Beer! Okay, now that I have your attention, let’s talk about how beer (especially stouts) makes baking so much better. Dark, malty brews are not new to the baking world; chefs have been using its rich, roasted flavor as an excellent addition to cakes and cookies for years. For this decadent recipe, I chose an Irish-style stout, which provides a rich malty flavor without the “boozy” sting you may get from some American Imperial stouts. With this recipe, your cupcakes will have a noticeably smoother feeling accompanied with a deeper chocolate flavor. Pair all that greatness with a white chocolate buttercream frosting, and you have a cupcake that no one can resist!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl; set aside.
Combine the stout, coffee, and vanilla extract in a large bowl; set aside.
Place butter and both sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer; beat on medium speed, until fully combined, about 1 minute.
Add the eggs and continue beating to incorporate.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the stout mixture. Repeat, ending with the flour mixture. Scrape bottom and sides of the bowl to incorporate any excess flour or cocoa. Continue mixing until batter is smooth.
Scoop batter into parchment-lined muffin tins, filling each ¾ full. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting
Chop up the chocolate, and place in a Swiss Diamond Sauce Pan. Heat over low heat for about 3 minutes stirring continuously until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set the pan aside so that the chocolate can cool.
Place the softened butter into a large bowl. Sift the powdered sugar and a pinch of salt over the butter, then cream it together with a hand mixer set on low speed for about 3 minutes, or until it gets fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Pour in the heavy cream and vanilla, and mix well.
Fold in the melted (but cool) white chocolate, stirring until just incorporated into the frosting.
Increase the mixer speed to high, and whip frosting for an additional 3 minutes.