I want to hate cupcakes, really I do. But they’re so cute and easy to eat. When I got married, we served cupcakes instead of a tiered cake because they were handheld, tasty and much less formal, though my editor will never let me live it down. “How could you possibly be an editor at a baking magazine and not have a cake at your wedding?! Shame on you,” she says.
Whenever I ask professional bakers for their opinions on cupcakes, their response is almost always the same (unless they own a cupcake-only shop). They would rather spend their time making a product that can’t be easily replicated at home by the consumer, which is why they are loath to sell cupcakes. Fair enough. But most if not all of those bakers have also admitted that not only have they added a line of cupcakes to their menu, but that they always sell like crazy. So there. The product we all love to hate and hate to love has finally made it onto my blog.
But I digress. Onto the Guinness cupcakes.
What I love about these cupcakes is that the slight bitterness of the stout counters the rich sweetness in the cake and adds complexity (and all I have to do is pour some in with a little melted butter). And seeing how we’re a month away from St. Patrick’s Day and all…
This recipe came from my British friends over at BakingMad.com. This site has tons of baked product recipes (everything from Valentine’s Day recipes to pancake ideas) and video primers on practically everything to do with baking. While all their recipes use the metric system, they have a simple conversion tool built into the site. (I hear that we’ll be transitioning to an all-metric system stateside anyway.)
What I also love about their recipes is the language is just slightly more luxurious than our standard recipe style. Sometimes we add vanilla essence instead of vanilla extract. Batter is poured into paper cases, not liners. And we cool the cupcakes on wires, not racks. Nothing like injecting a little richness into the dry world of recipe writing.
adapted from BakingMad
8 ounces Guinness (sip the rest while you bake)
8 3/4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
14 ounces granulated sugar
1 1/2 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces buttermilk
9 ounces AP flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 ounces butter
10 1/2 ounces confectioners’ sugar
4 1/3 ounces cream cheese (full fat)
For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 340F (depending on your oven, you might want to bump this up to 350F), and line a cupcake tin with 12 paper liners.
Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan and add the butter. Heat gently over medium low and stir until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and add the cocoa powder and sugar, stirring until well mixed.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract and buttermilk then add this to the mixture in the saucepan.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Slowly add the contents of the saucepan to the dry ingredients and mix by hand or with a hand mixer until the ingredients are all well combined.
Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 of the way. Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave the cakes on a cooling wire to cool completely.
For the icing:
Mix together the butter and confectioners’ sugar until there are no lumps, then add the cream cheese and mix until light and fluffy.
Spoon the icing onto the cupcakes and smooth over using the back of a spoon to create a frothy, Guinness-like topping.