Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Russian River Cupcakes

I have been asked many times what my favorite beer is, and there is always one beer that comes immediately to mind:  Pliny the Elder by Russian River Brewing Company.   It was one of the first craft beers that really knocked my socks off and got me completely addicted to hoppy beers.  So it was definitely necessary that we stop at Santa Rosa while we were on Spring Break.   While we were there, we were able to celebrate my Mom's birthday with the Russian River owner, Natalie.   When I told her about my blog and my desire to make a cupcake using a Russian River beer,  she suggested that I use Consecration... so that's what I did!   Russian River beers are not available on the east coast, but my parent's friends Diane and Michael were able to ship me some back so I could bake!
Mom and Natalie
One of the biggest causes at Russian River is breast cancer support.  During the month of October they are truly "All Hopped for the Cure" in support of breast cancer research.     They make a special beer and have all kinds of events to raise money for the cause.   So it just so happened that Dogfish was also having a breast cancer event the weekend I had planned on making the Consecration cupcakes!  It was awesome that I was able to support the good cause as well as share my cupcakes!

Now for the cupcakes!   Natalie had suggested that the flavors of chocolate and fruit would go really well with the sour beer, so that's what I investigated.  I do have my "go to" chocolate stout cupcake recipe, but I thought it might not be right for using the sour beer.  So I found a chocolate red wine cupcake recipe on one of my favorite blogs, We are Not Martha, and thought that it would be perfect!   And it was.  I was really nervous because I tried the batter and it was kinda... weird.   It was good and chocolatey and I LOVED the light and fluffiness that the carbonation in the beer caused, but there was such a hint of sourness it made me nervous.  But it baked out and the cupcakes were a rich chocolatey flavor that had a slight hint of the sour beer-- absolutely perfect!

The icing I made was a mixed berry fruit icing.  I actually used the same recipe from the hunger games cupcakes and substituted a mixed fruit jelly for the blood orange marmalade.   I went with one that had "forest berries" (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries) since so many had a slightly tart flavor.   I will be honest, I thought it was AWESOME.   And the icing and cake were the perfect complements to one another.    Even my mom thought it was great and she doesn't normally do desserts.  I got so many compliments while at Dogfish.    I would definitely make them again!  Plus they are pink and perfect to help support Russian River's favorite cause!
Consecration Cupcakes

Russian River Cupcakes
Makes 24

For the cupcakes
  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Consecration Ale by Russian River Brewing Company
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line cupcake pans with cupcake liners. (I used pink to support breast cancer!)
  2. Melt the chocolate using either a double boiler or in the microwave on 50% heat.
  3. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar.
  4. Add in the eggs 1 at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  5. Sift together the coca powder, flour, baking powder and salt. Fully mix it into the butter mixture.
  6. Then add in half of the chocolate mixture and half of the beer, stir a few times. Then add in the remaining chocolate mixture and beer, stir until combined.
  7. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3rds of the way full and bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool
For the icing
  • 4-1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2-1/4sticks butter
  • 4 Tbsp mixed berry jelly
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  1. Cream butter until light and fluffy
  2. Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix until thoroughly combined
  3. Add in jelly and vanilla and mix thoroughly.  The icing will be pinkish, but you can always add food coloring to make it pinker
  4. Ice and decorate as desired.
Cupcakes adapted from We are Not Martha
Icing adapted from Vegan Yack Attack

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