Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Goodness.  Since when did a Friday behave like a Monday?  What that we could have all Fridays dawn bright and sunny, and unfold like a circus parade with dancers twirling and flags waving and a big band proclaiming TGIF to the whole world!

If only that were true.

But, what can I say; real life has its hills and valleys.  Or, as we like to say in the archipelago, its high tide and low tide.  So, sometimes Friday, despite its charming reputation, sneaks up on you and throws you every curveball in the book.  Sometimes you come to the end of a Friday tired and spent, with barely enough energy to crawl into bed, much less ring out a resounding "TGIF".

Does this happened to you? If so, you are in good company.  Let’s hug and be friends.  If not, lucky you…send some good juju my way when you’ve got a moment won’t you?

So here’s my plan:  A good sushi dinner with C, with or without a cocktail to go along with it.  Lots of snuggling and feetie-pinching with my little one, no matter how squirmy she gets.  A scalding hot shower.  Crawling into a cave made out of pillows and a squashy duvet.  A brainless but blissful session of Bejeweled.

And if all else fails, never fear, there is always cupcakes.  And Guinness.  And peanut butter.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
(from Donna Hay magazine issue # 50)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) stout beer (I used Guinness)
  • 225 grams butter, chopped
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) cocoa, sifted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup (160 grams) sour cream
  • 2 cups (300 grams) all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, sifted
  • 2 cups (440 grams) caster sugar 
Peanut Butter Frosting (good for about 1 dozen cupcakes):
  • 1 cup (160 grams) confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup (280 grams) smooth peanut butter
  • 80 grams butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) single cream
- Place the stout and butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the butter is melted.  Remove this from the heat and whisk in the cocoa.  Transfer to a big bowl and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and sour cream.  Add this to the stout mixture along with the flour, baking soda, and sugar, and whisk to combine.
- Pour into paper lined cupcake tins until 3/4 full and place in a pre-heated 160C (325F) oven.  Bake for approximately 22-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in its tins for 10 minutes and then remove to cool completely on a wire rack.
- While your cupcakes are baking, or while they are cooling, get on with your frosting.  Place the sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat for 6 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Add the cream and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Spread or pipe the frosting onto the waiting and completely cooled cupcakes.

The original recipe is meant for a loaf cake but I just couldn’t resist cupcakes.  Because really, who can?  If you’d like to go in the original direction just bake in a 21cm x 10cm x 7cm parchment-lined loaf tin for 1 hour 20 minutes (or until done when tested with a skewer).   This made enough for 2 dozen cupcakes (plus a little leftover for a mini loaf pan or you can get a couple more cupcakes out of it as well if you rather).  The frosting, originally meant for a loaf cake, will only be enough for about half your cupcakes.  You can double the frosting recipe, but I had some vanilla frosting in the freezer and I used that (and rainbow sprinkles!) for the remainder instead.

These cupcakes got the seal of approval from practically everyone who tried them.  The sour cream makes for a tender, light, and moist crumb, while the stout gives it a just discernible depth.  The peanut butter frosting, with all its school kid nostalgia, is the perfect complement.  Donna Hay…another reason for me to love you.

Please pardon my griping.  Small beans really compared to everything else.  The rains are gone, the sun actually is shining, and it is the weekend.  Let’s make the most of it!