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
Our favorite day in March is rapidly approaching, St. Patrick’s day! We started this blog almost a year ago, and to get into the holiday spirit, we made these Chocolate Potato cupcakes, inspired by the traditional Irish dessert.
For the beer this week, we were lucky enough to receive a bottle of Boundary Bay’s Imperial Oatmeal Stout from Dylan’s dad (who lives in Bellingham, where Boundary Bay is located). I wish we could find Boundary Bay’s beers in bottles here, this beer is fantastic! You can find some of their beers on tap around Spokane, so we’ll have to settle for that.
I know we did a sweet potato cupcake last year, so I was pretty sure that a potato version was going to turn out just fine. I was a little worried after last weeks cupcake experiment, I didn’t want two bad posts in a row. Thankfully, the potato and chocolate cake turned out fabulous. These cakes are dense and hearty, pretty sure it has something to do with the riced potatoes that I put in there. Ricing potatoes without a ricer is a bit time consuming though, I had to run those bad boys over our tiny cheese grater to make sure there were no lumps. They have just a slight hint of chocolate flavor, despite the 2 1/2 ounces of baking chocolate I put in them (also grated the chocolate over the cheese grater, when will we ever invest in a food processor?!).
To top them off I went with a classic cream cheese frosting. I was not going to try and get all fancy this time, and I stuck with what I know. It was a good choice. The frosting doesn’t overpower the cake, which lets the cake flavor be the most prominent.
Next week, if you’re in the Spokane area, you should join us at the #foodie tweetup going on over at Launchpad on Monday, March 12 from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. We’re going to be using you all as test subjects for a new flavor we’re working on, plus there will be all kinds of other cool people there with tasty treats to share (Savor Sweets and Farm Girl Gourmet, plus wine pours from Nectar Wine!). I can’t think of a better way to spend a Monday evening, hope to see you there!
– Jackie & Dylan
I think I need to start coming up with more creative names for my cupcakes. This one is a peanut butter lovers dream.
These cupcakes were Dylan’s idea. We had a few different bottles of Samuel Smith’s in the fridge, one being their oatmeal stout. (I should add that this beer gets very high mark’s on Beer Advocate. You should try it if you’ve never had it, it’s a very good beer.)
These were fun to make. About 45 minutes before I heated up the oven, I made this sort of chocolate peanut butter ganache and put it in the refrigerator (to be used later in the recipe). I made a basic chocolate stout cupcake to start with. Then after my ganache was cold, I hand rolled it up into little balls and plopped 1 in the middle of each freshly batter-filled cupcake liner.
I fear I may have baked these a little too long, but they still turned out great. I made some pistachio rosewater cupcakes with a nut brown ale a couple days ago for Dylan’s dad’s birthday and I didn’t bake them long enough, and now I’m paranoid about my baking times! I ended up figuring out a (tasty) workaround on those cupcakes, but they weren’t very pretty looking, so that’s why I won’t be posting them up here on sweetandstout unless I make them again some time.
These were just slightly over cooked, but the gooey peanut butter center and the peanut butter buttercream frosting definitely made up for it. Oh yeah, and Dylan thought we should top them with chopped up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups … how could I disagree?
Aside from baking a little too long, the only thing I regret about these cupcakes is that I didn’t make more of them. My recipe worked out to making only about 15 cupcakes. It’s tough when you’re wildly mixing ingredients in the kitchen sometimes! The batter turned out pretty thick and looking back I think I could have increased the amount of beer I used and I would have gotten a few more cupcakes out of it. Oh well, there’s always next time!