Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

One for beer and chocolate lovers alike, these stout cupcakes are not for the feint hearted. The Hargreaves Hill Stout from Yarra Glen gives an edge to the average cupcake recipe by bringing its infused flavours of dark chocolate, roasted coffee bean and bitter hop. The bespoke brewery suffered greatly in the 2009 bushfires, but endured to craft its traditional style ales its signature modern spin.

COOK TIME: 60 Minutes
MAKES: 12 cupcakes

1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
2/3 sugar (brown, caster or both)
1/6 cup oil
1/4 cocoa powder
Teaspoon baking soda
Half cup Hargreaves Hill Stout (room temperature)

Butter cream icing
1 3/4 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup butter
Teaspoon vanilla extract
Tablespoon Hargreaves Hill Stout (room temperature)

Stout toffee sauce
1 cup caster sugar
1/6 cup water
1/2 cup Hargreaves Hill Stout (room temperature)
1/2 double cream
Pinch of salt
Teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat oven 180 degrees.
Combine egg, oil and buttermilk in a large bowl and separately, combine dry ingredients.
Slowly stir wet and dry mixtures together. Add warm beer, ensuring to smooth out mixture and annihilate lumps. Mixture may seem light, but this will contribute positively to the consistency of the cupcakes.
Pour cupcake mixture into buttered cupcake tray, filling just over half way and place into the oven for 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool once baked.

Butter cream icing
Add butter with icing sugar and beat until fully combined.
Stir in stout and vanilla extract to taste and put aside.

Stout toffee sauce
Heat sugar with water in large saucepan, bringing slowly to boil. Cook until amber colour.
Turn down heat and add stout, which will foam up instantly. If caramel seizes, stir over medium heat until the sauce returns to a smooth texture.
Add cream and pinch of salt.
Reduce until texture becomes syrupy and remove from heat.
Add salt and vanilla to taste.
Once elements are cooled, ice cupcakes with butter cream and toffee sauce drizzled on top.

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