I know stout cupcakes have been done before but probably never under these circumstances or with this beer (Aphrodite by Dieu du Ciel). When Abby, Meghan, and I went to the New Belgium Snapshot Wheat release party, we showed up without tickets and they still somehow let us in. Out of sheer excitement, I threw my arms in the air with my hands clenched in fists, somewhat of a double fist pump move. On the way up, my friend Meghan got in the way of my arm maneuver and BOOM! …. punched her right in the face. So to make up for my accidental wrongdoing, I made her some cupcakes hoping the magical powers of the stout would help her feel better. These cupcakes aren’t any ordinary stout cakes. They are chocolate and vanilla stout cupcakes topped with peanut butter frosting, chocolate ganache, and pretzels. They probably didn’t heal her, but at least she got a tasty snack. Meghan, next time I suggest watching where you put your face so it wont get in the way of my fists.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup of chocolate stout (we used Aphrodite (a chocolate and vanilla stout) by Dieu du Ciel)
¾ unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
½ cup greek yogurt
Pretzels for topping
Peanut Butter Frosting:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted, softened butter
1 cup peanut butter (we used chunky but creamy might make it fluffier)
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2-4 tbsp milk (add as needed for consistency)
4 oz (usually one bar) bittersweet chocolate
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp stout
Preheat the oven to 350. In a pot or saucepan, combine the stout, butter, cocoa and brown sugar and whisk until melted. [For these cupcakes we chose Aphrodite, sometimes seen as Aphrodisiaque, by Dieu du Ciel brewery. It’s a chocolate and vanilla stout. At first sip, there are a lot of cocoa flavors. Then, as the aftertaste lingers, you start to notice the vanilla. When I first tried it, I knew immediately that I would be making these cupcakes.] Once melted, set aside to cool to room temperature.
In your mixer bowl, or some other big bowl, combine the dry, white ingredients – 2 cups of flour, salt, baking soda, and white sugar. Slowly pour in the cooled-down chocolate mix while the mixer is going.
Then add the eggs and greek yogurt to the bowl and let it mix for another minute or two, until really well incorporated. My cupcake mixture looked a little too liquid-y for me, so I added a tablespoon of flour. Also, I’m cooking at high altitude so I usually do this. You can use your own discretion to decide whether or not extra flour is needed. Once everything is good to go, fill your lined cupcake sheet, about a quarter-inch from the top, and bake for 18-22 minutes. Ours turned out perfect at 19 minutes [I ran a test batch ahead of time to make sure they wouldn’t get overcooked]. When finished, set them aside to cool.
As the tiny cakes bake away in the oven, you can work on the frosting. I like to start with wet ingredients and slowly add powdered sugar so my kitchen doesn’t look like a blizzard swept through. Combine the butter and peanut butter and mix together. Then, verrrrry slowly, add the confectioner’s sugar ½ cup at a time. If it starts to get dry, you can add a tablespoon of milk to keep it somewhat wet. In the end, our frosting wasn’t very fluffy but we used organic crunchy peanut butter, so the oils weren’t well distributed and the peanuts added extra weight. I was fine with the final product but if you rather have an airy frosting, use the creamy non-organic peanut butter instead.
When the cupcakes are cooling, you can throw together the chocolate ganache. This ingredient is amazing because whatever you have leftover, you can put on top of an ice cream sundae or some fruit if you want to have a double dessert kind of night. [When we made this, we doubled the recipe, which is why you’ll see extra ingredients in the picture. You definitely won’t need to double it to have enough for the cupcakes.] Chop up your chocolate bar into small chunks so it will melt more easily.
In a saucepan or pot, slowly bring the cream to a boil. As soon as it is boiling, add the chocolate and tablespoon of stout. Whisk for a minute or so until everything is cohesive and then let it cool for just a few minutes, until it thickens up slightly.
After cooling the cupcakes and preparing the other toppings, you are ready to assemble. Top each one with peanut butter frosting. Since ours was so thick, we had to mold it a bit with our fingers to get a nice shape. Then, using a whisk or fork, drizzle the tops with chocolate ganache. Finally, add a pretzel to finish it all off and your beautiful cupcakes will be ready to serve to whomever you might punch in the face!