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?
– Jackie & Dylan
After last week’s oven failure, I was a bit worried about how we would be baking cupcakes this weekend. When I got in the kitchen this morning, I crossed my fingers and fired up the oven, just to see if it would go. It has been working randomly, but hardly predictable. Lucky for us, the oven felt like cooperating!
For this recipe, I took our basic orange cake recipe and just added in some cocoa powder to make it chocolate. I also prepared a semi-sweet chocolate ganache ahead of time, and added a bit of orange zest to make it more interesting. I’m actually surprised we haven’t done this flavor sooner, orange + chocolate = one of my most favorite things. (It’s right up there next to pumpkin.)
For the beer, I went with a Belgian style golden ale, another one from Dick’s Brewing Company, called Silk Lady. This beer definitely has a strong citrus flavor, and was a perfect match to the fresh orange juice and zest in our cake recipe. We try to avoid using the same brewing company 2 weeks in a row, but the beer really did pair well with the cake.
In other news, we hit 400+ fans on our facebook page last week! To celebrate that, I sent Dylan out on a cupcake adventure Friday to give away some cupcakes. I had to work that day, but I think Dylan enjoyed making the rounds. He made stops at Arbor Crest Winery (did you know they’re going to start making their own beer soon?), Manito Tap House, The Hop Shop, and Jones Radiator. All cool places to check out, if you’re in Spokane, of course. (We’re looking for a few more places to carry our cupcakes, so if you’re reading this and you want to sell some beer cupcakes at your shop – give us a call!)
We hope you all had a terrific Thanksgiving this past week, and hopefully you survived black Friday without too many traumas! Thanks for stopping by to check out this week’s cupcake.
– Jackie & Dylan