Every now and then I like to bring in treats to work– sometimes it’s because I have extra ingredients, sometimes it’s a holiday, or sometimes I just feel like baking something I don’t want to finish eating myself. This was basically all three– I made these for St. Patrick’s Day but didn’t get around to blogging about them until now. They’re miniature chocolate cupcakes, made with chocolate stout beer in the batter, and more in the frosting. I admit that I couldn’t taste the beer in the finished cake, but the frosting made up for it by providing just enough deep, slightly bitter flavor.
Usually I make cupcakes full-sized, but for workplace treats I tend to go mini– that way people don’t feel guilty eating one (or more!) Also, they’re so darned cute…
I first saw the cake recipe on Smitten Kitchen, but while I love a good chocolate ganache as much as the next person, I decided to go with a stout buttercream instead to really bring out the stout flavor. If you boil the beer down to make a syrup, you can flavor your frosting without adding too much liquid to it. As for the cake, it was light and extremely moist– even sticking to the cupcake wrappers a bit, so I would hesitate to forego wrappers or parchment lining. The batter was pretty thin, too, probably because I used buttermilk rather than sour cream (it’s what I had in the fridge), which always makes the finished cake extra-light. All in all a nice little treat to pick you up during the work day!
By the way, this recipe makes over 6 dozen mini cupcakes, so you’d better be prepared to distribute them!
Chocolate Stout Cupcakes (slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
(makes 6 1/2 dozen mini cupcakes)
1 cup stout (chocolate stout is even better)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1. In a saucepan, melt butter and stout together.
2. Mix dry ingredients (cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt) in a separate bowl.
3. Beat eggs and buttermilk together until smooth. Add a ladleful of the warm stout/butter mixture and whisk in quickly. Repeat until both mixtures are fully combined.
4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Batter will be rather thin, almost the consistency of warm chocolate syrup. (it’ll taste amazing)
5. Pour into paper-lined mini muffin pans and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. The paper is important– this is a sticky cake!
7. Cool 5 minutes in the pan and remove the cupcakes to a rack to cool, still in the wrappers.
6-8 oz. stout (or whatever’s left from your original bottle/can– my can was 14.9 oz)
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1. Bring stout to a boil over medium heat and continue to cook until reduced down to about 2-3 tbs. Cool to room temperature.
2. Beat together butter and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Slowly add stout syrup and beat until combined.
3. Add heavy cream a tablespoon at a time, beating frosting as you go.
4. Adjust frosting consistency with additional sugar or cream.
- This makes a LOT of mini cupcakes, and the frosting is JUST enough to pipe a little star on top of each. If you were going to make regular-sized cupcakes you might want to increase the frosting recipe by 50% to have enough to make a nice swirl on each one. But then you’d need more stout… not necessarily a bad thing!
- I definitely think chocolate stout is the way to go on this one, especially with the frosting. The flavor of the finished frosting was complicated and just bitter enough to really bring out the “stout” in it.