I thought I’d share the raspberry beer sauce recipe. I think this would be really tasty over some vanilla ice cream. (Now I wish I had some). Since I used all the sauce in the cupcakes, I don’t have a picture of it, but I swear, it looked really tasty.
So, without further adieu, here is my recipe for Raspberry Beer Sauce:
(makes around 1/2 cup of raspberry beer saucy goodness, double recipe to make more)
1 cup frozen red raspberries
1/4 cup beer (we used Deschutes Red Chair NWPA, yum!)
1/4 finely chopped coconut flake
Combine ingredients in sauce pan over medium to low heat. As the berries thaw out, mash them up into beer and coconut. Continue cooking over low heat, I probably cooked it for 10 minutes or more. If you’re not a fan of raspberry seeds, you could strain the mixture & just use the juice, but that’s really no fun. Let it cool a bit before you start chugging it, or put it on your ice cream. Enjoy!
Every now and then, I have an idea that sounds awesome, but when it’s actually made, it’s kind of awkward and strange. That’s what happened this past weekend. I got it into my head that smoked chocolate would be a new flavor we could implement in some of our cupcakes. I made a chocolate ganache for the frosting over my little charcoal grill and used hickory chips to smoke it. (Looking back, hickory was probably not the best choice) I let it fully cook in the smoke and heat, then put it in the refrigerator to cool.
I did this all on Friday night, Saturday morning I made some chocolate cupcakes to go with it. I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe, which usually calls for a stout. I happen to have a growler of Great Divide’s Rumble Oaked Aged IPA, and wanted to use that instead, so I did. I won that growler last Thursday evening while playing trivia over at Brews on Washington, look how pretty it is!
If you’ve never had the Rumble before, I highly recommend it, it’s so delicious. I’m a sucker for anything oak aged, and you can definitely taste it in this brew. When I mixed it up with the chocolate, it had a very appealing aroma, like chocolate-woody goodness. This is why I thought the smoked chocolate would be a great idea. On paper it looked great …
I ended up putting some raspberry jam in the middle of half the cupcakes because when I said “smoked chocolate raspberry IPA cupcakes” it sounded really amazing. Well, after they were all baked, I got out my ganache, and frosted one up. It was okay, but it was more like tasting a barbequed cupcake, and just kind of weird. I was taking these out to a friend that afternoon, and I didn’t want to subject her to my strange cupcake experiment, so I resorted to plan B: raspberry cream cheese frosting.
I had just enough ingredients around the house to pull this together, and was so happy I didn’t have to go to the store. I even added some raspberry jello (the powder, not already made jello, that’d be weird) to the frosting to give it that extra raspberry taste. As a bonus, the frosting came out this tasty looking pink color, a nice contrast to the dark chocolate cupcake.
I frosted the cakes, boxed them up and took them out to my friend’s place. They loved them! I’m so glad I went with raspberry. I may try to smoke some chocolate again, perhaps with apple wood, or something a little more sweet. It won’t be for a while though.