Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Growing up, we always had birthday cakes. My favorite was my Grandma Viola's Crumb Cake, and it was my chosen cake every year (recipe available on an earlier post). But mostly, for birthday cakes, would always use a boxed cake mix for our birthday cakes, and either homemade frosting or one from a box as well. The tubs of pre-made frosting came much later. Because we always used a mix, I grew up thinking making a cake was a really hard thing to do, because we baked really practically everything else from scratch. I have loved making homemade cakes from scratch throughout my adult life, and it always pleases me to find a new twist on something. The recent trend for looking for unusual things to pair with chocolate makes recipes like the following one very easy to find and appreciate. (Although what DOESN'T go well with chocolate? . . . "not really a good flavor? Add enough chocolate to cover up the rest, and you are set . . ." ). I found this recipe on the internet and I have to admit I have no idea where. And so while I can not attribute it, I can certainly not claim it as my own invention. It is a wonderful recipe, and appeals to a wide range of tastes. So today for my birthday, my daughter Sara has made a batch:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, plus more for dusting finished cupcakes
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch fine salt
  • 1 bottle stout beer (recommended: Guinness)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese , softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.
In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter, and vanilla.

Beat in eggs, 1 at time. Mix in sour cream until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.

Lightly grease 24 muffin tins. Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for about 12 minutes and then rotate the pans. Bake another 12 to 13 minutes until risen, nicely domed, and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out.

To make the icing:

In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the heavy cream. On low speed, slowly mix in the confectioners' sugar until incorporated and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Icing can be made several hours ahead and kept covered and chilled. Top each cupcake with a heap of frosting and dust with cocoa.