To be honest, while I was measuring out ingredients and lining them up on the counter I was glad I chose to measure out the beer first. There was more than one or two pauses to contemplate the recipe and "taste check" the beer.
The only concerning part of the recipe was the combining of the milk and beer prior to addition to the batter. I held off on the combining part as I suspected curdling. This was a good technique because halfway through adding the beer-milk, which was done in alternating amounts with the flour, curdling did become apparent.
Let's take a moment and hop back to the start of this shindig: creaming the butter and sugar.
Maybe it is a little gross or maybe it is a baker thing, but I am in love with creamed butter and sugar. The slightly savory taste of butter in a silken fluffed form, sweetened by the sugar - that's what heaven is made of. Seriously, I believe that; don’t laugh.
My spouse recently made this bit of heaven better, which I did not think could happen. While at our local bulk supply store, he happened upon a 10 pound bag of sugar that was labeled as containing no GMOs. Yes, we are one of those families. Better yet, the non-GMO sugar happened to be raw cane sugar!
I have never tasted something so pure and clean as butter creamed with raw cane sugar. This was delightful and I can honestly tell the difference in the taste of the cakes as I did use the raw sugar in a batch of vanilla cakes. I find that an added benefit of using raw sugar is that the granules are rougher and will aerate the butter more successfully than the processed sugar. Result: fluffier crumb due to more rise in the batter while baking.
So together went my ingredients and the batter was scooped into a pastry bag then squished into the little cups, ready to bake.
The kid wandered back and forth between me in the kitchen and his father in the living room. When you are twelve it can be difficult to decide between baking and spray painting the wheels for the family radio controlled truck. Good thing the living room, kitchen and back porch are all contained within 10 feet as this makes keeping up with both activities much easier for him.
One of the moments contributed to the cupcakes coincided with the mostly cooled cupcakes getting a second dose of beer via soaking. He stopped to watch me poke the last couple of cupcakes with a toothpick and then, when I picked up the measuring cup and brush, asked "What's that? Is that more beer? You're not brushing them with beer. Are you? No, I don't believe you. You're messing with me."
I would never. Except if it were entertaining.
Yes, I truly was brushing the cakes with a beer soak. Then they cooled and settled while I whipped up some lime buttercream. I felt inspired to be colorful so the buttercream got a couple dollops of color gel and then a sprinkling of green sugar.
I will say, these were really good. The beer flavor was not there, only the wheat-ness as a smooth hang-about flavor. It made me think of the sweet wheat bread you can get at some bakeries. The lime was a bright contrast, no different than directly in your beer. This recipe is a keeper!
I do recommend keeping the beer and milk separated as long as possible. I made this recipe twice, once with Blue Moon and once with Longboard. The Blue Moon round I did combine early but did not look for curdling. I did notice the cake was a bit more dense though.
When soaking cupcakes, be sure to provide as many holes as possible to allow for maximum impact. Soak heavily! You will be surprised by how much it will assist the flavor and no you won’t end up with soggy cake. Be sure to let the cakes cook thoroughly to aid the soaking.
All [creativity] is not lost...
Corissa has been an artist her entire life and attended the Art Institute for design after completing a Bachelor’s in Accounting from National American University. She validates the contradicting combination with “I love my art but I don’t have to starve for it.”
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