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.
Sometimes I want Dylan’s job… official taste tester of all my cupcake creations. These cupcakes went quick and so did the beer. This time we opted for a Great Divide Brewing Company Hades Belgian Style Ale. The beer was pretty good, and had that classic Belgian style taste. I’ve had Belgian style beers with an orange slice in the glass, so I figured why not try an orange cupcake?
This recipe was a little different from the last two in that I actually had to modify a recipe in order to incorporate the beer. The recipe I found called for 3/4 cup of orange juice, so I just made a substitution. I ended up adding more and using a full cup of beer as the batter seemed slightly too thick.
Instead of a frosting, I opted for an orange icing. Icing is fairly simple and while I did add orange zest to it, the main flavor of the icing was powdered sugar. I’m not complaining, I could eat powdered sugar all day. The icing was light enough though that it didn’t take away from the flavor of the cupcake.
These cupcakes were delicious. Regrettably I can’t pass some out to you over the interwebs, but I think you would agree. They were soft with a subdued orange-Belgian flavor that left you wanting more and I couldn’t resist. After the photoshoot I sat down with my glass of beer and made short work of these.
I would definitely make these again.