Sweet Baby Jesus! Cupcakes

I don’t like beer.  I never have.  But I needed beer for a party that The Missus and I were throwing, so I found myself in Dominion Wine & Beer asking the knowledgable clerks what I should buy.  One of them spoke about Sweet Baby Jesus! as though it was dessert in a bottle: decadent, creamy, sweet, rich. Basically, the perfect beer for people who don’t like beer.

I’d seen Sweet Baby Jesus before, but I didn’t know that it was a Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter (whatever that is); I just thought it had a great name. So after hearing the description and seeing that the store had but one single bottle available in their mix-and-match case, I decided to give it a shot.

I still don’t like beer. Not even this one. I also don’t like being wasteful, so put my noggin to work and tried to figure out what I could do with the leftovers. It didn’t take long to think of cupcakes. I mean, it’s not as though I can make my own Reese’s Cups, at least not with beer. Any how, I broke out my baker’s spreadsheet, pulled up the cupcake tab, and got to tinkering. The result was an incredibly rich but not terribly sweet chocolate cake with just a hint of peanut butter flavor. Just a hint of peanut butter just won’t do. Peanut butter frosting to the rescue!

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The end product was guinea pigged by guests at my housewarming party. Bold decision or calculated risk? Regardless, they were a hit! A bunch of guests asked for (demanded, even) the recipe. Hence the rush to write this, despite a paucity of photos. So without further ado, here’s the recipe.

 

Sweet Baby Jesus! Cupcakes

Ingredients

Makes one dozen jumbo cupcakes or 18 regular cupcakes

Cake

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  • 3/4 cup (1 & 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup Sweet Baby Jesus!, room temperature, flat
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (full fat), room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • Simple syrup (optional, for brushing)

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted to remove lumps
  • 1 tablespoon milk (optional, for thicker frosting)
  • Miniature Reese’s cups (optional, for decorating)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter and cocoa powder until smooth.
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  2. Whisk Sweet Baby Jesus into butter–cocoa mixture.
  3. Using an electric mixer (I prefer my KitchenAid, but a hand mixer will do), beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until completely free of lumps.
  4. Add in the cooled chocolate mixture and blend on low speed until just combined.
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  5. Whisk together dry ingredients and add to the mixer. Beat on medium-low speed until just combined, scraping down the bowl at least once.
  6. Divide batter evenly among baking cups, filling each about two-thirds. Don’t overfill or you’ll end up with muffins that won’t frost easily!
  7. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center cupcake comes out clean. Unless you know that your oven heats evenly, rotate the trays once during baking.
  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack, then brush the tops with simple syrup to lock in moisture.

While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting as follows.

  1. With an electric mixer, beat butter and peanut butter on medium speed until fully combined.
  2. Gradually add sugar and beat until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.
  3. Beat in milk if desired.
  4. If you get any frosting on your hands, try not to lick your fingers (unless you’ll wash them before handling the cupcakes)

When it’s time to frost the cupcakes, don’t go overboard. The frosting is even richer than the cake, and too much of it makes for an imbalanced treat. I frosted just to the brim of the baking cup, then perched a mini Reese’s cup on top for good measure.

I hope you like them as much as my guests did. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments, and don’t be afraid to share!