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chocolate stout cupcakes

My Scottish friend drinks beer unlike anyone else I have ever seen. He can drink beer quicker than most people can drink water and seems to have an uncanny ability to wear its effects.

So when his birthday was the day after St Patrick’s day, I couldn’t resist making a recipe that combined beer (well stout, specifically) and chocolate. I was after a more dense cake than my usual chocolate cupcake recipe, and while searching for the perfect recipe, stumbled upon the unusual combination of stout and chocolate.

The reviews were great (over 400 of them) but I was skeptical. I dislike even the smell of beer, so I wondered how the cupcakes would turn out and what the stout would lend to the mix. Turns out that I needn’t have worried. These cupcakes were rich, a good level of dense and you couldn’t taste the stout at all – it just lent the cake depth of flavour.

I must admit I totally winged it on the icing, so I will make a mental note to write a proper recipe and post it later. At this point all I can tell you is that I whisked cream cheese until smooth then added a bit of cream, cocoa powder, icing sugar and melted dark chocolate.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
makes 26 cupcakes
from Epicurious

for the cupcakes
1 cup stout
225g butter
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar (it sounds like a lot, but trust me)
½ tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
⅔ cup sour cream

for the icing*
*recipe to come

180g sugar 
70g glucose (available at supermarkets)
60ml water
½ tsp bicarb soda

  1. Preheat oven to 170C. 
  2. Heat stout and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Whisk eggs and sour cream in an electric mixer until smooth.
  4. Add stout-chocolate mixture and mix to combine.
  5. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to the batter and beat on low speed until just combined.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, place mixture into cupcake liners and fill until about two thirds full. 
  7. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 17 minutes.
  8. For the honeycomb, put sugar, glucose and water into a small saucepan and place the pan over high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture takes on a faint golden tinge – do not go past light golden or  you will have ashy, burnt, honeycomb. Remove pan from the heat and wait for the mixture to cool down for about 20-30 seconds – there should still be small bubbles in the sugar syrup. Add the bicarb all at once, and stir through with a spatula – just enough so that it’s all combined. Spoon out into the prepared lined flat dish, and leave to set for about 45 minutes. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container. 
  9. To assemble, use a large star tip to pipe icing onto cooled cupcakes, top with honeycomb then drizzle with melted dark chocolate. Honeycomb goes soft when exposed to air, so consume quickly.