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If you don’t usually celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, these cupcakes are enough of a reason to make you start! They’re richly chocolaty, darkly luxurious and topped with an insanely delicious peanut butter frosting. They’re also super easy to make & frost – perfect for novice cupcake-makers like me!
I have never once celebrated St. Patrick’s Day (sorry, my dear Irish friends!) but starting from next year I will, just so that I can have an excuse to make these chocolate stout cupcakes with peanut butter frosting again and again.
I actually made these this weekend a little bit coincidentally to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day week. You see, I’m taking part in a fun sort of blog hop where a group of us food bloggers get to make something yummy from a fellow blogger’s site. I made a bee-line for these mouth-watering-sounding cupcakes when I was picking out what to make from Nicky’s cool site Little Family Adventure. Do take a moment to check out the site – it’s got all sorts of goodies like healthy meal plans, tips for family road trips and loads of great giveaways.
I chose these mainly because I was intrigued by the choco-beer combo. I don’t know whether you’ve ever added espresso coffee to a chocolate cake mixture to intensify the chocolaty flavour or not, but adding a dark stout beer has a bit of a similar effect (I used Guinness, of course!) It adds a richer, fuller flavour – maybe even a slight bitterness to balance out all the sweetness of the cake and frosting.
I was thinking while making these cupcakes that there was something strangely soothing about the whole process. I think it’s because everything’s very ‘neat and clean and easy’, if that makes sense. I know … ‘Weird!’ you’re thinking … but stay with me for a moment. You melt down the butter with the honey and stout and then add the cocoa to get a beautifully smooth and rich sauce-like mixture. At this point, honestly, I was swooning from the INCREDIBLE smell! I would try to describe it, but I know I’ll fail dismally so you’ll just have to make the cakes for yourself to find out what I mean.
Then you simply whisk up an egg with a bit of natural yoghurt (I used Greek, of course), temper this mixture by adding a bit of the chocolaty mixture to it, then pour that into the sweet buttery stout mixture. Finally, you stir in a bit of flour. You end up with a fairly runny mixture that you can spoon really easily into the cupcake wrappers. A little over 10 minutes later your kitchen is filled with an even more intense rich dark chocolaty aroma … mmm!
My verdict on Nicky’s finished cupcakes was a resounding ‘DELICIOUS!’ I must admit I upped the amount of cocoa in them because I knew that’s how I would like them, but they weren’t at all dry – the yoghurt took care of that. They also aren’t all that bad on the healthy-ness scale. I’m not going to pretend they’re a ‘healthy’ cake as such (hello sweet and yummy frosting!) but the actual cake mixture doesn’t have any sugar in it at all – just honey. There also isn’t all that much butter in there. You don’t need it because of the extra fat in the yoghurt.
Don’t expect a strong Guinness-y flavour in these – it isn’t there. But the Guinness does definitely give them a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. A definite rich dimension perfect for a fine occasion like St. Patrick’s Day!
Just a little note on the delicious buttery, peanut-y frosting before I let you run off to the shops to get the ingredients to make these. I used a slightly different frosting to the one Nicky suggested because I couldn’t wait to test out my new icing nozzles (is that what you call them?) I have actually never piped frosting onto cakes before – can you believe it?
When you are making your frosting, have a bit of extra milk and icing sugar on standby because you might need to adjust the amount of one or the other. I thought I was going to have to nip out and buy more ingredients because at one point my ‘frosting’ just looked like a gloopy mess. But it turned out I just needed to add more icing sugar and beat it for a tiny bit longer until … bingo! … it turned light and fluffy.
So how do you think I did with my piping? 😉 I’m sure there is room for improvement, but I was pretty pleased with my first attempt!
Chocolate stout cupcakes with peanut butter frosting
for the cupcakes
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1/2 cup stout beer e.g. Guinness
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
- 1/4 cup plain yoghurt I used Greek
- 1 egg
for the frosting
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 2 cups confectioner’s/icing sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- chocolate buttons for decoration optional
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
- Mix the baking soda into the flour in a small bowl and set aside.
- Melt the butter and honey together in a small saucepan over a low heat, then add the Guinness. Then take the mixture off the heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Set aside.
- In another small bowl, whisk the egg then whisk in the yoghurt. To temper it, stir in a tablespoon of the cocoa mixture, then repeat three more times. Then add this mixture to the butter-honey-cocoa mixture and stir well.
- Whisk the flour into the cocoa mixture until all of the flour is incorporated, then spoon the mixture into the cupcake liners (fill them about 2/3 full). Bake for 12 to 13 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely.
- Beat together the butter with the peanut butter with a handheld mixer or food processor. Slowly begin adding the icing sugar and continue beating.
- When the mixture starts to get thick, slowly start adding the milk (you may not need to use it all). Continue adding the sugar and beating (for a few minutes) until the mixture becomes light and fluffy (see note below!).
- Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with your chosen nozzle, then pipe a big swirl of frosting onto the top of each cupcake (start from the outside and work inwards). Decorate with chocolate buttons (if using)
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