These cupcakes didn’t start out quite so alcoholic (or so healthy). But I didn’t have milk (or white flour), and as you may have noticed, we’re all very fond of Guinness and chocolate in baked goods around here. We were invited to a hot cocoa party (sounds so innocent, doesn’t it?) and for some reason that made me want to make chocolate cupcakes with such a force that, well, despite having only half the ingredients, I went ahead with the experiment. Owning a book like Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts requires some dedication. When you have a dessert baking craving that involves chocolate, you are morally bound to consult it first. Not remembering a section on cupcakes (apparently they weren’t quite so popular 40 years ago) I thought I was off the hook and free to browse the internets to my heart’s content. But no, hidden in the “bonus recipes” section was indeed a recipe for chocolate cupcakes, which even more miraculously called for cocoa instead of baking chocolate, the only chocolate substance presently in the house. The following is the recipe as I made it, but to revert to the original is easy: use white flour in place of the whole wheat flour, use milk in the place of Guinness, and use vanilla extract in place of the Grand Marnier. While that may sound like me complaining about using Maida’s recipes, what I mean to say is: I’m so lucky to not have to sift through terrible recipes on the internets when instead I can just make any recipe at all from a single book and it will be the best dessert I’ve had in a long time.
Whole Wheat Chocolate Cupcakes with Guinness
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
10 2/3 tablespoons butter (less than 1 1/2 sticks of butter, in case the number 10 looks too daunting)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1 cup Guinness beer
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with muffin liners/cups. If you only have one muffin tin, as I do, bake the cupcakes serially (one batch then the other). Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl (flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder). Cream the butter, add the sugar and Grand Marnier and cream them together, and then add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg fully into the butter/sugar before adding the next. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet in thirds, adding half the Guinness between thirds. Make sure the batter is fully mixed, but don’t overmix. Fill the muffin liners 2/3 full (they will puff up when baked) and bake for 25 minutes or just under. They are done when you stick your finger in the hot oven to press down on the top of a cupcake and the cupcake bounces back (almost literally into your hand, it wants to be eaten so badly!).
Happy chocolate cupcake eating! I iced mine with frosting made from the rest of that second stick of butter (one stick minus 2 2/3 tablespoons) beaten together with about 2 cups powdered sugar, three teaspoons of Grand Marnier, and a teaspoon of water. Perhaps I should just admit that a chocolate sauce frosting would have tasted better, but I’ve been on a mission to use up my powdered sugar for a while now, so creamy white sweetness overload was the order of the day.