I’ll admit, I’ve never done that much for St. Patrick’s Day. I mean, my mother would festoon the dining room with green clover garlands and chocolate “gold” pieces around the holiday each year when I was little, given our Irish heritage. And I’ve gone out to a couple of Irish bars on the holiday. And there was that one memorable Saint Patrick’s Day during college at Earl’s on the Ave (the old one) with a bunch of blue drinks and my friend Sara. But let’s not talk about that.
It may be a holiday that has garnered little of my attention, but I think that Saint Patrick’s Day is due for a second look. Not because it celebrates a certain Irish Saint, but because it’s an opportunity to bake with beer.
Everyone should bake with beer. I’m just going to put that out there. Baking with beer is awesome. It adds a smoky, almost savory note to baked goods that’s a lovely compliment to sugar. It’s an excellent addition to bread recipes – just replace the water or liquid called for with an equal amount of beer. And dark beers like stouts or porters go exceptionally well with chocolate.
These Guinness cupcakes with Guinness glaze take advantage of the dark beer/chocolate pairing. The smoky flavor of the Guinness helps balance the sweetness of the cake, and brings out the cocoa in the cake. It also contrasts with the sugar in the glaze, which keeps the cake soft and sweet. The only problem I had with the cake is that it turned out exceptionally moist – maybe even a little gummy in the center. I guess a quest for a perfect cake is never really done. But baking with beer? That’s a quest that I’m happily convinced will never be done – there’s just too many things to experiment with.
St. Patrick’s Day Guinness Cupcakes
1/4 cups + 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup Guinness
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 + 1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 + 1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cups sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
In a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup heat Guinness until hot. Add cocoa powder and whisk until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and sugar. Remove from heat, pour into a mixing bowl, and mix on medium speed with an electric mixer until cool (4-5 minutes). Add egg and yolk and mix until combined, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla and cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed add flour mixture in two batches alternating with the sour cream, beating until each is just combined.
Pour batter into muffin tins, filling each 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack to let cool completely. Dip the top of the cupcakes in Guinness Glaze (recipe follows).
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tbs Guinness
Beat together cream cheese and powdered sugar until combined. Add Guinness, a tablespoon at a time, until the glaze reaches desired consistency.