Friday, February 24, 2012

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes: Beer + Chocolate = Fantastic!

I'll just stick with this alcohol theme. I promise I really don't drink. Mirko's co-workers on the other hand...

One of Mirko's co-workers came by his office wondering where the cupcakes were. Mirko asked him where the money was. Said co-worker ran off and came back with a cup with a $5 bill in it. This lead to "the Cupcake Fund." A little more was contributed and of course I just had to make some more cupcakes!

What with Mirko's co-workers all seeming to enjoy the cupcakes I make with alcohol (and also a request for more chocolate Guinness cupcakes) I determined that the Chocolate Stout cupcakes were much needed. This time I wasn't going to make them with Guinness though.

As mentioned in the Bourbon Cupcakes post, I had previously made Chocolate Guinness cupcakes, which are exactly the same as these, I just used Guinness for the stout. This time, in true Seattleite fashion, I used Elysian's Dragonstooth Stout. I also used more beer than last time. Turns out my idea of half almond milk half alcohol is the way to go if you want to actually taste the alcohol being used.

These cupcakes have a crumb topping, and then I still put frosting on top as well. Last time, this was problematic because the frosting would just stick to the crumbs and not stay on the cupcake. This was frustrating like you wouldn't believe.

It wouldn't be me to make cupcakes perfectly, so I put the crumbs on after I put the cupcakes in the oven. I had a brief heart attack when I realized that I put them in without the crumbs. This time, I put a little less crumbs on top and made the frosting thinner. This time I got pretty cupcakes!

Of course I added more stout to the frosting. They're beer cupcakes!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cabernet Red Velvet Cupcakes: Happy Valentine's Day

Ahh, Valentine's Day. So many love and loathe this holiday. I particularly love it because, let's face it, it has turned into Cupcake Celebration Day! All the pretty red velvet cupcakes come out along with vanilla ones with pink frosting. It's a cupcake-making-queen's dream.

I wasn't going to make just any cupcake this time around. I have spent too much energy investing in my new found ability to make my own cupcake concoctions. A cupcake-making friend of mine had mentioned making a wine inspired cupcake for a friend of hers. This gave me a wonderfully terrible idea.

There's this sparkling red dessert wine that I love. It's called Rose Regale. It's awesome. It has a red wine blend, raspberry, chocolate, and rose in it. It's so freaking good. I hadn't had it in a while, but for some reason when my friend mentioned wine in cupcakes, I just knew I had to make cupcakes with wine and rose. Sounds great right? It is how you make magic afterall.

At first I was thinking of doing chocolate and wine, but I quickly vetoed that with the idea of doing some red velvet. I just have one little problem with red velvet: red food dye. Yes, I am one of those people who can't stand the thought of chemicals and use only natural ingredients. I'd heard of using beet powder before, and I was ready to give it a try. Bring on the beet powder! careful, it likes to explode in your face.

I had to modify the recipe so much, that I will post it!!! Yay!!! It did start out from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but I had to switch a lot. I guess I'm going to reveal a couple of my secrets by doing this (like the fact that I substitute some flour with whole wheat pastry flour and don't use a lot of sugar). Oh well.

Couple things first: This batter is too thick. If you try making these, you will need to add a small amount of wine and almond milk until you get the correct batter consistency. If you're not sure what that should look like, try doing two tablespoons of wine and three tablespoons of almond milk. So here's the recipe:

Makes 12 Cupcakes

2/3 C Vanilla Almond Milk
1/3 C Cabernet
1 C All Purpose Flour
1/4 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 C granulated sugar
1/3 C Stevia in the Raw
2 tbsp Cocoa powder
1/3 C Beet Powder
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tsp chocolate extract

If you're looking at this and thinking "where's the baking soda?" Good! The baking soda has to be eliminated because it reacts with the beet powder while it's baking and will give you brown cupcakes. This would make you sad. It made me sad the first time it happened to me.

Now that I've explained that, you'll want to bake them at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. If you want them to be nice and poofy, here's a trick: Start your oven at 350 and bake them for 10 minutes. Then, decrease the temperature to 325 for the remainder of the baking (you will have to add another 15-18 minutes if you do this). (That's another Pinterest tip. Seriously that site is amazing, follow me if you like).

Oh! So where do the roses come in?

Glad you asked. I made a rosewater buttercream. Take your regular buttercream frosting recipe (1 stick of Earth Balance, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp almond milk, "3 C powdered sugar," or in my case 1 lb of powdered sugar, and 1 tsp of rosewater). Add almond milk as necessary to get the right consistency. When I made mine, I added 2 tsp of rosewater, I didn't feel like 1 was rosy enough. But some people said it was little too rosy for them.

You may also be wondering about the glittery pink hearts on them. I started playing with marzipan!!! I was so excited to give this a try. I found a tiny little heart cutter and cut out some marzipan. Then, I painted them with edible pink pearlescent glitter (same stuff I used on my Earl Grey Cupcakes). This part was super fun...and also super sticky.

They ended up being great. Everyone said they tasted great and were amazed with how moist they were. One cupcake recipient said they were the best they'd ever tasted!

So there you have it! Cabernet Red Velvet Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bourbon Cupcakes: Bad Mother F***er Cocktails

There have been several flavors of cupcake that I haven't shared with you. That's mostly because at the time I didn't realize that I would have a blog. A couple of those flavors were Cranberry Pear Champagne Cupcakes and Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes. For as much as I make cupcakes with alcohol, it's surprising how little I actually drink.

Every now and then, I get a request for a cupcake flavor. Not all of these requested flavors are in the cupcake bible, so it allows me to get creative. One of these requests came from one of Mirko's co-workers who'd had one of my Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes. He suggested I try making some with bourbon, so I figured that could be great! I also figured that if I was going to make whiskey cupcakes, they were going to be boozey-freaking-cupcakes!

So to the internets I went in search of a bourbon cocktail that would make for a delicious cupcake adaptation. Well I found this list. As you might imagine from the title of this post, the one that caught my eye was the Bad Mother F#$%er. 

So, to the liquor store I went to get some Jack Daniels and Vermouth. Then I got an orange at the grocery store. I also got a lemon for fun. I decided the raspberry syrup I had was close enough for the grenadine since I was only going to use a little tiny itty bit anyway. I felt like it was a strange shopping list. Maybe not. Whatever.

For the cake component of said cupcakes, I took a regular vanilla cupcake recipe and made them quite boozey. Normally, I use 1 cup of almond milk with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (to kind of substitute the fact that I don't use eggs I guess?) but in every other recipe that uses alcohol, they usually replace some (like 1/4 C) of that milk with alcohol. Well, I replaced half of the milk with alcohol (I said boozey). I may have done slightly more Jack than vermouth, I was going to be adding Stevia to the cupcakes later anyway...or was I? 

So I got everything together, or so I thought, and excitedly went to taste the batter before filling the liners. It tasted terrible! I was expecting this sweet delicious burning whiskey sensation and all I got was this terrible, sour flat bland burning sensation. I forgot the sugar and stevia. 

How the hell did I forget the sugar and stevia? You know, the most crucial aspect of cupcake baking? Well, ok maybe not, the most, it is. You can leave out the baking soda, have a flat cupcake and still have it be delicious if it's freaking sweet. Even if it's gooey! People will still eat it! But if it's not sweet? Forget it! This is why I always taste the batter. Because I know I do this kind of crap. Also because batter is usually delicious.

Into the batter went the appropriate amounts of sugar and stevia. I tasted it again and voila! There was that pleasant sweet burning whiskey sensation I had previously been seeking. I was in bourbon cupcake bliss. Well, bourbon cupcake batter bliss anyway. 

For the frosting, I made an orange butter cream with a hint of raspberry. This completed my Bad Mother F#$%er cupcake. Mirko assured me that he told everyone they were called  Bad Mother F#$%er cupcakes as well. Apparently they went over quite well.