All right! I hope you didn’t think I was going away quietly after that first not-quite-a-copycat recipe. Since realizing that Max’s version of the cupcakes from Two Broke Girls are in fact most probably chocolate, I told myself I really needed to make a chocolate-based cupcake just to compare it to the previous “white cake” version I made. I was supposed to write about this a little earlier but I’ve been feeling a little exhausted lately. It’s probably because I’ve been pushing myself too much and resting too little. I really need to take it easy and unwind this weekend!
Anyway, going back to this version of the Spring Break Cupcakes recipe, I have to say searching for the recipe was the easy part. I quickly found one that made sense to me and just reading through the recipe I was already sure it would yield wonderful cupcakes. It was the buying of the ingredients that took me forever! Somehow I just could not get my hands on some stout beer.
I honestly didn’t think Guinness would be so elusive. (Or so popular that it would always be out of stock in the supermarket!) When I finally FINALLY found Rustan’s Supermarket restocked, I grabbed four cans right away. Needless to say you’ll have to expect more stout beer goodness soon, and it won’t just be desserts. 😉
I’m not a beer drinker at any capacity so I’m no expert on the subject, but I have drank regular beer before and I have to say I was a bit surprised by the boldness of stout beer. It demands your attention at first sip and holds it for a little bit until it is satisfied that you will remember its name. Or it might just be that it’s my first time getting a taste of stout beer that I find it to be a bit stronger in taste than I’m used to. Which is why it’s absolutely perfect to pair with chocolate. Thanks to that boldness in flavour, the Guinness has no problems making itself known in the midst of all that deep delicious chocolate cupcakey-ness going on.
Soooo ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Beer-batter Cupcakes 2.0, the chocolate version.
These cupcakes are proof of how adding beer in the batter can produce an outstanding crumb when done right. These cupcakes are soft and fluffy and moist thanks to the beer added into the batter. It’s science! It smells unmistakably of stout beer but the taste isn’t too overpowering. In fact it goes perfectly well with chocolate. It’s why pretty much every other recipe you’ll find out there involves this chocolate-stout combination.
When my brother Jason brought a cupcake to share with one of his friends in school, she told him that this was “one of the most intense cupcakes” she has ever eaten. At first I had thought she didn’t like it. Or maybe it was too overwhelming? But what she actually meant was that it was one of the most interesting and flavour-packed ones. She’s never had a jazzed-up beer cupcake before.
I must say that the flavours of this cupcake are all so interesting together, with the beer and chocolate and cream cheese and bacon. I love when a dessert touches upon every dimension of the tastebud– there’s a slight bitterness thanks to the beer offset by the chocolate; but then the chocolate flavour is made deeper thanks to the salty-sweet bacon and cream cheese. Honestly this is one of my favourite cupcakes I’ve made to date.
And just like how beer is best when chilled, I find that these cupcakes are best eaten cold. They don’t firm up in the fridge and stay soft for days so it shouldn’t be a problem eating them straight out of the fridge. You guys all know I’m a huge sucker for crumb. It’s a big factor in determining whether something I made is a success or a failure, and I just really love the moist, dark crumb on this one! Love it even more cold!
But of course if you absolutely must eat the cupcakes immediately after frosting, you totally can. I know it can be intriguing. We here recommend eating them after maybe an hour of chilling just to allow the flavours to come out a bit more, if your patience can allow it that is. The frosting gets nice and firm too.
Chocolate Beer Batter Cupcakes with Maple-Bacon Frosting
For the Chocolate-Beer Batter Cupcakes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups white sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Guinness or favourite stout beer brand
- 1/2 cup 1 stick butter
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Maple-Glazed Bacon
- 3 strips bacon
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
For the Maple Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup 1 stick butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- Leftover candied bacon drippings, about 1 Tablespoon*
Make the cupcakes
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line twenty cups on two muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.
- 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- 3. In a pot or large sauce pan, simmer the beer and butter on medium heat just until butter is melted. Add cocoa powder and chocolate chips, then stir until mixture becomes completely smooth. Take off heat and set aside to cool.
- 4. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and yogurt until smooth. Slowly add slightly-cooled chocolate mixture, whisking constantly until mixture become homogenous. Add vanilla and mix.
- 5. Add in the dry ingredients and stir until completely smooth and well-combined.
- 6. Spoon batter into lined muffin cups a little over halfway full. Bake for 15 minutes, or until tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with barely a few moist crumbs. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Make the maple bacon
- 7. Turn oven up to 375°F (190°C) and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay your bacon strips across a baking rack and place the rack on the foil-lined baking sheet.
- 8. Using a pastry brush, brush each strip of bacon with a layer of maple syrup. This basting process will be repeated while the bacon is cooked in the oven.
- 9. Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to baste strips again. Return to the oven and bake another 5 minutes. Flip strips over, baste, and bake for another 5 minutes.
- 10. Baste bacon one last time and stick them back in the oven for the last 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Make the frosting
- 11. In a large bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth and well-incorporated.
- 12. Add powdered sugar, maple syrup, and bacon drippings. Mix until smooth. Add more powdered sugar, as necessary, to achieve desired consistency.
- 13. Spoon frosting into a piping bag, and frost each cupcake as desired.
- 14. Slice bacon in the desired size to decorate the cupcakes. Crumble or chop them up to sprinkle, or slice into one inch pieces to top. (Or do a combination.) I recommend placing the cupcakes in the fridge to chill for about an hour or so before eating.
* I did not have enough bacon drippings to make up 1 Tablespoon. Just use whatever drippings is left on your baking sheet after basting the bacon. Adapted from Just Putzing blog
Either way, at least I can honestly say neither of my Spring Break Cupcakes were failures! Try both out and pick your favourite! 🙂