St- Patrick's Day

A Stout Idea

Guinness cupcakes from
Guinness cupcakes from

My first experience baking with beer was in 1996 when I was the pastry cook at Q's  restaurant  in Boulder Colorado.  This was early days in the craft beer revolution and folks were just beginning to experiment with beer styles and production, the idea of adding beer to food, beyond boiled beans and steamed clams, wasn't that common.  I made a German chocolate stout cake with porter cream cheese frosting and it was pretty darn good.  The cake was a little on the dense side but super, super moist and paired beautifully with the chocolate, as you might expect. For St. Patrick's Day this year I wanted to revisit the recipe, and made a few changes.  Rather than using a typical sour cream in the mix I used Mexican crema, it has a slightly sweeter flavor and whips lighter into the batter.

I also went with an Amaretto butter cream which was a sweet compliment to the warm barley taste of the cupcake.  There are a number of great recipes for this frosting, and I especially like this one on the blog Life Tastes Good.

Since I'm all about re-purposing my empties, I was eager to productively use the cans which went into making the desserts.  Easy peasy.  If you've never deconstructed a can before, it's pretty simple once you learn the tricks.  Some folks will use heavy gloves and tin snips, but I find that totally over the top, once you get the lid off, cans cut like butter.  I've got a pair of old scissors I use for all my can trimming and I always make sure to trash my scraps since the smaller bits might hurt if you stepped on them.

cupcake liners by
cupcake liners by

Step one:

Open a beer and find a good receptacle  for the contents.  This is usually my mouth, but this time you'll need the beer for the batter, so you should set it aside for baking time.

Rinse your can and let it dry upside down.

With a can opener on the OUTSIDE of your can, remove the top lid.  Save your pull tab for another fantastic craft project.

Step two:

With scissors make a vertical cut straight down your can to the very bottom.  Having this slit will help you get the cupcake back out out of the can when it's eatin time.

Step three:

Cut a horizontal line around the can just above the word Guinness and place a paper cupcake liner inside.  Make your batter and pour all the way to the top of the paper liners, put into oven and bake according to the recipe.  While the cupcakes are cooking you can make the frosting and toppers.  This step was pretty simple too, I trimmed the harp shape from the top part of the beer can and put a daub of hot glue on the back attaching it to a bamboo skewer.

Put on your favorite Pogues album and enjoy your treats- Happy St. Pats!

Guinness Stout Cupcakes

1 can Guiness

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs 3/4 mexican crema (can substitute with sour cream)

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

2 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray paper liners with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the stout, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla.

3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until thoroughly incorporated. Add in the crema and mix until combined.

4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into beer mix. Your batter might look thin but the eggs will make it rise nicely, no worries!

5. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until risen and center is cooked.  Cool on wire rack completely before frosting