Chocolate-Stout Cupcakes topped w/Vanilla Bean Buttercream

March 11, 2011

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It’s St. Patrick’s Day next week and since I don’t really drink, I figured I would just find ways to incorporate booze into my food. As I have learned from baking with stout in the past, beer is a surprisingly wonderful addition to stews, brewed drinks, and cakes.

Originally, I wanted to make a triple layer cake.  I could only find 2 of my 3 eight inch cake pans and I wasn’t really in the mood to go and purchase an additional cake pan for this project.  This cake didn’t really have a purpose. I did’t need it for any specific occassion or event, I was just in the mood.  I invisioned the chocolate cake with Bailey’s buttercream frosting and green chocolate clovers around the perimeter of the cake.  I found clover lollipop molds, but could not track down mini clovers.

Change of plans. I went with cupcakes.  I know; there are tons of “green-themed” cupcakes circling the internet right now. Not totally original, but what the heck – lots of people in my community benefited from my baking whim.  I made minis for Isaac’s classmates, larger ones for the M’s and the G’s, and the office gals got an unexpected afternoon snack.

I will confess to sneaking a bite.  They are moist, light and not one ingredient over powers any of the others. They are the perfect balance.  I made a simple vanilla bean buttercream and added a little Bailey’s (subbed out the vanilla extract) to the frosting.  Gave them the little extra kick that I was looking for.

I presume you are all “over” the whole cupcake thing.  I thought I was – until I took one bite of this cake.  I kept all but 5, the rest were packaged up, tied with a ribbon and left on peoples doorsteps. I love littering my friends doorsteps with sweet treats.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream
adapted from here
yield: 32 mini cupcakes and 18 regular size cupcakes

for the cake:
2 cup stout (Guinness)
8 oz. unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (dutch-processed), sifted
2 cups all-puropse flour
2 cups whole cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. sea salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cups organic sour cream
for the buttercream
2 cups(16 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 1/2 – 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 vanilla bean, pulp removed
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or sub out some Baileys)
3-4 Tbsp. whole milk

for the cake:
• preheat oven to 350*.
• line cupcake molds with liners.
• in a heavy saucepan, melt butter and add the stout.  brink to a simmer over low heat.  once butter is melted, whisk in the cocoa powder. cool slightly.
• in a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. whisk and set aside.
• in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs and sour cream. slowly add the chocolate mixture.  mix to combine.
• remove the bowl from the mixer and using a rubber spatula, mix in the dry ingredients.
• divide the batter evenly amongst the cupcakes.
• bake the mini cupcakes 12-15 minutes and the regular size cupcakes 16-20 minutes.
• let cool before frosting.
for the butter cream:
• mix the butter until very creamy (about 3-5 minutes).
• split the vanilla bean down the middle.  with a pairing knife, scrape out the seeds from the bean. add them to the creamed butter and mix, pulsing slowly(save your pods and throw them in a jar of sugar. I keep vanilla sugar on hand it is a great way to dress up any dessert).
• add the sifted powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until you get the consistancy that you desire.
• add the milk and Bailey’s(or vanilla) slowly.
• I like a thicker butter cream, so I tend to use more sugar and less milk.
• frost the cupcakes with a pastry tip of your choice or an off set spatula.  add food coloring if you choose, decorate with jimmies, sprinkles, or whatever would make a festive cupcake.
• enjoy!

Want more St. Patrick’s Day inspiration? Check them out here:
Grasshopper Cocktails – Dine and Dish
St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Cake – I am Baker
Irish Brownie Bombs – Bakers Royale

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