As usual, when I am testing a recipe, I halve it, or even mix up a quarter batch if that is feasible. What’s crucial is to maintain the integrity of the recipe. For example, to bake cupcakes, you need to have enough batter to fill the cups to a depth of 2/3 or 3/4 as the recipes states, assuming your recipe has gotten that far. Otherwise, start with scant 2/3 full, and take note of the result.
The idea for the Chocolate Beer Cupcakes came to me in my local Trader Joes when I saw Chocolate Stout on the shelves among the many choices of beer. I thought, why not?
Here, I did nothing more than replace the plant milk in my recipe for Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes, which is found in Vegan Chocolate. I baked a some standard size cupcakes and a few mini ones.
I expected the beer to add a bitter edge to the cupcakes but still I resisted adding more sugar, as this was a first test. I did add an 1/8 teaspoon of aluminum-free baking powder, upped the salt to balance the beer, and made a few other minor changes, but essentially, the original recipe worked well.
You know this is an adults-only cupcake, but if you live with kids, go ahead and bake both versions. The texture of the baked stout cakes was pleasantly fluffy, and the taste was not quite as sweet as the original. It was in the finish that I tasted the beer – slightly bitter, but pleasant.
If you prefer a sweeter cupcake, just frost these beauties with a sweeter icing. Since I don’t like my cakes very sweet, I opted for the Bittersweet Ganache Glaze. And, as I wanted a St. Patrick’s Day Cupcake, I sprinkled the tops with green luster dust and large crystal green icing sugar. Next time, I’m going to make a chocolate-stout ganche and see how it goes. Happy St Patrick’s Day to all who celebrate!
Chocolate Beer Cupcakes
- 1/2 cup organic all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons organic whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 cup organic granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons natural cocoa powder (non-alkalized)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark beer (I used a chocolate beer)
- 3 tablespoons mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil or organic neutral vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon balsamic or apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon chocolate extract (optional)
- Position an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 350 ̊F / 180 ̊C. Line a 12-cup standard size cupcake tin with paper liners.
- Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the all-purpose flour, pastry flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt to the strainer. Stir with a whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. (If any small bits remain in the strainer, add them to the mixture in the bowl.) Whisk to aerate the mixture.
- In another medium bowl, whisk the milk, oil, vinegar, vanilla, and chocolate extract (if using) until thoroughly combined. Immediately pour into the dry ingredients and whisk until the batter is smooth. You will notice bubbles in this active batter.
- Divide the batter evenly between the cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
- Set the tin on a wire rack. After 5 minutes, remove the cupcakes from the tin. Allow the cupcakes to cool to room temperature on the rack. Refrigerate until cold before frosting.
- Ice with favorite frosting. Sprinkle with optional green luster dust and / or green icing sugar or sprinkles.
Refrigerate the cupcakes in a covered container for up to two days. The cupcakes can be frozen in an airtight container for up to one month. Defrost uncovered.
Adapted from a recipe in Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, © 2013 by Fran Costigan.