Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Imperial Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes

Like so many people, I am absolutely in love with the flavor of pumpkin. Whether you're eating it as a savory or sweet, the rich, creamy, cozy flavor of pumpkin is hard to beat. These Imperial Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes are heavy on that cozy pumpkin flavor, and are also sinfully moist and rich. They're based on a Martha Stewart recipe for pumpkin cupcakes, but have a few differences. These get a hefty dollop of cream cheese frosting to finish them off, along with a drizzle of Imperial Pumpkin Ale Caramel that turns them into pure decadence. For this recipe, I've used a new Pumpkin Ale from one of my favorite local breweries, 10 Barrel Brewing Co., here in Bend. I think Warren, Cinnamon's grandfather and the old beer brewer from my Christmas River series, would heartily approve of these! Just make sure to make the full recipe as they will disappear fast! 

Warren's Imperial Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes
(makes just over 30)

For the Cupcakes
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
2 sticks of unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups of light brown sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of half and half
1 3/4 cups of canned pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices in large bowl. 
In separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at time while mixing. When combined, add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with additions of heavy cream and half and half until all ingredients are combined. Add pumpkin, and beat until just combined. 
Divide batter among lined muffin tins, filling about three-quarters of the way. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 1/2 sticks of butter, room temperature
8 ounces of cream cheese
3 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

With an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add sugar, half a cup at a time, mixing until smooth. Add vanilla. Once cupcakes are cool, spread frosting onto cupcakes. 

For the Pumpkin Ale Caramel:

8 ounces of Imperial Pumpkin Ale or just Pumpkin Ale  (I used 10 Barrel Brewing Co.'s delicious Big Ol' Pumpkin Imperial Ale, which has an ABV of 9.3, but feel free to use whatever seasonal beer you want to, so long as the IBU content isn't huge -- otherwise the caramel will be bitter.)
 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup of heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Heat the pumpkin ale in a medium saucepan and bring to low boil. Cook, uncovered, until reduced by about half. 
Add the butter and brown sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and syrupy -- about 10 to 15 minutes. When it becomes this consistency, stir in the cream. Cook about five minutes more, until thickened. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Let it cool and thicken. Liberally drizzle caramel over frosted cupcakes. 

Pair the finished cupcakes with a cup of hot coffee on a cold October morning and watch the leaves fall.

Happy October!


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