Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stout Cupcakes

Are you sensing a theme? I know I am. What theme do you ask? Alcohol, that's what. The sticky toffee pudding cupcakes I made last week required brandy. The stout cupcakes (no recipe on Martha's site) this week required beer. Since last week's cupcakes turned out so well I was slightly optimistic that I would like these cupcakes. However, if I was a frequent drinker of alcohol, beer would not be my first choice, and since these cupcakes contained beer, I wasn't overflowing with hope.

My level of knowledge when it comes to beer is just slightly superior to my knowledge of liquor, so it is fair to say that I don't know much. Thankfully, the recipe suggested that Guinness would be a good choice for these cupcakes, so Guinness is what I chose. It of course had to be the most expensive choice. Then again, only the best will do. True story, I once made penne a la vodka with Grey Goose. Call me crazy (it's okay, my entire family did when I told them), but it was the only vodka we had in the house! Plus it was a gift and roughly 1 year and some odd months later it's still in the freezer. Anyway, back to the beer... I (Bobby, since he was funding this particular grocery trip) bought a 6-pack of Guinness. I only needed about 1 1/2 bottles. So if you're thirsty we've got some in the fridge for you. Right next to the Grey Goose.

While I am an alcohol novice I do know that there is a special way you're supposed to poor Guinness (right?), and I think it's supposed to settle a little bit too before you drink it. I could be wrong. Either way, the first thing I did before working on any other portion of the recipe was pour the beer into a glass so it could settle. While the Guinness did its thing I combined the dry ingredients. I also zested an orange so I wouldn't have to do that later. After all the dry ingredients were combined I put all the wet ingredients together in a large bowl. In the midst of doing this I came upon a moment of uncertainty. While measuring the amount of beer that I would need (1 1/4 cups) I wasn't sure if I should measure from the top of the foam or the bottom. I decided not to count the foam and measured 1 1/4 cups of beer sans foam. This may or may not have been the right decision. Once all the ingredients were in the bowl I turned on my hand mixer and proceeded to make a mess. There were so many liquid ingredients I knew I was going to have a bit of a sloshy mess when it came time to use my hand mixer and I was right. I did my best to contain it and a majority of the splatter landed on my t-shirt (not a problem since I was wearing gym clothes) and not on the walls or countertop. Win. I combined the wet and dry ingredients with my hand mixer and had myself Pyrex-pourable cupcake batter!

The only thing better than Pyrex-pourable batter is not having to butter and flour cupcake pans. I have finally come to another recipe in this section that allowed me to use cupcake liners. How I've missed them so. A little sneak preview for you... I get to use them next week too. Hooray! I filled the cupcake liners three-quarters full and had myself 28 cupcakes, just like the recipe said I would. The cupcakes baked for 20 total minutes with a turn halfway through the baking time. They were perfectly baked.

The stout glaze for these cupcakes was very simple, it only had 2 ingredients. Confectioner's sugar and you guessed it... more Guinness! 2 things that just came to me... I feel like I should have made these last week for St. Patrick's Day. And, when I took Rollins to the vet this week (nothing to worry about, just a couple booster shots for the standard doggy vaccines) there was another dog there named Guinness, and he was brown. I digress. Back to the glaze. It was very easy to make, but I was a little concerned that it was going to taste too much like Guinness for my preference. Crisis averted. It didn't really taste anything like Guinness. I know what Guinness tastes like because I tried it while making the cupcakes. It is not good. How people willingly drink it I'm not sure I'll ever understand. While I didn't enjoy the Guinness itself, I did enjoy the cupcakes. They're reminiscent of a spike cake, or molasses-type baked good. Right up my alley.