Sunday, 15 July 2012

Chocolate and stout cupcakes


I don’t like drinking beer of any kind, but I am rather partial to baking with beer, particularly with chocolate.  This recipe uses stout and adds a rich depth to the chocolate – you wouldn’t know it was stout but you’d know something extra was there.  I say this to ease the minds of fellow beer-haters!

Like many women, I am an emotional shopper and rather than go for the obvious choice of Guinness, my eye was drawn to the beautiful bottle of March of the Penguins stout, made by a microbrewer (Williams Bros BrewingCo) in Alloa, Scotland.  What can I say?  Who could resist the penguins?

The frosting for these cupcakes is incredibly simple – just two ingredients – but works perfectly in flavour and texture.  The dark, rich, moist cupcakes carry the light whippy frosting perfectly.  The frosting needs nothing else, not even vanilla...and how often do I say that?  (Answer: never!  Except for today!)

I know I’m banging on about frosting a lot lately, but I’ve been trying different things; I wouldn’t exactly say I am bored with buttercream but it’s nice to discover all the alternatives out there.  This one is heavenly – like a softer, creamier ice cream.

The dark, rich cupcake topped with the creamy white frosting resembles a glass of stout...but with lots of chocolaty sugary goodness thus better!

On an unrelated note, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Lakeland
 Christmas preview this week.  Wow!  And if I can just repeat: wow!  I am saving up my pennies already as I saw so many things I will be buying.  In the style of the Generation Game conveyor belt memory test bit, here are some of the things I want: speech bubble cookie cutters, topsy turvy cake pans, Christmas pudding plate, bowl and jug, slender rolling pins with Christmas designs on them so that when you roll out the icing it embosses it, cute little ice cream bowls and matching spoons, cheese making equipment, giant biscuit cutters in the shape of Christmas baubles with little cut out panels, Russian doll salt and pepper set...and did I mention the awesome, yet affordable, copper pans?  I am going to have to be a very good little girl right up until Christmas for Father Christmas to deem me worthy of all those goodies!


For the cupcakes:

250g soft brown sugar
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
150g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
205ml stout – I used March of the Penguins, but Guinness or Mackeson would also be perfect
50g cocoa powder

For the frosting:

500g mascarpone cheese
100g icing sugar
To decorate: chocolate sprinkles or a dusting of cocoa powder


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper cases – use deep cupcake or muffin cases rather than shallow fairy cake cases.

Place the sugar and butter in a bowl and beat together until fluffy and light.

Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding some of the flour if it looks like it might curdle.

Measure out the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

In a jug, measure out the stout and stir in the cocoa powder.  NB. Let the head on the stout settle before you take your final reading of the measurement - you will need to top it up in the jug as it settles.

Pour some of the stout mixture into the batter and beat.

Add a couple of tablespoons of the flour mix and beat.

Continue until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the paper cases and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the batter comes out clean.  Sadly, I can’t tell you how long mine took as I forgot to set an oven timer....doh!

Leave to cool on a wire rack, and remove from the cupcake pan as soon as you can safely handle the cakes.

When the cakes are cool you can make the frosting (you can also make the cakes a day before frosting if you wish): Place the mascarpone in a bowl and beat to soften.

Gradually beat in the icing sugar.

Spoon onto the cupcakes and spread, or pipe if you prefer (I piped).

Decorate with either chocolate sprinkles or cocoa powder.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Gloria said...

Really I love these cakes and I love they have mascarpone cheese in the topping is my favorite frosting; look amazing and really love your bottle with penguins lol!

Kezia said...

They look lovely and really unique! The frosting looks interesting - I'll have to try it sometime. Lakeland preview sounds super exciting!

Cakefairyblog said...

I love chocolate cupcakes with Guinness and Mascarpone in icing - These are right up my street!

Susie @ Fold in the Flour said...

These look great. I love using cream cheese in frosting and have tried mascarpone before. I think it gives a lovely fresh taste and stops the frosting becoming too sweet. It's great for piping, too. :)

Sue said...

I've never baked with beer before ... but I think I just might now I've seen your results!

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

I too tend to turn to a glass (okay bottle) of wine rather than a bottle of beer but there is something rather fab about beer based cake! And thank you for the heads up about Lakeland- I was in their Stratford branch earlier post Olympics, it was like letting a 5 year old loose in a sweet store!

Caroline said...

Oooh, wish you hadn't mentioned Lakeland. I'm trying to stay away...

They look like great cakes - I bought stout for something or other (now forgotten) so I might 'repurpose' it and make these!

Texas Food Handlers said...

Can't wait to try this recipe. I'll make these for my mom and my brothers and sister. They will be so happy about this.

Texas Food Handlers said...

This chocolate cake is unique and quite appetizing really. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

LandGirl1980 said...

Do you know what? As much as I am not a fan of the cupcake - these might just tempt me. Mmmm mmm mmm!!

Maggie said...

I love these and know what you mean about buttercream. I too think Lakeland is like the generation game and very exciting too.

Anonymous said...

These look delicious! Give me chocolate and I am happy.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, Blogger doesn't know who I am today, but Anonymous is Cakelaw.

Samantha Elliott said...

I am now going to have to find some screen wipes as I have dribbled and liked my computer screen! Mmmmmn! Definately three nom nom noms for these!

sensibilia said...

Even more luscious than the blackberry cupcakes! Seriously mouthwatering. And so good for you - nourishing stout used to be prescribed for pregnant women!

Doris said...

Hi I love your recipes. The raspberry coconut cheese cake is definitely on my to bake list. Would cream cheese work for the frosting on the cupcakes as I have some in my fridge.

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Doris

Cream cheese frosting would definitely work with these cupcakes - I toyed with making them with it!

Happy baking

Anonymous said...

Oh My! I have made chocolate guiness cake before but these are much easier and soooo tasty perfect for night infront of tea with cuppa only prob is.....i cant only just eat one.

Choclette said...

I do so agree, beer is much better in cake form. And I've become a big fan of mascarpone since starting my blog - mmmmm!