Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Chocolate Bourbon Frosting
By Heather Dyer
Beer. Butter. Chocolate. Bourbon. Do I have your attention yet? There’s nothing sexier than butter, chocolate stout, and cocoa all melted together. Nothing. And that’s just the beginning! These cupcakes are a show-stopper, so make sure you give them proper respect and go for the good stuff when you’re buying ingredients. Use a brew that you would drink on its own. Get the good cocoa powder and vanilla. These cake babies have a dense chocolate cake, a fragrant, chocolatey bourbon frosting, and are topped with homemade chocolate shreds that not only look cool, but are easy, and also—chocolate.
I didn’t have any chocolate stout, so I used this chocolate vanilla porter. A porter, you say? I thought this was a stout cake! Anarchy! Dude, it worked. That’s all I can tell you. It was spectacular.
Chocolate Stout Cake: (adapted from Bon Appetit)
Makes 24 cupcakes
- 1 12-ounce bottle of chocolate stout (or a chocolate porter)
- 12 Tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ¾ cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans and set aside.
If you forgot to set eggs out to come to temperature, put them in a small bowl and cover with warm water. Set them aside until you need them.
Put the stout and butter in a saucepan and heat over medium until melty and combined. Yes, melty is a scientific term. Remove from the heat, add cocoa and whisk until smooth. Inhale the fragrance of heaven. Mmmmm…. Set aside to cool a bit.
In your mixing bowl, place the sour cream and eggs, and mix to combine. Once the stout mixture is still warm but definitely not hot anymore, very slowly add the stout mixture to the egg/sour cream mixture. If you do it too fast the eggs might cook, so take your time. The end result will look like brownie mix.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, and whisk to combine. Add the flour/sugar mixture to the chocolate and stir to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.
The bake time for this is a little tough. My oven usually takes about 15 minutes, but because the cake is so dark it’s hard to tell when it’s finished. I normally bake it for 10 minutes straight and then every 3 minutes after that I test the cake with a toothpick or cake-tester. You definitely don’t want an overbaked cupcake, so watch closely. It’s worth it.
Chocolate Bourbon Frosting (adapted from Robicelli’s: A Love Story with Cupcakes)
- ½ cup bourbon
- ¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2 sticks of butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 Tablespoons heavy cream, as needed
Heat the bourbon on the stove until it’s reduced by half. If you have a gas stove, watch this pan carefully. I may or may not have lit my pan on fire accidentally! Don’t panic if you do. Keep the pan lid handy, and just turn off the gas and pop the lid on for a minute or so, and then you can take it off again. Add the cocoa powder and stir until there are no lumps. Set aside to cool.
Place butter in the bowl of a mixer. Give the mixer a few rotations with just butter, to smooth it out so it will receive the powdered sugar better. Scrape down the bowl and add the powdered sugar. Slowly mix together. If it looks like it’s just not coming together, add the heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until it starts to look like frosting. Increase mixer speed to incorporate air into the frosting and make it fluffier. Add the cooled cocoa/bourbon mixture and mix to combine. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides, then mix again until it’s uniform. Turn up the speed for 15 seconds to fluff the frosting, then turn the mixer off. Frost the cupcakes once they are completely cooled.
4-5 ounces of good quality dark chocolate, chopped
Melt in the microwave in a heatproof bowl 20-30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until melted.
Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and pour out the melted chocolate. Use an offset spatula or a knife to spread out and smooth the chocolate. Place another sheet of parchment over the top and put the whole thing in the freezer for at least half an hour, until firm. Remove top sheet of parchment and break up the chocolate into irregular pieces.
Impress people with your fancy chocolate shards, and watch them swoon over the creamy bourbon frosting and rich stout cake. And keep these for the grownups!