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
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!
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):
Maybe I’m wishing too hard for it to be summer, but this Sunday, it was pretty nice outside. We wanted to make a fun cupcake to go with a warm summer (or near spring-like) day. We both enjoy a tasty mojito, so why not flavor a cupcake after one? Plus, I found a recipe for a beer mojito, and could not resist giving it a try. Have you heard of beer cocktails? I don’t think it’s anything new, but I think it’s becoming more popular. Here’s a link I found to the beer mojito, and I know there are plenty of other good beer cocktail recipes out there.
For these cupcakes I wanted to use a pale ale, something that would compliment the lime and mint flavor that mojitos are known for. Dylan recently found the spring release of the Ninkasi four-pack, which included Spring Reign, a delicious pale ale. We decided that would be the best beer to use, plus I was saving the Tricerahops all for myself. (Seriously, if you like double IPAs, Tricerahops is the shizz.) Anyways, the crisp taste and the light hop character of the Spring Reign was a perfect match for these cupcakes.
To get the mint flavor, I steeped some mint leaves in the beer (heated up on the stove). After letting it cool, I added a little lime juice. Tasting the finished cupcakes, I’d go back and add a bit more mint leaves. You can definitely pull a lime flavor when you take a bite of these, the mint is a little subdued. Of course, this doesn’t mean it was a bad cupcake. In fact, they were quite delicious. We used a cream cheese frosting flavored with more fresh squeezed lime juice, and garnished each with a mint leaf.
I think lime would be a really good flavor for us to add on to our lineup for the summer. We did a lime cupcake with meringue last year, and these are much better. I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait for summer to get here. Patio beers, sunshine, and cupcakes sound really good right now!
– Jackie & Dylan
You’ve seen it every where, red velvet this, and red velvet that. If you have red food coloring, you can have red velvet anything, or so it seems. I’m not sure why this bugs me so much. Go ahead and call me a hypocrite, we sell a red velvet cupcake. It seems red velvet is a very popular flavor right now, which got me to thinking, where did it come from?
From what I’ve read, there was a time that food coloring wasn’t actually used in this recipe. The red was attributed to the reaction of the cocoa powder (not dutch processed) and the acid used in making the cake (in this case, lemon juice). During World War 2 they even used beets to add the red color into the cake. In modern times, we use red food coloring, and it takes a lot to turn the cake red.
I’ve been wanting to try and make a red velvet cake without food coloring, so I set out to do just that this weekend. This weekend is a special occasion, our blog is turning 1 year old! I can hardly believe it’s been a year of cupcake experiments! I think a great way to mark the occasion is to share this recipe with you.
I looked at a bunch of recipes online for a red velvet cake using beets, and took the items I liked best from each and created a recipe from that. I’m actually not a fan of beets, I think they smell and taste like dirt, but I like to try new things, and was willing to give this a go. We had a bottle of Boundary Bay’s Irish Red Ale in the refrigerator and decided it would be perfect for this experiment. It’s a great beer, and really, we just wanted to drink it. (But hey, it is red, so it works, alright?) We love our Boundary Bay beers.
These cupcakes turned out interesting, to say the least. They are definitely moist, and also the beets make it very dense. The color is a deep reddish brown, and the taste is… well, it kind of tastes like chocolate covered beets, but not in a bad way! You get the hint of earthiness from the beets (along with the beautiful color), but you also get this soft chocolate flavor that goes well with it. This is probably the most moist cake I have ever baked, which adds to the whole experience. I’m still formulating my opinion on these, but they are definitely not your average red velvet cake.
Here’s the recipe if you’re brave enough to give this a try:
Red Velvet Beet Cake
1 15-Ounce can sliced beets, drained
1/4 cup – 1/2 cup beer
1/3 vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons natural cocoa powder (NOT dutch process)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line cupcake pan with paper liners
2. In a blender (or food processor) combine can of beets (minus the liquid) and 1/4 cup of beer. Blend well until smooth, probably 2 minutes, depending on how powerful your blender is. Add egg, oil, lemon juice and vanilla to blender, blend for another minute until all is combined. If it’s too thick for your liking, add more beer.
3. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Pour blended ingredients into bowl and combine with a whisk or rubber spatula until mixed well together.
4. Put about a 1/4 cup of batter into each cupcake paper, bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Wait until cupcakes are completely cool, then top with desired frosting. We used cream cheese frosting, which is quite delicious!
This will make about 18 – 20 cupcakes. Happy baking!
– Jackie & Dylan
Try not to confuse these cupcakes with the Smoked Porter Maple Bacon Cupcakes we created last year. While these are very similar, I’ve modified the recipe in a new way so we can produce these cupcakes for sale. We needed to do a test run to make sure we meet the Department of Agriculture’s standards for the amount of bacon in our cupcake. With our current licensing, there can only be 2% of the cupcake’s weight in bacon. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot, so we were very careful to get our measurements right. Previously when we made bacon cupcakes there was bacon grease and bacon bits inside the cake, which was very tasty, but that would lead to us technically having too much bacon. So, we cut out the inside bacon and just garnished the top. I really think this will work!
Aside from all that technical stuff, these cupcakes were awesome! Last week I ordered a bottle of Rogue Ale’s Voodoo Donut Bacon Maple Ale. It arrived just in time for our brief weekend getaway to Bellingham to visit Dylan’s family over the St. Patrick’s day weekend. Despite being on vacation, we still planned on baking cupcakes, that’s how much we love our readers (and how much we love to bake cupcakes!).
The beer smelled distinctly like maple, and upon pouring myself a glass and taking a sip, I knew I was trying something very unique. It was definitely sweet, but there was also a smokey character to it that you could tell was from the applewood smoked bacon, and other smoked malts, used in the brewing process. I was definitely glad we had family around to share this bottle with. I used about 5/8 of a cup in the cake batter, and the rest we all drank while baking.
The cake by itself is basically a yellow cake flavored with maple syrup (100% pure) and molasses. After I made the batter and filled the cupcake pans, I placed them in the oven, which filled the house with a great maple scent. When they were done, I realized I may have put too much batter in, as they had generously expanded in the oven. I guess I’m just not used to their oven, but it was a nice change from using our toaster oven to make our blog experiments like we have been doing.
The maple cakes were then crowned with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting that was flavored with just a little bit more maple syrup. They were then sprinkled with a few freshly cooked bacon bits and that really brought the cupcakes together. The flavor of the entire thing really tasted just like the beer! Now the only thing I’m not sure of, when we start producing these for sale, is what kind of beer we’re going to use. Sadly, the Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale is a limited release and it wasn’t exactly inexpensive to get a bottle of it to our house. (I had to order it online, and the shipping cost about as much as the beer itself) I think we’ll probably use a smoked porter like we did in our previous bacon cupcakes, or maybe on our next trip to the beer store I’ll find something else that sounds good. Do you have any suggestions on what beer might go best with these cupcakes?
Special thanks to Martin (Dylan’s dad) who let me use his photography studio to take pictures of the cakes this week. (I’d also like to thank him for the lesson in Lightroom, I’ve always just used Photoshop.) We hope everyone had a safe and happy St. Patrick’s day celebration this weekend! We loved being able to spend it here in Bellingham, the parade was great and the beer afterwards at Boundary Bay Brewery was even better. Cheers!
– Jackie & Dylan
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!