More cookin' with beer: stout cupcakes with malt frosting
The return of the South Side Irish Parade here in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood
means many things to many people, but for us it means lots of parties (four, to be specific). And since each party is being thrown by either a homebrewer or a professional craft brewer, I figured I'd bring something other than beer (which I know will be flowing in abundance anyway) and what I decided on was stout cupcakes with malt frosting.
Now I made these a couple times before, but unfortunately I couldn't find the original recipe I used or the modifications I made to them. However, I found this recipe that Leah sent me in my email inbox so I figured this is probably what I used. And then I remember adding more cocoa the second time around so I upped the cocoa amount. So here's what I ended up with for my recipe:
cupcakes (makes about 2 dozen)
- 1 cup Stout (I used Two Brothers North Wind Imperial Stout)
- 1 stick, plus 1 tbsp, unsalted butter
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 2-½ tsp baking soda
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cups confectioners’ sugar
- malt reduction (see below) to taste (I used 5 tablespoons)
- 1 lb., 2 oz. dark Munich malt
- 1 oz. dehusked Carafa III
Start with your malt reduction (and I should note that it may be more appropriate for the stout if you use pale malt, a little crystal malt and a touch of roast barley, but I went with what I had on hand with a goal of getting something as malty as possible). Heat 1 quart plus 1 cup water in a large saucepan to roughly 160°F. Fill a grain bag with your crushed grain and place in a large sauce pan. Mash at around 150°F for a half hour. After a half hour, pull out the grain bag and let it sit in a colander to collect the rest of the runnings. What I collected had an O.G. of around 1085. Reduce in the saucepan to roughly one third the volume.
Now, for the cupcake part...
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter a muffin tin or use paper cups.
Combine the stout and the butter, chopped into 1-inch chunks, in a large sauce pan, and heat to melt the butter. Remove from heat, and whisk in the cocoa and sugar. In a bowl, whisk the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla, then add to the beer mixture. Sift together the flour and baking soda, and fold into the batter. Pour into muffin molds and bake for 25 minutes, or until inserted cake tester comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes, remove from muffin tin, and cool completely on a rack.Finally, to make the frosting mix the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar. Add the malt reduction two tablespoons at a time. The one thing to be careful of is, depending on how thin your reduction is, you want to be careful not to end up with frosting that's too thin. For a nice touch I recommend finely grinding dehusked Carafa III and sprinkling it on top (if you have wheat, you can grind that too for a two-toned effect; I would just avoid husked malts).
So there you have it! I'll update this post if I make any further modifications to the recipe, and invite you to comment with suggested modifications of your own. In the past I made this with a homebrewed Old Ale, so I'd also be curious to hear results with other styles of beer. And now, time to get ready for the parade!