Beer & Pretzel Cupcakes

Beer and Pretzel cupcakes- fork required. I know it may sound like an odd coupling, but it’s really such an awesome combination. The pretzels give the whole ensemble a saltiness that balances the rich chocolate ganache frosting and also provides a nice crunch to the softness of the cupcake crumb.


Beer & Pretzel Cupcakes


If you are not a beer fan you can easily flip these to be chocolate and caramel pretzel cupcakes (see notes). And of course you don’t have to take the time to chop the pretzels into shards like I did. I just love it like that because they look dramatic.

The first few that I made were simply piped and finished like the Toffee Crunch Cupcakes from here, but that didn’t seem like enough pretzels to me, so I ended up with what you see here. This way the chocolate and caramel pretzel seems so much stronger and you can pick off a few of the shards to enjoy before diving into the cupcake portion.

A few notes:

  • To make this non-alcoholic, replace the beer with hot coffee.
  • For the frosting I used my chocolate ganache recipe for a stronger chocolate flavor, but any frosting will work so use your preferred frosting if the ganache frosting is too heavy for you.
  • To keep things simple spread frosting on top of cupcake and sprinkle with crushed pretzels.

Beer & Pretzel Cupcakes

Preparation: Makes 12 cupcakes | Preparation: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.


Cupcake (adapted from Alice Medrich)

  • 1 cup (4.5 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7.3 ounces) sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) SCHARFFEN BERGER Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Guinness Stout

Ganache Frosting

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 14 oz. chocolate, chopped

Pretzel Topping

  • 12 pretzel sticks
  • 2 oz chocolate, melted
  • 2 oz caramel, warmed


  1. Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and mix thoroughly to combine. Add in the butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for one minute. Add 1/4 cup of the  beer into the mixture and beat for 20 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add remaining beer. Beat for 20-30 seconds until the batter is smooth. The batter will be thin enough to pour. Divide it evenly among the lined cups. Bake 18-22 minutes just until a toothpick inserted into a few of the cupcakes comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Frost the cupcakes when they are completely cool.

TIP: For light tender cupcakes, spoon flour and cocoa lightly into measuring cups (instead of dipping the cups into the flour or cocoa) and then sweep the measures level without tapping or shaking them.

To make ganache frosting

  1. Bring heavy cream, butter and vegetable oil to a light boil. Pour hot heavy cream mixture over chocolate. Using a spatula gently fold chocolate through heavy cream until well combined. Set aside to cool for at least an two hours or until frosting consistency is acheived. Frosting will thicken as sits.


  1. Pipe frosting on top of cooled cupcake. Cut pretzels into shards and place on top of cupcakes. Drizzle chocoalate and caramel on top.


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  1. says

    Those look amazing, but I’m wondering… how do you eat them?? I see pretzel mouth splinters happening there. Although, who cares, because these are seriously awesome!


    • Naomi replied: — June 28th, 2012 @ 2:12 am

      Natasha-How to eat? Well ur best off picking a few shards off to eat like a snack then you will definitely need a plate and fork. :)


  2. says

    Naomi, these cupcakes are gorgeous! Love the dramatic shards of pretzel. I don’t usually get too excited about desserts, until I come to your blog! Totally want to make these! Your photos are effortlessly beautiful.. when I grow up, I want to photograph food like you do.


  3. says

    The perfect non-frilly cupcake that manly-men don’t have to be embarrassed about loving. :) It’s still summer but i’m always thinking about football, tailgating, and gameday parties!


  4. Laura says

    What an interesting combination, and just in time for my boyfriend’s birthday. A mixture of drinks, snacks and birthday cake all in one – just the right way to celebrate!


  5. says

    Another inspired creation – I’m featuring this in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and I always love dropping by to see what you’ve created…


  6. says

    I started yelling profanities in my office when I saw these. WOW!!! They look soooooo amazing.. I can’t wait to get off work and stop by the store to get all the ingredients. WELL DONE!!!


  7. says

    Oh my gosh…these are STUNNING!!! You just have a “way” with food!

    PS…guess what is on my blog right now? Beer & pretzel cupcakes. Not stunning. But, I can take solace in “great minds think alike?” Right? right?


  8. linda says

    Wish the recipe stated how many ounces of beer rather than just “half”. Also instructions kind of confusing:
    I take it you mean in a “separate bowl” beat the three ingredience and then add to dry mixture. Could be stated better for clarification.


    • Naomi replied: — July 1st, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

      Hi Linda- Thanks for letting me know. I updated the recipe for clarification.


  9. says

    What interesting cupcakes. Are they really still alcoholic once they’ve been baked though? I’ve made a number of baked goods with alcohol in them and it always cooks off in the oven.


    • Naomi replied: — July 2nd, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

      Mara-Yes, the taste of the stout is still in there.


  10. Uyen says

    This is a great recipe and I love the contrast of crunchy and soft, and sweet and salty. In my OCD nature, I tried my best to make them look as beautiful as this post but it’s a bit tedious. Plus, as I broke up the pretzel pieces they started to stale quickly. I will definitely try these again with just a few mods. :]


  11. Gina says

    The recipe was a hit and was quite easy to make. I made them for a beer-loving friend’s birthday and for my work-friends. I used store bought semi-sweet chocolate frosting and added a peanut butter coated pretzel on each cupcake.


  12. Ashley says

    These look amazing, and I am already looking forward to making these for football season! Only thing- I am not a Guinness fan. Can we use a different beer without disturbing the flavors too much?


  13. Kimberly says

    I made these today. I doubled the recipe but only got 21 cupcakes. I did some high-altitude adjustments, as I live in Colorado. Keeping in mind that I doubled the recipe, I used only 2 cups of sugar, 1/2 tsp. of baking soda, and baked at 365 for 15 minutes. I also replaced the Guinness Stout with a chocolate stout, which I always do in chocolate cupcakes that call for Guinness (chocolate stouts are less bitter). I had plenty of ganache leftover, so next time will only make a recipe and a half of ganache, rather than doubling it.



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