My stepdad has a new hobby. (Incidentally, so does the Mamster--you won't find a softer scarf, I guarantee it.) He has taken up brewing his own beer, and as far as I can tell, he's having a blast.
Even though I have a degree in food science, I don't pretend to know the first thing about homebrewing, probably because I don't personally enjoy it as a beverage. My stepdad has caught on quickly, however, and he's learning a lot as he goes. With each new batch, I think he's more and more satisfied with the outcome. The hardest part, I believe, is waiting for the stuff to ferment to an appropriate degree. Ah, there's nothing like a test of patience, right?
While I don't necessarily enjoy the flavor of beer, I do like immediate gratification, and I thought that incorporating dark beer into a cupcake might be neat (and an improvement upon my opinion of the stuff, at the very least). Surprise, surprise, Martha already thought of that. I used her recipe as a guideline, though I definitely went with a lightly beer-flavored buttercream frosting rather than the glaze she suggests. What can I say, I always prefer a buttercream.
The main flavor in these is not the beer, but molasses. It's almost too much, but in the end, a nice, gingerbread-like balance is found. I would recommend these surprisingly moist and fluffy cupcakes to beer-lovers and beer-haters alike, especially if you're waiting for your home brew to be ready for proper consumption.
Stout Cupcakes (to contribute to your stoutness!)
(based on a recipe found here)
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups unsulfured molasses
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
zest from one orange
1 1/4 cups stout beer
one batch o' buttercream, with stout beer added instead of maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two muffin tins with liners.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.
In a stand mixer, beat the oil, molasses, brown sugar, whole eggs, yolk, zest, and stout until combined. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in batches, beating until just combined.
Pour batter into lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake about 20 minutes, rotating tins halfway through. Let cool completely on wire racks.
Once cupcakes are cool, frost generously and eat (dark, seedy bar optional).