Archive | March, 2015


21 Mar


Serendipity – probably my most favorite word. It means a desirable chance discovery; karma, Kismet, happenstance (another good word). I think I would even go so far as to say it’s a delightful chance discovery. Because delighted was exactly how I felt a few weeks ago when I was out running my regular Saturday errands. A Saturday that also happened to be my birthday.

On this particular Saturday, after popping into the dry cleaners, the Target and Trader Joe’s, I had one extra stop: a local establishment called Total Wine & More. Total Wine is to package stores what BJ’s and Costco’s are to grocery stores. A big box store, filled with lots and lots and lots of bottles. I like to refer to it as a candy store for grown-ups. They are guaranteed to carry just about every potent potable imaginable….which comes in handy when your blog is all about cupcakes containing potent potables.

As I often do on my way to pick up the alcoholic ingredient du jour, I passed by the craft beer aisles, just to, you know, see what was new and interesting. It was while I was perusing these shelves, on that lucky birthday Saturday, that I saw it, just sitting there as pretty as could be: Shiner’s Birthday Beer! Birthday Beer! On my birthday! Serendipity indeed.


As it turns out, Shiner’s was celebrating its 106th birthday and crafted a delicious limited-edition chocolate stout to commemorate the occasion. According to the bottle, the birthday beer is available for only a short time. Once it’s gone, we have to wait until next year for another birthday surprise. I wonder what it’ll be?


Mixing beer into my cupcakes has turned out to be one of my most popular ideas, and this chocolate stout Birthday Beer was just crying out to be baked into something. Since it was a spontaneous idea, I took the quick and easy way out by using a chocolate cake mix. I topped it all off with the classic Hershey’s cocoa buttercream frosting from the recipe on the back of the can – truly a never-fail recipe.


The end result? Well, just delightful!



For these cupcakes I just used the Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil’s Food cake mix and basically swapped out the water with the chocolate stout. If you use a different brand, I would recommend following the directions on the box, simply using the same amount of stout in place of the water called for in the directions.

1 box Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix

1 1/3 cups Shiner’s Birthday Beer

1/2 vegetable oil

3 eggs.

Heat over to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners (I usually get about 18 or so cupcakes with the boxed mixes).

Combined cake mix, beer, oil and eggs in large bowl of stand mixer, mixing on low for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 full. Bake for approximately 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks.


1/2 cup butter

2/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(I always add just a pinch of salt)

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Add powdered sugar (and salt) and milk, alternating between the two, beating with an electric mixer at medium speed until desired consistency is reached. Add more milk if needed. Stir in the vanilla. Frost as desired.



Spirited St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes

11 Mar


Shamrocks, leprechauns and pots of gold are popping up everywhere, which can only mean one thing – the Luck o’ the Irish is upon us once again! St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and the social media sites are starting to get their green on. One popular St. Patrick’s Day post that is absolutely everywhere is Brown Eyed Baker’s Guinness, Whiskey and Irish Cream Cupcakes – and rightfully so! These cupcakes are simply amazing. I’ve been making them myself every St. Patrick’s Day for a few years now, and they are perfect. But it is their 3 key ingredients, a trinity of potent potables, if you will, that led me to believe it was time to include them in the b.u.i. line-up.


First, we start with the cupcake itself, a luscious chocolate cake spiked with a generous measure of what the Irish like to call “the black stuff.” In fact, the recipe calls for combining a cup of the Guinness with a cup of butter on the stove top, which smells so fabulous, you’ll be tempted to test a sip or two right then and there.


After baking, the cupcakes are filled with a dollop of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey-infused chocolate ganache – chocolate, cream, butter and whiskey – what else can I say?


Lastly, the confection is topped with the lightest, fluffiest, silkiest buttercream frosting enhanced with a hefty shot of that iconic ’70s after-dinner drink, Bailey’s Irish Cream.

The end result is a cupcake so blessed with Irish spirit, St. Patrick himself would declare it a miracle.



Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

Thanks to Brown eyed Baker for this wonderful recipe!

1 cup Guinness Stout

1 cup butter, room temperature

3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake tins with 24 liners. Combine Guinness and butter in a heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer,  beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, beating briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake tins. Bake for approximately 17 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack.

Jameson’s Chocolate Ganache

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons Jameson’s Irish Whiskey

Finely chop the chocolate and transfer to a heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until simmering and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

When ready, cut out the centers of the cooled cupcakes (I use a melon-baller, which takes out the perfect portion.) Transfer the ganache to a piping bag with a wide tip and fill each of the holes to the top with ganache.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (the original recipe calls for 2 cups, but I found this amount to be enough)

5 cups powdered sugar

pinch of salt

6 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream (or any other brand you may have in your cupboard)

Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar and the pinch of salt until combined. Add the Bailey’s, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 – 3 minutes. Frost and decorate as desired.



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