Over the past few years, beer has slowly become my go-to drink of choice. It’s something that kind of crept up quietly on me. I’ve always loved beer, but when given the choice I would usually go for wine or something stronger like a Manhattan. These days though, beer always wins. There’s a very good reason for this gradual change in my beverage habits. Over the past decade or so, beer has experienced a sort of renaissance. People all over the States are going out of their way to create good quality, unique craft beers and this is a trend I am most definitely enjoying.
What draws me most to beer is that there are so many options. You have your super hoppy IPAs, your crisp Pale Ales, your chocolaty dark Stouts, your tart but oh so refreshing Sour Beers…..the list goes on and on. And this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Within each style of beer there are countless variations and ways to change up the flavor profile. Seriously, it’s enough to make your head hurt thinking about all the possibilities. This is a good thing though, because it means there are always new beers to try. And trying new beers is one of my favorite things ever.
A couple months ago, I ran across a bomber of Elysian’s Split Shot and was intrigued by the addition of espresso to a Milk Stout. Naturally, I bought a bottle to take home and try. This style of beer tends to be a little sweeter, so I decided it would be my dessert for that night. This turned out to be a very wise decision. The minute I took a sip of the creamy, chocolate espresso laced beer, I knew it was begging for me to make it into a cake. It had all the perfect components…..a subtle sweet malt flavor with a slight bitterness from the espresso and undertones of smooth, velvety milk chocolate. It would have been wrong not to bake with this beer.
Chocolate and stouts pair beautifully together, so I made a classic Chocolate Stout Cupcake. The cupcakes came out a gorgeously dark color from the combination of the dark cocoa powder and the stout and the addition of sour cream made for a nice, light, moist cake. When I finished making the cupcakes, I realized I still had four ounces of beer left in the bottle. Now, I’m not one to waste beer, so I decided to boil it down and throw it in the frosting I was making. I didn’t have high hopes for this frosting, but now I’m a little obsessed with it. The results were out of this world. It’s a delicate whipped chocolate ganache with a hint of espresso and just enough stout to pull everything together. When I piled the fluffy, mocha frosting on the cupcakes it was magical. It upped the beer quotient of the cupcakes (which is never a bad thing) and really brought out the espresso flavors of the stout.
With all the beer in this recipe (a full 12 ounce bottle), it’s the perfect dessert to make for St. Paddy’s Day! I mean who wouldn’t love a dessert that combines chocolate and beer?? And if you’ve never had a Milk Stout before, it’s a good excuse to head out and buy a new beer to try. When you think about it, there’s really no reason not to make these cupcakes!