I’m sitting in the Green Monster seats at Fenway Park, ice cold Sam Adams in hand, watching my beloved Red Sox trounce the evil Yankees. Everyone has a vision of what heaven will be, this is mine. Yes, I’ve been to Fenway more times than I can count, I was even there for the big 100th anniversary celebration, but I have yet to score Green Monster seats. Someday….someday…
I’ve been ruminating all summer over what kind of cupcake I could make as an homage to the best (and oldest) ballpark in all of America. My favorite cupcake bakery, Kickass Cupcakes in Boston, has a Green Monster cupcake that is to die for. But I wanted something a little more ballpark-ish. Classic ballpark fare like beer, peanuts and caramel-ly Cracker Jacks all came to mind, but would they make a great cupcake? Sure they would.
I kind of assumed Sam Adams would be the official beer of the Boston Red Sox, but I was wrong. Turns out, Narragansett Beer out of Rhode Island used to be the official beer until about 1975. But when I tried to research the current official beer, I hit a dead end. As far as I’m concerned, Sam Adams ought to be the official beer of the Boston Red Sox. I mean, when you think “Boston” and “beer”, Sam Adams is what springs to mind. So that’s what I went with, in the form of the classic Boston Lager.
A visit to the Sam Adams website, http://www.samueladams.com offered up some wicked awesome recipes under the Food & Beer tab. I attempted to make the chocolate cupcake recipe, but it totally flopped. (I suspect there may be a typo in the flour measurement.) But no matter, that’s what mixes are for, right? And besides, their recipe for Boston Lager Caramel Sauce more than makes up for it. It is pure perfection. Truly. The website’s recipe for frosting also inspired what I decided to go with for my Fenway Park cupcakes. And so I was ready – Sam Adams Boston Lager cupcakes, a caramel sauce evocative of Cracker Jacks and a sprinkling of that ballpark staple, freshly roasted peanuts – this is one cupcake that knocks it out of the ballpark.
FENWAY PARK CUPCAKES
Like my other beer-infused cupcakes, I find a box mix works really well. And because the caramel sauce does take a little time, it makes the over-all recipe a little easier. I recommend following the directions on the box, but substituting the amount of water called for with Sam Adams Boston Lager. I used a Betty Crocker mix for these cupcakes and so I’ve listed those ingredients here. Other brands may differ slightly. Makes approx. 18 cupcakes.
1 box chocolate cake mix
1/3 cup oil
1 cup Sam Adams Boston Lager
Combine all ingredients in the large bowl of a stand mixer, Mix on low for 30 seconds, then medium speed for 2 minutes. Fill paper-lined muffin tins about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake. Cool completely.
SAMUEL ADAMS BOSTON LAGER CARAMEL SAUCE
From the recipe found at http://www.samueladams.com
2 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Sam Adams Boston Lager
4 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups heavy cream
In a heavy pan, dissolve the first five ingredients over low heat, stirring constantly. When the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to boil and cook without stirring, until the mixture reaches 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and gently stir in the vanilla. Allow to cool 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly stir in heavy cream until smooth and glossy. Store in the refrigerator.
BOSTON LAGER FROSTING
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 – 5 cups confectioners sugar
2 – 4 tablespoons Sam Adams Boston Lager
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add 3 to 4 cups of sugar, 2 tablespoons lager and vanilla, mixing at low speed until combined and then at high speed until light and fluffy. Add more lager and/or sugar until desired consistency is reached.
Frost cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle cupcakes with chopped peanuts, then drizzle with caramel sauce.