A couple of weeks ago, a friend decided that someone in our circle needed to make cupcakes featuring the fantastic (and seasonal) Rubus Cacao beer from MadTree, our favorite local brewery. Considering how much this friend loves my cooking, it came as no surprise that he nominated me. Rubus Cacao is brewed with raspberry and cocoa nibs, so it was pretty much made for dessert. Honestly, this was the perfect scenario. I love to bake, but I don’t have a huge sweet tooth and never need a whole batch of some baked good just hanging out in my kitchen. A commissioned dessert to share with friends? Bingo.
I spent a few days reading up on recipes for beer cupcakes, of which there are a lot, but the recipe I kept coming back to was from Smitten Kitchen. For starters, I always know I can count on Deb’s recipes to be accurate and delicious. For another thing, she has so many followers that the comment section can be a goldmine for recipe tips, just to confirm that the recipe does work and to see how people have successfully modified it. I love to experiment with baking, but baking is also chemistry, and you need to know that you aren’t messing around with something that could greatly change the outcome (and create a kitchen disaster). Luckily, switching out a dark beer for another dark beer was about as easy at it gets.
For our Super Bowl party, I pretty much followed Deb’s recipe exactly, just subbing in the Rubus Cacao whenever she called for any booze in the recipe for the cupcakes and the buttercream frosting. I did skip the ganache recipe entirely though. I wanted to keep these a little more simple and let the flavor of the beer really shine, which it did. The raspberry flavor in particular came through beautifully. Also, this was just a really stellar cupcake recipe in general, and I can definitely see myself using it again in the future, with or without the booze.
In terms of what kinds of beer you can use, since I used a local brew, pretty much any beer that you’d enjoy drinking with a slice of chocolate cake would be fantastic.
For the complete recipe and a great comment section, head over to the Smitten Kitchen website. Let me know if you try it and what kind of beer you used!