Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Whiskey Caramel Buttercream.... and a naughty dog

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Whiskey Caramel Buttercream

Oh, this one's a doozey.

I'm glad today is St. Patrick's Day, because I need a beer.

I made some delicious cupcakes yesterday, but that's not the whole story. These cupcakes have a saga.

It all started well enough. I came home in the afternoon ready for some holiday baking. I'd had it in my head to make these chocolate stout cupcakes for over a month as a festive treat for St. Paddy's day. I mixed up my ingredients, baked up the cakes and made my buttercream. My recipes were great and everything tasted delicious. This is not a story of an epic kitchen fail. No, this story begins with a little dog named Lupin.

Oh, Lupin

He looks innocent enough with those big brown eyes, but don't let his charming disposition fool you. Beneath his fluffy exterior lurks a devious, calculating beast. Just look at that face... you can see the wheels turning in his head as he plots his next master plan.

You see, yesterday Lupin consumed almost a dozen chocolate cupcakes in about 5 minutes, wrappers and all.

I had just finished decorating my cupcakes not 10 minutes before, when I left the kitchen for a minute to go into the bathroom. I thought nothing of leaving the treats resting on their cooling racks on the kitchen table since he's never bothered anything there before and it would take some effort for him to reach that high. Well, that was a mistake! I returned to the kitchen a few minutes later to see that half of my cupcakes had vanished into thin air. There wasn't a crumb or wrapper to be found. Just one very satisfied looking dog. Never trust anything that cute. My first reaction was to freak out, but then panic set in when it occurred to me exactly how much toxic crap he could have just consumed.

Of course these couldn't have been little strawberry vanilla cupcakes. I mean, all that sugar and fat and paper would have been bad enough, but these cupcakes were doubly so. Baker's chocolate, coffee, beer, whiskey. All of this stuff is terrible for dogs!! 10 minutes later I was on the phone with Animal Poison Control at the ASPCA getting ready to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide. Yeah folks, make sure you have that stuff on hand if you have a dumb and/or crafty dog.

Needless to say, he has one very upset digestive tract today, but he seems to be doing pretty well. I still need to monitor him for signs of pancreatitis, but hopefully he will be just fine in a day or so. He's lucky I love him so damn much!

As for the cupcakes - they were good. Really, really good. Seriously, you should make them. They're moist, complex and chocolatey. The buttercream is just plain heaven and the whiskey really adds a nice twist. Go forth and make delicious cupcakes for your friends and family. Just don't give them to your dog, ok?

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Whiskey Caramel Buttercream

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
(adapted from Bon Appetit)

Makes 24 Cupcakes
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
14 Tbsp salted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar, plus 3 Tbsp
3 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup stout or chocolate stout
2/3 cup freshly brewed coffee

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 regular cupcake trays with your cupcake papers. 

2. Place the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl and set it over a small pot of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

3. Whisk the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt in a medium bowl until mixed. Next, beat the butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time making sure each yolk is well blended before adding the next. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the stout and coffee. (Your mixture may look curdled at this point, but don't worry.) Finally, beat in the flour mixture in 2 additions, mixing just until it is incorporated.

4. In another clean bowl, whip your egg whites and the 3 Tbsp of sugar until they are stiff but not dry. Mix in 1/3 of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it up, then gently fold in the remaining whites in 2 additions. Divide amongst the 24 cupcake tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the tins and let cool completely on wire racks. 

Whiskey Caramel Buttercream

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp whiskey, divided
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp coarse salt

1. In a small saucepan, gently stir together the granulated sugar, water and 1 Tbsp whiskey. Bring to a boil over medium high heat without stirring and cook until the sugar turns a dark amber, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream, vanilla and remaining 1 Tbsp whiskey, stirring until smooth. If it's lumpy, return it to low heat briefly to melt the caramel until it smooths out. Set aside until it is cooled to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and salt with the paddle attachment on medium high speed until smooth and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Bring the speed down to low and add the confectioner's sugar, mixing until smooth and incorporated. 

3. Scrape the butter mixture down the sides of your bowl and add the cooled caramel. Beat again on medium high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. If it seems too soft to pipe at this point, chill it in the fridge for 25-40 minutes, or until it stiffens up a bit. Then eat it with a spoon. Trust me, you'll want to.


  1. I realized something on the way home from work today. Tomorrow is the full moon. It explains everything, doesn't it?

    Glad to hear Mr. Moony is doing okay, though.

  2. Well then a werewolf could certainly eat all those cupcakes...!

  3. Oh No! The same thing happened to a friend of mine. Her chihuahua polished off a handful of mini chocolate cuppies and left no sign--not even a crumb! Those crafty pups. So glad that Lupin is feeling ok!

  4. Oh no! So glad your dog is doing okay! I can't believe he ate so many cupcakes! They look really yummy though.

  5. Can you blame him?!? They look so delicious! I'm glad he's doing OK...and he is SO CUTE!

  6. Your cupcakes look excellent! I once had a dog who did something similar to my mother. She had just finished baking and icing two Italian cassatas (pound cake, with layers of frosting make of chocolate and butter...think rich). She left the kitchen for a few minutes and returned to find one of them entirely gone! Had she stayed away a few more minutes, the other one would have disappeared, too. My dog had no reaction whatsoever (luckily). Glad your dog is ok!

  7. It's a good thing dogs are such resilient little buggers! He's doing just fine now thankfully. But no more cupcakes for him!!

  8. I am going to try this recipe. I just received a home brewed, wonderful, dark chocolate stout. The cakes look so moist!

  9. I once had a dog that ate half a tray of freshly baked brownie... I called the emergency as soon as I discovered it and they said for the dog her size, half a sheet of brownie won't do much. just a little bathroom problem, maybe :) they are so clever.