Guinness Gingerbread Cupcakes

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Daughter Jenn brought this recipe to my attention, so I surprised her and made it for her birthday cake. The original recipe appears on the internet to be by Kim Laidlaw; I have taken a few liberties in adding my own touches to it.

Guinness Stout adds depth and richness to a classic gingerbread, and helps it stay moist. The batter is thin enough it can be made without getting the stand mixer out; I used a hand mixer, or it could be stirred using just elbow grease. If you prefer to not use beer, then just substitute the same amount of espresso or very strong coffee for the Guinness.

The batter can be used in three ways without change; it can become a Bundt cake, a normal round cake, or 24 cupcakes. For the Bundt cake, generously grease a 9-inch Bundt pan. When the cake is cooled, warm and drizzle the caramel sauce over the top and serve in wedges. Serve any remaining sauce in a small pitcher so it can be added to the wedges. A Bundt cake would probably need to bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F.

For a round cake, butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. When serving the cake, spread the caramel sauce over the top. To accompany the cake, perhaps some poached pears (see the bottom of this article). Using a round springform cake pans, I am guessing the cooking time will be 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. But that is a guess so use a toothpick to test that the cake cooked through. then cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing the cake. It can be served warm at this time with the caramel sauce drizzled over the top.

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September 15, 2015- NOTE: I decided I wanted to make the round cake but instead of a single layer, I wanted two layers so I could put the caramel sauce between layers and then frost the top. (The original suggested only the caramel sauce drizzled over the top of the single layer.) Instead of butter, I used the “Real Ease” product from the Decorette Shop as a pan lubricant, but followed the directions to also use the parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. I was amazed that the cake layers came out of the pans without any trouble, and the extra work of putting in a parchment bottom was not necessary; it stayed in the pan when I took the cake out. The cooking time was 35 minutes, and cooled in the pan on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing to cool. Oh, yes, the original recipe says a 9 inch springform pan; I used two 10″ cake pans so my two layers is probably a bit shorter than using a single 9 inch pan.

For cupcakes, we will use 24 muffin wells lined with cupcake papers. The cupcakes will be frosted first with the caramel sauce, and then with a cream cheese frosting.

I have a few hints about making these cupcakes that you need to see before jumping into the recipe. For example, the caramel sauce can be made ahead of time, and then brought back to a spreadable state; to do this, I zap the container of sauce in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time, stirring after each time until it becomes spreadable. You could reheat it over very low heat on the stove, but that would mean transferring it to a heat proof cooking pan.

In the directions, I have suggested bowl sizes for both the wet and dry ingredients; these are the sizes of my bowls. The trick is to see that the wet ingredients are dumped into the dry ingredients so the dry ingredients need the larger bowl. I wouldn’t want you to get caught with the dry ingredients sifted into too small of a bowl.

The recipe will make 24 cupcakes. They do not rise a lot and so the directions say to fill the muffin wells nearly full. The first time, I filled the wells too full- none of the cupcake paper showed above the batter- and only got 20 cupcakes. And the little rise there was cooked the cupcakes to the muffin pans above the cupcake paper top. So I recommend leaving about 1/8 inch of cupcake paper showing when you fill the muffin wells.

Guinness Gingerbread Cupcakes

Ingredients for the gingerbread

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup Ginness Stout
  • 1 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons peeled and grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup (about 2 ounces) chopped crystallized ginger
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the caramel sauce

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions for the caramel sauce

The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool it to room temperature and refrigerate it in a covered container. Reheat over low heat until smooth and spreadable.

  1. To make the sauce, melt the butter over medium heat in a sauce pan.
  2. Add the brown sugar and cream. Stir with a whisk until the sauce bubbles and gets sticky, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the vanilla and salt.

Ingredients for the frosting

  • 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • pinch of fine salt

Directions for the frosting

  1. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and salt and continue to mix until thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 muffin pans with cupcake papers
  2. In a bowl (~1 1/2 quart), beat the eggs until smooth.
  3. In the same bowl, whisk together the Guinness, molasses, brown sugar, oil, and fresh ginger.
  4. Add the crystallized ginger.
  5. In a large bowl (~4 quart), sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and salt.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
  7. Divide the batter among the muffin wells, filling them nearly full.
  8. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
  9. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes and let them cool on a wire rack
  10. Spread the cooled cupcakes with the caramel sauce, and then pipe the frosting onto each cupcake.

If you are making the round cake and would like to accompany it with the poached pears, this is how I did them.

Ingredients for poached pears

  • 6 ripe but firm pears, peeled, quartered and cored
  • peel from 1 orange removed with a vegetable peeler to avoid the bitter white pith
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean

Directions for poached pears

  1. Bring the water and sugar to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the pears and orange peel.
  3. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife; add the pod and seeds to the pan.
  4. Adjust the heat so the liquid simmers gently. poach the pears until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Let the pears cool in the poaching liquid

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