Since we were throwing a Beer Tasting/Birthday Party, there obviously had to be cupcakes. And those cupcakes obviously had to be beer-flavored. I discovered this recipe for Vanilla Porter Cupcakes and knew that it was going to be the winner. Unfortunately, no one within a 100-mile radius carries vanilla porter. No one. It wasn’t even available for special order. Plan ruined. Gah.
Fortunately, I happen to be married to a beer snob and have picked up some knowledge along the way. I chose an assortment of the best beers I could find and made the rest up as I went along. Finding a method that tasted more like beer and less like vanilla cupcake was the challenge, but success was eventually reached by (lightly!!) brushing the tops of each cupcake with the chosen brew instead of simply baking it in. I ended up using Ommegang Seduction for the actual cupcakes and 3 Beans for the frosting, although it would totally work with any chocolate/coffee porter, and a modification of my tiramisu cupcakes for the method. Husband loved them. Win!
3 bean porter cupcakes
baker’s note: this batch makes only one dozen cupcakes. I started it as a test-batch and it turned out so well that I kept it. And I’ve also started using mascarpone in pretty much all of my frostings (in case you haven’t noticed) because it add thickness and cuts down the amount of powdered sugar needed (I hate the taste of powdered sugar) but blends nicely with whatever flavor of icing you choose. If you’re not one of those people who keep it around, I’d recommend using an Italian Meringue Buttercream, flavored with beer.
3/4 C pure cane white sugar
1/3 C oil
1/3 C soured milk (1/3 C whole milk + 1/2 tsp white vinegar – whisk together and set aside for at least 5 minutes or until curdled)
1/3 C Porter (I used Ommegang Seduction) + more for brushing
1 1/3 C all purpose flour
3 Tbsp corn starch
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 vanilla bean (obviously just the seeds scraped from the inside)
1/4 tsp finely ground espresso beans
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In electric mixer with whisk attachment, beat eggs until frothy (about a minute). Add sugar and whip together. Gradually add oil, milk, and beer. (I mixed my wet ingredients together first, but not sure that’s necessary)
3. Gradually sift in the flour, corn starch, baking power, baking soda, and salt.
4. When thoroughly combined, stir in vanilla bean and ground espresso. Batter will be very thin. Don’t be scared.
5. Pour into prepared cupcake pan and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes on a cooling rack.
7. Lightly brush the tops of the cupcakes with a little more porter. (if you’d prefer a less beer-tasting cupcake, skip this step, or brush with a coffee/vanilla/beer mixture instead.)
8. Allow to cool completely while you make frosting.
4 oz. mascarpone, room temperature
3 Tbsp shortening
3 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1/4 C porter (3 Beans)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2-3 C powdered sugar, sifted
1. Whip together mascarpone, shortening, and butter until well-combined and fluffy
2. Stir in porter and vanilla. Scrape the sides if the bowl frequently to make sure everything is being mixed evenly.
3. Gradually sift in powdered sugar until desired flavor and consistency have been reached.
4. Frost cooled cupcakes and garnish as desired. I used chocolate covered pretzels, but espresso beans, cocoa, or bottle caps would do the trick, too.
5. Let the Husbands rejoice!