Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oregon Coast Cupcakes

It's 10:54pm and I'm sitting at the breakfast bar typing and watching Dexter.  Now that I've called it that, I'm realizing that we never actually eat breakfast at it because it's too high and always covered in superfluous mail, a pile of books and whatever knitting project bag I've got going in addition to my laptop. But, back to the task at hand. Why am I perched on a barstool when I should be sleeping so that I can get more than four hours of sleep before my sweet little children awake pre-5am? Because I'm waiting for the last batch of cupcakes to come out of the oven so I can then wait for them to cool enough to take them out of the pan.

In the morning we're packing up the party barge and heading to the coast for a weekend of fun with my husband's family, and to celebrate the huge honor of our uncle being installed as the Commander of the Oregon VFW. Since so much of the family was able to make it, it's also morphed into a reunion of sorts with a huge bbq on Sunday afternoon, and the celebration of summer birthdays.

I love to make cupcakes. This weekend, I'm making two of my favorites; Magnolia's Vanilla Vanilla and a Chocolate Stout Cupcake that I made for Jared's birthday last year. The thing I love about family get together's is the time spent just chatting and relaxing; basking in the company of each other. I'm sure with the amount of people staying in the beach house, there will be at least one incident of hilarity and awkward tension, but that's part of the fun, right? Right?

In hopes of enjoying as much open time as possible, I decided to bake the large batch of chocolate cupcakes tonight and take them along.  On Sunday morning, I'll inject them with whipped cream (my first attempt, so I may only do it with a few) and ice them with a simple ganache. Basically, they'll be sophisticated ding dongs. Yum!

If you need a no-fail chocolate cake that's sure to wow (and gets better with each day as the flavors mellow) this is the one. With over four hundred reviews on epicurious, you're also bound to get a ton of great tips. It does make over 4 dozen cupcakes (I discarded the extra, as I didn't want more than 48 cupcakes!) so you can easily cut the recipe in half and have plenty. A quick tip for filling cupcake tins without a lot of mess is to fill a gallon sized freezer bag and snip the corner (or large pastry bag) and pipe it into the paper cups.

Neither of these cupcake recipes would be classified as 'healthy', but I did use fat-free greek yogurt instead of sour cream in the chocolate, so...

Chocolate Stout Cake By Barrington Brewery

  • 2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream


  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely. (I made four dozen cupcakes, baked for 18 minutes).

For icing:
Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.

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