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!

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The Highlight Reel: 15-21 February

To lamely paraphrase lame philosophers everywhere, “when a snow day falls on a holiday, is it really a snow day?” Regardless of how you choose to answer that question, when it happens, I feel like we should get the following day off, just for good measure. Who’s with me?! Yes, Monday was President’s Day, and we in the DC area awoke to a couple inches of snow and the prospect of not being able to go anywhere because no one in this area knows how to drive in moderately inclement weather. At least it wasn’t another Snowzilla.

Life

Would you believe it if I told you that we had more projects to do around the house? This time, repainting and wallpapering a bathroom.  On that subject, when you move a washing machine to paint behind it, is that OCD or just being thorough?  Regardless, attention to detail is important, amiright?

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Booze

Our halfhearted plans for a Grammy Awards drinking game were basically put to rest by the paucity of awards actually given out during the broadcast. Looking up who won this or that award before the ceremonies is decidedly anticlimactic and would also lead to consuming large quantities of alcohol very quickly, which was never the intent. So instead, just good whisky for me during that glorified music festival.

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Yamazaki 18 Japanese Single Malt Whisky

While the Grammy festival may have been a dud, our own housewarming party was a resounding success.  We made a batched cocktail inspired by this gin-elderflower-strawberry concoction that was so popular it required a second batch.  Recipe coming soon!

Food

One pot chicken lo mein might just have the best flavor-to-difficulty ratio of anything we’ve ever made. Just throw everything in a pot and wait? It’s a veritable epiphany! What’s more, the concept is so versatile that it’s sure to be the basis of many meals and recipes to come.

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One Pot Wonder Chicken Lo Mein | Photo & Recipe: The Wholesome Dish

A party at our place means baked goods, and even though most of our guests were unaware of that, I couldn’t let them down. To that end, oatmeal raisin cookies and a brand new cupcake creation.  And let’s not forget the homemade hummus, a charcuterie spread, and chili lime drumsticks.

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Oatmeal raisin cookies

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Where cupcakes come from

Recipe posts are already in the works, so stay tuned!

[UPDATE] Sweet Baby Jesus! cupcakes recipe is live!

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Fitness

After suffering from serious fatigue issues a few times recently, I decided it was time to change up my routine a bit. I didn’t so much change what I was doing as the order in which I was doing it, building in more recovery time between hard efforts and worrying less about “filler” workouts.  It largely paid off.  I hit a recent squat PR, and I continue to get faster on interval and tempo runs.  My long run didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, but not every workout can be a winner, and it’s important to always focus on the big picture.

Interwebs of Intrigue

New “feature” this week: A list of stories/videos that caught my attention over the the past seven days, generally but not always related to the theme of this blog.

See you next week!