Let me start out this post by saying I am not a beer person naturally and that I still have yet to really get a hand on the whole new camera situation, where I live the weather changes in the blink of an eye so one minute the natural light is great and then two minutes later it’s dark and cloudy and it looks like the setting of a Tim Burton film and I still haven’t gotten the whole photo set up background thing either; it was way easier back with just my phone but I’m trying to learn; I guess I just feel a little pessimistic since the pictures didn’t come out exactly the way I wanted them, that and I’m about sick of that damn white desk, it might be time to shake it up and find a new table that’s closer to my height.
Alright now that my boohoo party is over, let me tell you I’ve had this recipe in my mind not for months but probably almost a year. I don’t really like the taste of beer naturally and so I knew there would have to be other elements to it because straight up beer is not happening, chocolate and caramel on the other hand goes great with beer and they’re both semi-strong flavors that could help deviate the complete hoppy taste of beer so it all turned out pretty well. I also liked the idea of a beer reduction but forewarning it took FOREVER for that thing to reduce to the consistency I wanted it. I knew once it cooled down it would thicken so I figured that the beer reduction hot should be the consistency of pancake syrup if I wanted the end result to be like maple syrup (yes, they are two different things) when it cooled down; it took me probably 1 1/2 hours to finally get it cooked down and you should know ahead of time that your entire house will smell of yeast and beer; I also suggest you open the beer a good couple hours ahead of time that way your negate any foam and spillage when cooking it over the stove.
The cupcake however is extremely tasty, chocolaty and easy to make, it rises just enough to the edge of the cupcake liner and has some serious fluffiness to it, the filling isn’t caramel but Dulce de Leche that I always call caramel: what is Dulce de Leche you ask? It’s a thick, gooey caramel-like concoction typically made by cooking condensed milk and only condensed milk. It’s heavily used in South American cultures and in my Spanish class when I first started college a classmate of mine made these shortbread cookies with Dulce de Leche inside and I’ve been hooked ever since. It taste better than caramel to me because it also has a hint of toffee and can give a bit of a bitter taste as well which helps with the sweetness.
Nowadays Dulce de Leche is used so often that they offer it pre-made at basically all grocery stores but if you want to make it from scratch the directions are easy: on the stove over medium high to high heat in a large pot filled with water you boil condensed milk (still in the can) for about 3 hours; you should go back and check every 30 minutes to an hour to make sure not too much of the water evaporated, you want water to still cover the can.
Alterations + Adjustments: if beer simply isn’t for you then omit it and use a liquor of your choice a red wine or whisky would be perfect, you should reduce the wine, over medium heat and it should take a less amount of time, for the whisky, if you don’t want the alcohol content, then cook it out very quickly over the heat, a minute or two will be fine, but if you do want alcohol content then using a tablespoon or two (15-30 mL)/(0.5-1 g) in the frosting should do and using 2 tablespoons (30 grams) to 1/4 of a cup (60 grams) of milk should give the frosting the same texture. I would however advise to leave the vanilla out of the frosting if you’re using wine.
If you don’t want alcohol at all then just use a 1/3 cup (80 grams) of milk and you’ll have the best vanilla frosting ever! Or add 1/4 cup (25 grams) of sifted cocoa powder and 1/3 cup (80 grams) of milk and you will have serious chocolate frosting or, last but not least; add 1/3 cup (80 grams) of your Dulce de Leche to your frosting with 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of milk and you can have additional caramel flavorings. I like to give you guys’ options.
When it comes to the frosting it’s a simple vanilla frosting that’s mixed with the beer reduction and the powdered sugar helps sweeten the beer as well, but you should know if you don’t want a harder beer taste then only pour how much beer you want into the frosting, the vanilla paste also helps enhance the flavor of the beer and not make it so hoppy. I also used Red Hook’s Long Hammer IPA; in my opinion it’s a sort of lighter ale and won’t have such a potent flavor but will still mesh well with the frosting, Dulce de Leche and chocolate cupcake, so really it’s a win-win. If you do have your own preference of beer then by all means use what you want, but this was my personal opinion.
Helpful Hints & Suggestions: when it comes to filling the cupcake at first I wanted to be pretty and delicate and use a cupcake cutter, after about 5 minutes of looking for the damn thing I finally said screw it and used a knife, just as easy and probably quicker. You should take out as much cupcake as you think you need to so that you can fill the amount of Dulce de Leche you want.
Also when it comes to frosting the cupcake, once again I went the super easy route and just used an ice cream scoop to get an even amount of each cupcake and spread it across the cupcake with a knife. Now I will be honest and say that there are some people who can free-hand the hell out of a cupcake and make it beautiful, sadly I’m too neurotic and too OCD to have those capabilities so if piping your frosting is your bang I would say a simple 1 inch star tip is the way to go to get a good proportion of frosting to cupcake and caramel.
Also you’ll see in the pictures a slight decoration on the cupcakes, those are cocoa nibs; I found them at my local organic store back home and needed to buy it, my lovely mother encouraged me to and I took the chance. If you’re not aware of cocoa nibs its basically raw cocoa beans chopped up; it’s super dark and has a nice crunch so I encourage it. If you don’t have cocoa nibs or just don’t want it then sprinkling some chopped chocolate chips or chocolate jimmies also does the trick.
Ta-Ta-For-Now: well that’s all for this post, from the boohoo pity party to the deliciousness of an amazing cupcake to the alterations for those of you that weren’t feeling a certain ingredient, I think we’ve covered all basis here. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you all enjoy this recipe! Click the link below to open the recipe on all devices.