Friday, September 16, 2011

Pumpkin + Beer + Cupcakes = Is it Fall yet?!

My absolute favorite season is right around the corner! The season of scarves, crunch leaves under your feet, warm coffee beverages, and pumpkin flavored everything... Yes, I am talking about FALL!

One of my favorite things about this season (besides the aforementioned items) is Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. Well, that was before I got pregnant. Now I just get to enjoy watching my hubby drink it. But that doesn't mean I can't bake with it! ;)

I created a heavenly delicious fall inspired cupcake using Punkin Ale. It may just be my new favorite cupcake.

The Punkin Ale Cupcake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting! Last year I tried to make these and I put the pumpkin puree in the cupcake, but it completely took over the beer flavor. So I modified my recipe this season and it's a million times better. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

  Punkin Ale Cupcake (makes 24) 
1 cup Punkin Ale (this can be substituted with any pumpkin flavored beer you can find or like!)
1 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar (for beer/butter mixture)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup brown sugar (for finished cupcake batter)
ground cinnamon, to taste
ground nutmeg, to taste

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake trays. You can make normal or mini-sized cupcakes.
2. Chop the butter into squares, doesn't have to be perfect it just helps it melt faster, and throw them into a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the Punkin Ale and let it come to a simmer (this helps cook off the alcohol, but not the delicious beer flavor).
3. As the butter and beer are simmering, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
4. After the butter and Beer have simmered, remove from heat and add the brown sugar. Let this cool for a minute.
5. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sour cream together with an electric mixer until smooth. Combine this mixture with the cooled butter and beer concoction.
6. Combine the butter/beer/brown sugar goodness into the bowl of dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt) you have set aside. Gently stir until all is combined.
7. To bring out the flavors in the beer, I added a touch of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg to the batter.
8. Finally, I wanted my cupcakes a little sweeter, so I added another 1/4 cup brown sugar to the batter. This is optional and depends on how sweet you want them.
9. Fill your cupcake trays, each cup should be 3/4 of the way full.
10. Bake the cupcakes for 15 minutes.
11. Allow the cupcakes to cool before frosting them!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8oz package cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners sugar

1. In a mixer, beat the cream cheese, pumpkin puree, butter, orange juice, and vanilla extract together.
2. Add in the confectioners sugar one cup at a time.
3. Once everything is mixed together and thickened it is ready to go on top of your cupcakes!
4. I added a sprinkle of cinnamon on top of the cupcakes once they were frosted. Totally optional.