Guinness Gingerbread Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting ~ I’m excited for every new cupcake, being an easily excitable person aside, this one is going to hijack your tastebuds and sabotage your waistline. You’ve been warned.
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it will smell like Christmas when these are baking. All the spices merry well-together producing the best scent. Along with that, the mocha notes of the roasted barley in the Guinness Draught Beer gives the cupcakes the complexity to balance out the spices. To finish things off is a brown butter frosting—it has all the salty and caramel-nuttiness to pull everything together into a delicious bite. I’m going to insist that you don’t riff or deviate on the frosting. It elevates the cupcakes better than any other flavor combo.
If you aren’t familiar with the magical flavors of brown butter, it’s a must do. Throw some unsalted butter in a pan, cook it until the milk solids turn a nice deep brown color, then pull it off the heat. Pour it into a heat-proof container, let it cool and store it in the fridge to use for all kinds of things like frying an egg, to sautéing vegetables to making this frosting.
Now that we have dessert handled for the holidays, I need your help. Who has suggestions for pre-teen gifts? I’m at a total lost this year, I certainly don’t want to wrap a bunch of gift cards.
A few notes, before you get started on the recipe:
- Follow the directions and make the brown butter first. This gives it time to cool and solidify. Make sure you are not distracted while you make it. The milk solids quickly go from browned to burnt in a nano-second. Use any pan, but a non-stick one. This will give you the added visual aide to know when the brown butter is ready. When you are done, be sure not to leave the brown bits behind in the pan—that’s where all the best flavor is.
- For the beer, don’t skimp, use only Guinness Draught beer. Full disclosure, I’m currently partnered with them, but if you are a long time reader, than you know I’ve been using their beer to cook and bake with regularly. Guinness Draught not only balances out the spices in this, but it also helps give the added lift and lightness in terms of texture.
- The sprinkles are from The Bakers Confections shop on Etsy. For the piping I used a Wilton tip #2D and Ateco tip #866.
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Browned Butter Frosting
Yield: Makes 24 cupcakes
For the brown butter:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
For the cupcakes:
- 2 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon all spice
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup Guinness Draught Beer
- 2/3 cup old-fashion molasses
- 1/4 cup honey
For the frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3-4 tablespoons browned butter
To make the brown butter: Place ½ cup of unsalted butter into a skillet. Cook and stir until butter starts to turn golden and the butter solids turn a deep brown (Do not let the butter solids burn. If it does, start over.). The butter will start to smell nutty as it progresses Pour mixture into a heat proof bowl, making sure to scrape up the brown bits for maximum flavor. (NOTE: You will have more than you need for the frosting, so save it for other uses like: sauteeing vegetables to making scrambled eggs.)
To make the cupcakes: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffing tins with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking soda; set aside. In a second bowl whisk together olive oil, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Add egg and beat until well combined. Pour in Guinness Stout, molasses and honey, whisk until well combined. Add dry mixture to wet mixture, whisk until well combined and batter is lump free, about two minutes.
Evenly divide batter between 24 cupcake liners. Bake until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed in the center, about 17 minutes.
To make the frosting: In a stand mixer bowl, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy about 2 minutes. Turn off mixer and add in one 1 cup of powdered sugar, mix on low until just combined, then increase the speed to high until most of the powdered sugar is absorbed. Repeat twice more with the remaining two cups of powdered sugar. Add milk, vanilla extract and brown butter, beat until well combined and creamy. Add additional tablespoons of milk as needed, if frosting is too stiff.