Chocolate is like that supernice kid from school who miraculously got along just as well with the jocks as the nerds as the popular kids, who seemed to fit in effortlessly to every clique just by being so friendly and easygoing and genuine. It's weird and wonderful how many different things you can pair with chocolate. Zucchini. Chili. Beets. Avocado. (All real recipes I've seen). I once made chocolate cakelettes frosted with basil buttercream. And they were delicious. Don't believe me? Just ask my highly skeptical family members who grudgingly had to admit they were into it.
That's what I love about chocolate. Well, one of the many things. It's just so versatile, so cooperative. Such a team player. Chocolate will never let you down. It will take what ever you throw at it and run with it. Spinach? Ginger? Pepper? Go for it. The weirder the better.
Today we're pairing chocolate with beer.
Adding beer to chocolate, I found, is a lot like adding black coffee. It gives the chocolate flavor a little edge of bitterness, that little extra depth that takes it from delicious to deliciously intriguing. An alluring air of mystery, if you will.
If you're not a beer drinker and are skeptical about ruining perfectly good chocolate cupcakes with the bitter taste of beer, don't be. It's not that noticeable. If you are a seasoned beer drinker, you'll be more likely to notice a beer-y taste, but it's subtle. It's like beer bread - yes, there's beer in it, but it's not the primary flavor. My roommate has never tasted beer in her life, and she a) couldn't detect the beer flavor and b) loved the cupcakes. So there.
There's beer in the cake and the frosting, giving these cupcakes an intense, nuanced chocolate flavor. I love how the depth the beer brings to the chocolate gives these cupcakes a no-nonsense sophistication. They're not just your average chocolate cupcake, but there's nothing pretentious about them, either.
I love these cupcakes. I kept saying that as I was eating them: "Oh my gosh, guys. These are so good. Seriously, these cupcakes are so good. I love these cupcakes. Guys, aren't these cupcakes amazing? Wow." With a triple threat chocolate flavor - moist chocolate cake, thick chocolate frosting, and packed with mini chocolate chips for extra chocolate punch - it's no wonder I became a broken record of compliments for these cupcakes.
I'm pretty sure you're going to love them, too.
Guinness Double Chocolate Cupcakes
From A Sweet Soliloquy
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil
2/3 cup stout (e.g. Guinness)
1/3 cup milk
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the vanilla extract, vinegar, oil, stout, and milk. Mix the batter until smooth, then fold in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into 12 baking cups. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from baking pan and allow to cool to room temperature.
Salted Chocolate Stout Buttercream
1 stick butter, softened
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup stout
1/2 tsp salt
sprinkle of course salt
In microwave, heat chocolate chips and stout in a bowl for about 30 seconds. Mix until chocolate chips are melted and let cool, creating a ganache-like mixture. In bowl beat butter until light and fluffy, about one minute, then add salt, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate-stout ganache in increments until fully incorporated. Adjust dry-wet ratios depending on humidity and temperature in your location. Frosting may require a small amount of cooling in freezer to thicken if environment/beating creates too much heat. Frost cooled cupcakes and sprinkle salt on top.