Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chocolate Beer Cupcakes with Honey Spice Frosting and Cocoa Nibs

Recipe adapted from Dave Leiberman

This is a chocolate cake recipe that I have used for many years now. The originally recipe calls for sour cream....which I find completely and utterly disgusting. I also forgot that the recipe called for this, as it’s been a couple years since I last made I didn’t have sour cream. Instead, I added an extra egg and was quite pleased with the result. Typically, this cake tends to be overly moist and crumbly. This was not so with my alteration and was a lot easier to work with.


  • ¾  cup unsweetened cocoa, plus more for dusting finished cupcakes
  • 1 ½  cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch fine salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 ½ cups of the beer of your choice
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.

In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter, and vanilla.
Beat in eggs, 1 at time.
Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.

Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Place approximately ⅓ cup of batter into each tin. Bake for about 10 minutes and then rotate the pans. Bake another 10 to 11 minutes until risen, nicely domed, and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out.

The beer that I chose to use didn’t have as much chocolate flavor as I wanted, but the honey and spice notes were there. I decided that I wanted to emphasis that with my frosting, so I chose to make a honey spice frosting.
1 stick softened butter
2 ½ to 3 cups powdered sugar
2 tbls honey (I used a pepper honey, which I picked up from The Bee Folks)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
Cocoa nibs for garnish

Cream the butter and powdered sugar together, ½ cup of sugar at a time. When you reach the desired consistency, add cinnamon and chili powder. Frost cupcakes when cool and sprinkle with cocoa nibs.

The honey made the frosting extremely sweet, which was a good match for the less sweet cupcakes. The cupcakes themselves were dark and chocolately with a hint of the beer flavor. Had I used a darker beer (like the guiness or stout the recipe is typically used with), I might have been able to taste the beer a bit more. The spice in the frosting is subtle, but the honey and chili went well together, as the honey I used already had notes of spice in it. The cocoa nibs on top tied it all together with their dark chocolate, totally unsweet crunch.