I envy people who can scarf down entire cupcakes without falling asleep after the first bite. I loathe to see children eating piles of ice cream and candy without a care. Me? If I even as much as look at a slice of frosted banana peanut butter glazed French toast or whatever the latest blogger is cooking up, I can feel my face go slack, my muscles pliable and limp, and can't stop myself from falling asleep. Yep, I'm a sugar wuss. Syrup makes me sleep and frosting gives me lucid nightmares. I eat a cookie and pass out faster than a drunk chick at a Phi Beta Kappa mixer.
King Arthur and I recently teamed up to deliver you from the heebie-jeebies of hedonistic desserts. I was offered the opportunity to invent a cupcake with the cupcake kit they sent over, and I thought I'd give you my take on a reduced-sugar, but heavily flavor-assaulted version of a classic pairing: beer and pretzels. But not just any beer. You guys know I'm not really crazy about the stuff. Sure, I can cook with it in a thousand ways, but when push comes to shove, there's only one type of beer I actually like to drink without taking baby sips and feigning class. (Similarly feigned interests: non-gay politics, clothes shopping, some jazz, and a love for taco salad.) And that beer would be smoked beer, rauchbier if you ask in German. Shit is off the hook meaty, I tell you.
For this recipe, I used Left Hand Brewing Company's smoked beer, Smoke Jumper. It's not something that I'd enjoy alone as it was kind of wimpy for its type, but worked excellently in the cupcake base. I'd recommend using something like that or a milder smoked variety. The German ones simply have too much of a meatiness to them to feasibly work in cupcakes. This was an easily substitute, and one that I'd definitely do again to jazz up a cake mix. I simply substituted the water, 1 1/3 cups for the mix, for beer and added the remaining ingredients. The flavor was really rich with a defined booziness and the cupcakes were very fluffy. And they look like a dark beer! Adorbs.
Try these if you're in need of a 4th of July gift, but don't feel like making one of those doofy flag berry cakes. Or make these for a backyard barbecue- they go well with testosterone, drunk people, and overcooked hot dogs. And if you want to win a King Arthur cupcake prize kit with chocolate cake mix, corer, dough whisk (also a multi-purpose tool to blow bubbles at cats with) and liners, comment on this post and tell me what other flavor of cupcake or dessert I should make. I have half a batch of batter left and need your ideas! The best idea wins and the contest will run until Monday, May 28th.
Smoked Beer and Pretzel Cupcakes with Malted Vanilla Frosting
Ingredients (makes 24 cupcakes)
1 box of King Arthur Flour Chocolate Cake Mix (or your favorite boxed mix- adjust liquid levels if using another brand)
1 1/3 cup of smoked beer
2/3 cups of vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1. Mix beer, eggs, salt, and oil together, and slowly incorporate cake mix.
2. Scoop into cupcake liners and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
3. Cool for 30-45 minutes and frost! Also, after they're cool, you can core and fill them, too.
Malted Vanilla Frosting (adapted from Aida Mollencamp)
Ingredients (makes 2 cups of frosting)
1 1/2 sticks of softened unsalted butter
1 cup of powdered sugar
3/4 cups of non-diastatic malt powder
2/3 cups of whole milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 shot glass of beer
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1. Cream butter, sugar, and malt powder together until fluffy. Add milk until smooth.
2. Add vanilla, beer, and salt, and place into piping bag or Ziplock. Chill for 30 minutes and frost. And pair it with a baller cupcake sweatshirt, too. #davidlynchphotosofmygf
I think I need a nap now.