Cooking and baking inspiration can come from many places. For me it sometimes comes from watching food television programs or reading food blogs. Sometimes it is just a craving for something I haven’t made for a while. Most of the time it comes to me in the grocery store. If I’m shopping for dinner, I like to head to the meat and seafood counters first to see what catches my eye. If I’m looking for something sweet, I head to the baking aisle. This idea came to me when I was searching the beer cooler for an ale to braise a corned beef. I spotted a “limited release” Cappuccino Stout by Lagunitas Brewery in nearby Petaluma, CA.
“Buy local” I said, “and make cupcakes!” I mean really, if it is a “limited release” who knows when, or if the opportunity will come along again.
For the cupcakes I tweaked a recipe I have used before. They were dense, moist and chocolatey while the coffee flavor still came through come through. I love the way the yeast in the stout makes the cupcakes rise without using a lot of leaveners. Michael tested the cupcakes before I made the frosting. I gave him a choice of chocolate or espresso buttercream. We both thought the espresso buttercream would compliment the deep chocolate of the cake better. We were right. They are so good. I topped mine with little coffee candies and a light dusting of cocoa powder. The cupcakes stayed nice and moist by storing them overnight on a cookie sheet lined with a damp paper towel and covered with plastic wrap. We’ll enjoy a couple now then freeze the rest for another day.
If you see a bottle of Cappuccino Stout in the beer case grab it and make these cupcakes. You’ll thank me.
- For the cupcakes:
- 1 cup cappuccino stout ( chocolate stout if you have to)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferable Dutch process
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- For the frosting:
- 6-7 cups sifted confectioners sugar
- 1 sticks butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup espresso or very strong coffee with a splash of cream
- To make the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with papers liners. (I made 18 full sized cupcakes and 12 mini cupcakes)
- Bring 1 cup stout and butter to a low simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Allow to cool 15 minutes
- In a separate large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and teaspoon salt.
- Beat eggs and sour cream until blended using a stand mixer if possible or a handheld if need be. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just until combined.
- With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients. Mix until fully incorporated. Do not over mix.
- Using a scoop, divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them ⅔ of the way full. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack. Make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting.
- To make the frosting:
- Cream the butter in a stand mixer on medium heat until smooth. Sift confectioners sugar into a large bowl discarding lumps. Add 6 cups of the confectioners sugar, a little at a time, with the mixer on low. Slowly add the espresso and cream with the mixer on medium speed. You may not need it all. If you need the rest of the confectioners sugar or espresso add enough until the consistency is light and creamy. If you are not frosting the cupcakes right away store the buttercream in the refrigerator until ready to use. Take it out and let it come to room temperature before piping or spreading it on the cupcakes.