Cupcakes and Happy Days

It’s funny how the older I get the shorter a year feels. I’m sure it’s just a function of gaining perspective, but it strikes me as odd that when I look back on the past year it seems like it has gone by so fast. So much has happened, and although there have been some rough patches, I have been happier overall than I have been in a long time. I owe much of this happiness to my best friend of four years and partner in crime who, a year ago today, I decided had charmed me sufficiently to agree to be in a relationship with him. It took him asking and me putting him off three times, but it ended up being one of the best things I could have done for myself in 2011. That is what is important to me today, and maybe you will get a restaurant review out of it if the place we go for dinner tonight is any good.

Here’s to many more happy days!

You know what else is happy? Cupcakes.

Here’s the cupcake recipe that I mentioned in last week’s FPF. I created this recipe for another happy day — my roommate’s birthday — because when I asked him what sort of cake he would like, his response was, “Guinness. Duh.” And who am I to refuse the birthday boy? I was very pleased with the recipe and since the cake is vegan* it’s almost healthy if you don’t count the frosting. And if you are vegan, or want dessert without the added calories, this cake is delicious even without a topping. The beer gives the outside of the cake a nice bite in the crust with a tender crumb.

*Guinness is not actually vegan, I was surprised to discover. If you are vegan, you can use Guinness Extra Stout (the only vegan Guinness product) or some other stout/dark beer. You can also replace the beer with leftover brewed coffee! Also, in the interests of clarity, though I figure it is obvious from the name, the frosting is not vegan either :)

Vegan Stout Cake (Cake and Frosting recipes developed by me)
Makes 24 cupcakes / One 9×13 cake / Two 8 inch round layers

The dry:
2.5c flour
1.5c sugar
.5c Cocoa
2tsp baking soda
.5tsp salt

The wet:
2/3c oil
2tbs vinegar
2c Guinness (allow to settle after pouring to ensure accurate measurement before adding to batter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and mix until just combined. There will be a lot of bubbles from the beer and the reaction of the baking soda and vinegar, so it will look odd at first, but mix away! Do not, however use an electric mixer. Bad idea. Also don’t overmix. Once mixed, pour into greased and floured cake pans – either cupcake pans, a 9×13 cake pan, or two 8 inch round pans for a layer cake – and bake for 20 minutes (30-35 for 9×13). Frost with Whiskey-Guinness buttercream, if desired, and stuff your face.

Whiskey-Guinness Buttercream

1/3c butter
3c confectionary sugar
2/3c cocoa powder
1oz Whiskey
1/4c Guinness (enough to reach the proper consistency – not too liquidy)

Break out the electric mixer! Cream butter, cocoa, and whiskey. Add the sugar a little at a time, adding beer halfway through (once the mixture is too thick to beat), until all combined. The frosting should not be runny at all. If it is, add more cocoa powder. Too thick? Add more beer or whiskey. Only add about a teaspoon of extra liquid at a time, though, as it will thin out quickly. Have leftovers after frosting the cake? You can store it in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for a few months. Or just eat it with a spoon.

I know today’s post is a little out of the norm for The First 10,000, so thanks for reading, and I hope you get a chance to try these cupcakes. They would be perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration!

See you Friday with FPF!



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