March 16, 2012

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes filled with Chocolate Stout Frosting

These cupcakes were made in honor of two things: The Bachelor Season Finale and St. Patrick's Day.

It began when my friend and I wanted to bake cupcakes to indulge in while watching The Bachelor Season Finale. The Bachelor this season was an awful one. The Bachelor himself seemingly had no redeeming qualities I could identify, and was not attractive to my viewing eyes in any way, shape, or form. Plus, he wasn't that much of a gem to the women on the show throughout the season. So we decided we'd bake a cupcake we could call the "Drunken (Jerk) Cupcake" in honor of Ben, this season's bachelor. It would be a chocolate stout cupcake with chocolate stout frosting. Perfect! We would eat these cupcakes throughout the two hour long finale in order to comfort our feelings of dislike and disapproval for the main character.

Then we realized that it was also perfect because the cupcakes would be a nod to the fast-approaching St. Patrick's Day. The bottle of Guiness we used in the baking was a well-timed nod to the upcoming Irish holiday. As we baked them, then whipped up the frosting, then piped frosting into the inside of the cupcakes and decorated the tops, we agreed that this was a cupcake we'd want to eat any old time of the year, whether or not a TV show or holiday suggested the indulgence.

....And considering that we consumed an entire batch of 12 cupcakes, plus two min-layer cakes we made with the extra batter, within 24 hours, it looks like this recipe was the perfect addition to both our trashy reality TV night and our holiday celebrations.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes: adapted from Bon Appetit
9 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 sticks salted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 3 Tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup Guinness Stout
2/3 cup freshly brewed strong coffee

Position rack in center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter a 12 cupcake tin and dust with cocoa powder. Stir together the cocoa powder and canola oil in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and 1 1/4 cup sugar until fluffy and pale yellow, 2 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the cocoa powder mixture, stout, and coffee. Beat the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture in two additions until just incorporated.

Using clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites with the 3 tablespoons of  sugar in a medium bowl until stiff but still wet. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cake batter, then fold in the remaining egg whites in two additions. Pour the batter evenly into the cupcake tins. Gently bang the baking tins against the counter to release air bubbles and flatten batter. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, from 20-25 minutes.
Cool 20 minutes in the tins then gently turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile prepare frosting, as directed:
Chocolate Stout Frosting
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup cocoa powder
8 cups confectioner sugar
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
6-8 teaspoons of Guinness Stout

Beat together the butter and cocoa powder until smooth. Gradually add 2 cups of powdered sugar. Beat in 1/3 cup of milk, vanilla, and stout. Then beat in the remaining sugar. Add extra milk or stout 1 Tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.

To decorate cupcakes:
Using a frosting piping bag, push the nozzle 3/4 of the way into each cupcake and use a circular motion to fill the cupcake with about 1 tablespoon of frosting. Then use a circular motion from the outside of the cupcake in and create a swirl of frosting to cover the top of each cupcake, finishing in the center. Top with a chocolate covered coffee bean or other chocolate candy.

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