Beer and St. Patrick’s Day, they go hand-in-hand, don’t they? What about beer and cupcakes, though? Believe it or not, this is another awesome combination!
The following, very fast and very easy, recipe is for a very delicious, very chocolaty stout cupcake. It’s a really rich cupcake that’s strong enough to stand on it’s own, with just a simple crumb topping rather than frosting. If you choose to frost these, I would recommend a milder vanilla based frosting to enhance the chocolate in these instead of competing with it.
For the crumb topping you need flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and oil. Simply sift the dry ingredients together in a small bowl, then stir in the oil and work the mixture into crumbs. It doesn’t all have to be large crumb pieces; some of the mixture can stay dry, but try to get the oil mixed in as good as you can. Set the topping aside for now.
The cupcakes require a few more ingredients than the topping, but are just as easy to make and they can be made vegan, which is awesome! All you need is oil, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, baking powder, apple cider vinegar, sugar, beer (stout or porter), flour, milk (or soy milk, for vegan), and vanilla. There are vegan beers available at certain stores, like Whole Foods. The recipe calls for stout, and you can use any that you like (although I imagine the higher the quality, the better the end result), but I chose to use a chocolate porter. A porter is going to be hoppy while a stout isn’t, but this doesn’t impact the cupcake at all and using chocolate porter lends a deeper flavor to the chocolate. There are also chocolate stouts available, as well as coffee stouts, which I think would be excellent too!
In a large bowl, stir the vinegar into the milk and set aside. Now combine all of the dry ingredients, except the sugar, in a medium bowl. To the milk mixture, add the oil, sugar, beer, and vinegar, whisk thoroughly, then add half of the flour mixture. Once the batter is well mixed, add the rest of the flour mixture and beat until completely combined. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and fill each one three quarters of the way full (two tablespoons each).
Gently add the crumb topping (I recommend using a spoon…I learned the hard way that using your hands will melt the topping and make it a globby mess). It’s a little heavy, so hold your hand close to the pan while adding it, so that it doesn’t drop into the batter and sink. There is just barely enough topping for all of the cupcakes. Add some to each cupcake before bothering with covering them completely. You can always add more if you have some left over.
Now they’re ready for the oven! Bake them at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to rest in the muffin pan for five to ten minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack. They’re pretty delicate when they first come out of the oven and you may lose a top if you’re too hasty.
Once they’re cool, you can dust them with confectioners’ sugar to add a little more sweetness and some contrast on top. I decided to skip it and just give them a little holiday flair with a few shamrocks instead. Now dig in! This is not a treat you want to save for later…or there won’t be any around for you!
Chocolate Porter Cupcakes
FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
FOR THE CUPCAKES
3/4 cup milk (or soy milk)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup stout or porter
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
To make the crumb topping: Sift the dry ingredients together in a small bowl, then stir in the oil. Work the mixture into crumbs. Some of the mixture can stay dry, but try to get the oil mixed in as good as you can; set aside.
To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, stir the vinegar into the milk and set aside.
Combine all of the dry ingredients, except the sugar, in a medium bowl; set aside.
Add the oil, sugar, beer, and vinegar, to the milk mixture, whisk thoroughly, then add half of the flour mixture and mix well. Add the rest of the flour mixture and beat until completely combined.
Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and fill each one three quarters of the way full (two tablespoons each). Gently add the crumb topping, being careful not to let it sink into the batter.
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Allow to rest in the muffin pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
Once cooled, dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.