Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes – Batch #1

With Autumn just around the corner and pumpkin ales starting to show up in grocery stores and at my local Coop, I decided to preview the season and experiment with making pumpkin ale cupcakes. I took notes as I made the cupcakes to keep track of the recipe. For Batch #1, I used Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale. Although these cupcakes were quite tasty, I have a few tweaks in mind for the next experimental batch.

Recipe notes
Recipe notes

For batch #1, the ingredients I used were:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 and 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 bottle Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale
  • 3 eggs
  • 7oz container 2% Fage Greek yogurt

To replicate this recipe (for anyone who can’t wait for a revised Batch #2 recipe), preheat the oven to 350 degrees and mix together the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.

The Dry Ingredients

In a separate mixing bowl, add the melted butter and let it cool to room temperature. Pour the pumpkin ale into the butter. Mix in the three eggs, one at a time. After mixing in the eggs, add the Greek yogurt and mix until well blended.

Butter and Beer
Melted butter and Pumpkin Ale

Slowly blend the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until a smooth, slightly liquid batter forms.

Pumpkin Ale Cupcake Batter #1
Pumpkin Ale Cupcake Batter

Pour the batter into lined muffin tins, filling each about 3/4 full. I had enough batter to make about 28 cupcakes.

Uncooked Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes
Uncooked Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes

Bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Test the cupcakes by inserting a toothpick into the center of one. If the cupcakes are done, the toothpick will come out clean.

Cooked Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes
Cooked Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes

Let the cupcakes cool to room temperature before topping them with frosting. For Batch #1, Jill make a frosting by mixing a softened 8 oz block of Neufchâtel cheese (reduced fat cream cheese), 1 stick of butter (softened), and a 1lb box of confectioners sugar. As the frosting mixed, she add a couple of shakes of cake spice (a combination of cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves).

Pumpkin Ale Cupcake with Spiced Frosting
Pumpkin Ale Cupcake with Spiced Frosting

Although I am posting this recipe on the blog, the recipe is not perfect. The cupcakes were good, but there are a few things I will do differently in Batch #2. To help elevate the flavor of the cupcake, I will probably add a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the batter. Jill also recommended that I add some canned pumpkin to the mix. For the frosting, I will probably go with a buttercream frosting with some added cinnamon instead of the cream cheese frosting with cake spice. The cake spice was a little too spicy for the cupcake. I opted for Neufchâtel cheese instead of cream cheese, hoping that it would not be as rich. Unfortunately, the texture of the frosting was too gluey, probably because Neufchâtel cheese has a higher moisture content than cream cheese. With some of these modifications, I hope to improve this recipe and share it on the blog soon.

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Jamie Oliver’s Beef and Guinness Stew with Dumplings

Being a long-time fan of Jamie Oliver, I was excited when he published an iPad app. The recipe packs for the app being on sale was an added plus. In the Fast Food, Slow-Cooking recipe pack is a recipe for Beef and Guinness Stew with Dumplings. I used Jill leaving town for a long weekend to volunteer at Camp Boggy Creek as an opportunity to make this delicious beef-filled dinner.

Beef stew
A delicious beef-filled dinner seasoned with bay leaves fresh from my garden

Although the recipe calls for Guinness, I decided to give it an American twist by using Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout from Rogue Ales in Newport, Oregon. I think Rogue Shakespeare is creamier and more chocolatey than Guinness, so I felt it would provide for a richer stew.

Rogue Shakespeare
I used Rogue Shakespeare instead of Guinness

The part of this recipe that I looked forward to the most (perhaps even more than the beef) was the dumplings. I would usually serve beef stew with either rice or mashed potatoes, but the dumplings provided a nice change. Despite being cooked in the stew, the dumplings were light, delicate, and not at all soggy.

Dumplings
Dumplings

The beef stew cooking filled the house with the most amazing aroma. I was pacing back and forth in the kitchen for two hours, waiting for the stew to finish cooking. If the Yankee Candle Company decided to make candle with the scent of this stew, I would buy it and burn it everyday.

Beef stew with dumplings
Beef stew with dumplings

Although I wanted to give in and pull the stew out early to eat, I am glad I waited the full two hours. The thick, hearty stew had a robust stout flavor with tender hunks of beef, velvety portobello mushrooms, and tender dumplings. To complement dinner, I threw together a quick salad with romaine lettuce from my garden.

Romaine lettuce salad
Romaine lettuce with caesar dressing and parmesan

Although I missed Jill while she was out of town, I am glad I had this comfort food (with several meals worth of leftovers) to keep me full while she was gone.