Cupcakes are delicious. Pliny the Elder is delicious. Put them together and you’ve got the makings of some seriously delicious treats that are perfect for your next beer-tasting, or just when getting together with some friends.
The base for the recipe is by Bess Dougherty from the excellent Colorado-based beer site Denver off the Wagon: IPA Cupcakes with Lavender Honey Frosting. The recipe calls for 8oz of “your favorite IPA” but since these were getting baked for the inaugural meeting of the LA Beer Bloggers Summit we decided that not any old IPA would do.
The bitterness of the IPA was very prominent in the raw batter, but once cooked the bitterness is almost completely masked by the cake’s sweetness. The malt body of the beer adds a richness and depth to the cakes, and the texture is dense without being heavy. The cakes are paired with a marvelous honey and lavender buttercream icing that is easy to whip-up, and it really brings another dimension to the cakes.
After our initial test batch we made some modifications to the original recipe; our version is below:
Makes about 24 small cupcakes
- 2 1/3 cup flour
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 stick butter – salted (add a 1/2 tsp salt if using unsalted butter)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 TBS milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8oz Pliny the Elder Double IPA (or your favorite IPA)
In a stand mixer, cream together room temperature butter with the sugar on medium speed until light and smooth. Add the first egg and wait until fully combined before adding the second egg. Next add the milk and vanilla, then turn the mixer down to medium-low and slowly add the flour in stages, scraping down the bowl as needed. Slowly pour in the beer, mixing until the batter just comes together. You don’t want any big lumps still in the batter, but you don’t want to work-out all the bubbles in the beer as they provide the leavening in the cake.
Once the batter had come together transfer it into paper-lined muffin tins and bake at 375° for about 20 minutes. Turn them once in the oven half-way through. They are done when a tooth-pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes fully before frosting.
Lavender & Honey Icing:
- 2 sticks butter, salted. (add 1/2 tsp of salt to the recipe if using unsalted butter)
- 3 cups powdered confectioners sugar
- 1 TBS honey – The honey flavor is quite intense and you have some room to play with different honey flavors here. We like sage honey for its potent earthiness, though orange blossom honey pairs very nicely with the IPA as well. Use the good stuff here!
- 1 1/2 – 2 TBS dried lavender blossoms (Whole Foods or other markets should carry this. You can also substitute 100% lavender teabags: use 3)
- 4 TBS hot water
Steep the lavender buds or tea bags in the hot water for 20-30 minutes then strain and set aside. Cream the butter in your mixer on med-high until it is light and fluffy. Add the honey and combine fully. Reduce the speed to medium low and slowly add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until the frosting is homogenous and well-combined. If it gets too dry and begins to form a ball drizzle some of the lavender tea in to moisten. Add any liquid that remains once you’ve added all the sugar and increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip the frosting until very well combined, smooth, and light.
Frost the cupcakes and refrigerate until the icing has set. Then set them out and see how long they last. If you want to go the extra mile, sprinkle some lavender-colored sprinkles, jimmies, or decorative sugar on the icing before it has set. This gives the cupcakes a visual hint at the massive lavender flavor that they contain!
There is a lot of room to play with different favor combinations between which IPA you use and which type of honey you make the icing with. The original recipe writer used Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo, and our next batch will use orange-blossom honey and Hangar 24′s Essence DIPA to emphasize the citrus flavors. Elysian Brewing’s Avatar Jasmin IPA would be an interesting choice that we’d love to try as well!
What other IPAs would you like to try in cupcake-form? Let us know if you try out the recipe!
- Source: Denver off the Waggon – IPA Cupcakes with Lavender Honey Frosting