For a quick change a pace, today we do something a bit sweeter than our usual posts. Today’s guest post is from Liz over at YarnGeek.com. When I first read this recipe and saw these great pics, I knew it would go over well with the DC Beer crowd. Be sure to check out her blog and comment here telling us about your success with this recipe.
What with it having been The Sainted Husband’s birthday and all, he got to pick the cake/sweet of his choice in order to facilitate our family’s celebration of his natal day, and these are what he asked for: Dominion Brewing’s Oak Barrel Stout Cupcakes.
Full disclosure: He works (on occasion, as a second job) for the brewery that makes this beer, doing tastings for them at various local shops that carry it. He got the job, however, because he was already a huge fan of the brand generally and happens to have a way with people that made him a good candidate. In other words, the following may read as something of an infomercial, but it’s not intended that way. Nobody from Coastal Brewing/Dominion asked me to make this post or to push their brand, it’s just that we’re big fans in my house. The opinions presented here are my own. For instance – I imagine you could just as easily make these cupcakes with Guinness, but since Guinness (and lots of other Stouts out there on the market) don’t brew the same way Dominion does, I don’t know that you’d get the same flavor profiles at all. The Dominion stout is brewed with vanilla, among other things, and I think whatever it is they chuck in there when making it makes it the perfect base for these cakes.
For the cupcakes themselves, this is the stack of ingredients used — Dominion Oak Barrel Stout, two sticks unsalted butter, a couple of eggies, sour cream, unsweetened cocoa (it calls for Dutch process but the Ghirardelli was what I had on hand), salt, baking soda, sugar, and flour. I used cake flour but the recipe calls for all-purpose; I think whatever your preference is will do fine.
So the recipe calls for one cup of Dominion Oak Barrel Stout, so we opened a bottle straight out of the fridge and measured that out:
One Cup Dominion Oak Barrel Stout
You chuck a couple of room-temp sticks of unsalted butter into a saucepan and pour the beer over. This sounds vile, but actually it smelled totally amazing:
Combine Stout and Butter
You simmer that until the butter melts and it’s combined, then add in some unsweetened cocoa powder (I sifted mine but the recipe didn’t ask me to):
Sifted Cocoa Powder
And you whisk that all together until a) it smells like heaven, and b) it’s all combined. I didn’t take pics of the boring combining of flour, salt, baking soda, etc. (actually I just forgot during that part to take a snap), but you put all this stuff together and that’s your batter, which you then use to fill 24 cupcake tins (with cute paper liners?) and toss ‘em in the oven:
Bake ‘Em for about 17 minutes
I have a tiny oven that still manages not to bake evenly, so I flipped mine around back-to-front at about the middle of the baking to keep things even.
While those cool, make the filling, which really is the most magic part of this whole process, because this stuff I could easily slather onto just about anything. It’s four ounces of bittersweet chocolate (which translates to roughly half a cup. If I did this over again I would double this portion of the recipe because I felt like I was a bit short when filling the cupcakes) with simmered heavy cream poured over to melt it:
Four Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate
There is also a tablespoon of butter that’s called for in this ganache, but I forgot to add it and it didn’t seem to cause any detriment as folks who came over later devoured the cupcakes without a complaint; this is possibly because in lieu of the optional Irish Whiskey called for in the recipe, I added a tablespoon of Lagavulin scotch to my ganache, but your mileage may of course vary. 🙂 Anyway, so you make the ganache, cut the middles out of the cupcakes, then put the ganache into a piping bag (or a ziplock with the corners cut off) and fill the cored cupcakes with it:
Fill the cupcakes
Once this part is finished, you make the buttercream frosting. If you’ve never made this before, here’s what it is: An ungodly amount of confectioner’s sugar mixed with butter to try and hold it together, and a liquid of some sort, usually milk. This recipe has you replace the milk with Bailey’s Irish Cream. Yes, it really is as good as you’d think. First you whip a stick of butter until it’s light and fluffy, which takes a few minutes to do properly; then you add in the sugar one tablespoon at a time. I used child labor for this part:
Child Labor to add sugar to frosting
Which is to say, our six year old Miss Plum wanted to help make Daddy’s cupcakes. 🙂 Now, the recipe proportions called for here seemed a little off to me, and I did find that the frosting was getting terribly dry about a half cup before all the sugar was incorporated. All I did was chuck in Bailey’s until it smoothed out, so to be honest I have no idea how much eventually made it into the frosting; all I know is that it was fabulous!
Whip it good
So at that point you just frost the cupcakes, and voila, NOM!