Sunday, January 15, 2012

Beer Loves Chocolate

I'm not much of a drinker. I never liked the bitter taste of alcohol and I could never understand why some people even get addicted to it. (Besides, too much beer in my bloodstream also causes me to start acting weird, which I'm sure my colleagues would agree lol). 

Then again, I can't live without coffee though beer and coffee taste nothing in common except that they're both bitter. But I am always up to try something different, something other than the usual chocolate cupcake. The Guinness beer definitely added a certain depth to the flavor of the chocolate, a little "je ne sais quoi". If I was to put it into a word, I'd say I can taste a subtle hint of yeast like a freshly baked bread. The beer together with the sour cream also made the cupcakes moist, soft and fluffy. The ganache complimented the cupcake perfectly. I wanted to use a frosting that wouldn't compete with the flavor of the beer and chocolate so I decided on using vanilla buttercream. My colleagues loved it and one even said that this was the best thing I've ever baked for them.

recipe adapted from Chaos In the Kitchen which was adapted from Bon Appetit

1 stick butter
1/2 cup Guinness beer
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/3 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with liners.
Melt the butter with the beer and bring to a simmer on a pan over low heat.
Stir in cocoa powder until smooth. Remove from the heat.

Sift and whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat the egg lightly in another bowl. Add the sour cream and mix until combined. Using a hand whisk, slowly beat in the chocolate mixture. Add the dry ingredients and lightly stir until partially combined. Then using a spatula, fold the mixture gently until thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter into the cupcake liners and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cupcakes rest for 2 minutes in the pan. Remove them and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature

Put the chocolate pieces in a bowl. Heat the cream to a simmer over low heat or microwave on medium for 30-40 seconds until simmering. Add the hot cream to the chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Slowly stir the mixture until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let it rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before using, stirring occasionally. 

Cut and core the cooled cupcakes with a knife, halfway through. Fill them with the ganache. Replace the cut out parts back on top of the cupcakes. Spoon the ganache over the cupcakes and spread with a spatula. Let the excess ganache drip off in a bowl. Or you can also just directly dip the cupcakes into the ganache (without filling). Chill for 20 mintues before adding the vanilla buttercream frosting. (I double coated my cupcakes because I wanted a thicker layer of ganache on top.)

1 stick butter, at room temperature for 15 minutes
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
chocolate, grated for topping

Whip the butter in a bowl using an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition. Add in the heavy cream and vanilla extract and whip until the frosting is nice and thick. Chill for 10 - 15 minutes before frosting the cupcakes. Grate chocolate over the vanilla buttercream frosting.