Saturday, March 10
Guinness and chocolate. Who knew that these two star-crossed ingredients would make such a deliciously handsome couple?
(I had an inking...barely more than a hunch, really.)
Because I speak to the food that I bake and cook with, it's usually cordial enough to carry on a candid conversation. For a while now, I had the sense that chocolate was sad. Indeed, chocolate confessed that it sometimes feels wistful. Despite all the decorative pink bows and sweet fillings, chocolate often felt hollow, and wondered if there was life beyond coconut and marshmallow. Please don't tell chocolate I said this, but "she" has always had a secret crush on beer, stout beer in particular.
But beer was always so loyal to his beloved family of pretzels and peanuts. Chocolate felt that he would never notice her, or even know she existed...especially since they lived worlds apart. Well apparently, one Lancelot-like beer did take note of distant chocolate. Guinness, like chocolate, and unlike his beer counterparts, always retained a certain sense of curiosity. He felt his destiny lay elsewhere.
Guinness and chocolate were right. It was only a matter of time before they met in a serendipitous cupcake.
If you're looking for an alternative to green...anything, for St. Patrick's day, I think this is the dessert for you!
The stout Guinness taste is quite distinct. (I worried that the flavour would be lost after the cupcakes were baked.) This was not the case. In fact, these cupcakes may not be sweet enough for some people. But what they lack in the cloyingly sweet department, they more than makes up for in dark chocolatey Guinness goodness.
Um...where do I even begin when it comes to the frosting? "Why hello, Nutella, and cream cheese. So nice to see you both, together, and under such good circumstances. Please allow me to introduce you to the other newlyweds, chocolate and Guinness. You're going to make everyone so extraordinarily happy!"
Yes, these cupcakes are happiness incarnate. Guinness, chocolate, Nutella, and cream cheese...what more can you possibly ask for in a single cupcake? It's a win-win situation all around.
Guinness Cupcakes with Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting
Yields 24 cupcakes
for the cupcakes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
12 oz. Guinness
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup oil
1/2 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 room temperature eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk (measured out and left at room temperature for about 20 min.)
for the frosting
1/2 cup (that's 1 stick) unsalted, room temperature butter
8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup Nutella (Nutella can be dramatic and messy when trying to measure out, so don't worry too much about precision.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups of confectioners' sugar (have an extra 1/2 cup on hand, just in case.)
1 Tablespoon of milk or cream
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. (This recipe will make about 24 cupcakes.)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking Soda, ground ginger, salt, and sugar; Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment (or any large mixing bowl, it you're using a hand-held), combine the Guinness, whole milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until combined. (If it's too slushy, you can turn the speed down to low.) Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minuter after each addition. Add the buttermilk and beat until well combined.
Slowly add the dry mixture and beat until just incorporated. The batter will be thin and it may even be a little bit lumpy...that's okay, they will bake up beautifully. Promise.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners. [Note: Since the batter is so thin, it's much easier to fill the liners using a measuring cup with a pour spout.] Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pans half-way through the baking time. The tops should spring back when lightly touched and a thin knife inserted into a center cupcake should come out clean. Remove pans from the oven and allow the cupcakes to rest for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting. *Treat yourself to a bottle of Guinness. You've earned it after dealing with runny, messy, cupcake batter, Everywhere.*
Prepare the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or any large mixing bowl if you're using a hand-held), beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth (about 3-5 minutes on medium speed). Add the Nutella, salt, and vanilla extract; Beat until well combined.
On low speed, slowly begin to add the confectioners' sugar. (I added mine in 1/2 cup increments.) Once each addition has dispersed into the butter mixture, increase the speed to medium and beat until well combined before adding the next.
If the frosting looks too thick after adding 3 cups of sugar, add about 2 teaspoons of milk (or cream), and beat to combine (only add a little bit at a time since liquid goes a long way in frosting). If the frosting is too thin, slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar until it comes to a spreadable consistency.
Either pipe out the frosting, or use a small off-set spatula. Decorate as desired. [Note: I placed a malted milk ball on each cupcake because I have an unhealthy obsession with anything malted.]
Makes about 24 cupcakes. (One dozen to share, and another to hide in the "table linen" cupboard, and chandelier. Dust first.)