Serendipity – probably my most favorite word. It means a desirable chance discovery; karma, Kismet, happenstance (another good word). I think I would even go so far as to say it’s a delightful chance discovery. Because delighted was exactly how I felt a few weeks ago when I was out running my regular Saturday errands. A Saturday that also happened to be my birthday.
On this particular Saturday, after popping into the dry cleaners, the Target and Trader Joe’s, I had one extra stop: a local establishment called Total Wine & More. Total Wine is to package stores what BJ’s and Costco’s are to grocery stores. A big box store, filled with lots and lots and lots of bottles. I like to refer to it as a candy store for grown-ups. They are guaranteed to carry just about every potent potable imaginable….which comes in handy when your blog is all about cupcakes containing potent potables.
As I often do on my way to pick up the alcoholic ingredient du jour, I passed by the craft beer aisles, just to, you know, see what was new and interesting. It was while I was perusing these shelves, on that lucky birthday Saturday, that I saw it, just sitting there as pretty as could be: Shiner’s Birthday Beer! Birthday Beer! On my birthday! Serendipity indeed.
As it turns out, Shiner’s was celebrating its 106th birthday and crafted a delicious limited-edition chocolate stout to commemorate the occasion. According to the bottle, the birthday beer is available for only a short time. Once it’s gone, we have to wait until next year for another birthday surprise. I wonder what it’ll be?
Mixing beer into my cupcakes has turned out to be one of my most popular ideas, and this chocolate stout Birthday Beer was just crying out to be baked into something. Since it was a spontaneous idea, I took the quick and easy way out by using a chocolate cake mix. I topped it all off with the classic Hershey’s cocoa buttercream frosting from the recipe on the back of the can – truly a never-fail recipe.
The end result? Well, just delightful!
BIRTHDAY BEER CUPCAKES
For these cupcakes I just used the Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil’s Food cake mix and basically swapped out the water with the chocolate stout. If you use a different brand, I would recommend following the directions on the box, simply using the same amount of stout in place of the water called for in the directions.
1 box Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix
1 1/3 cups Shiner’s Birthday Beer
1/2 vegetable oil
Heat over to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners (I usually get about 18 or so cupcakes with the boxed mixes).
Combined cake mix, beer, oil and eggs in large bowl of stand mixer, mixing on low for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 full. Bake for approximately 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks.
HERSHEY’S CLASSIC CHOCOLATE FROSTING
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
(I always add just a pinch of salt)
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Add powdered sugar (and salt) and milk, alternating between the two, beating with an electric mixer at medium speed until desired consistency is reached. Add more milk if needed. Stir in the vanilla. Frost as desired.