It's time for me to play blogging catch up again, and I am going to really do it this time! I've been having tons of fun creating new recipes for brewery anniversary celebrations, working to get my Craft Beer Cake Mix in retail locations, and just running this business.
So, rather than try to have a purpose behind each blog entry (which for some reason I really feel the need to do), I'm going to write about my experiences in running this business, and try to make a point to share a recipe with each one.
To start off, I want to wish a belated Happy Anniversary to Benchmark Brewery!! - Yeah, that was back in June.... so I'm a few months off. But anyways... if you haven't checked this place out, then you are definitely missing out. I haven't met everyone yet, but Matt and Rachael are adorable, and really love what they do... and you can taste it!
Matt was the head brewer at AleSmith, which was one of the first breweries I personally fell in love with. And is probably a large reason why he has a Wee Heavy offered at his brewery now. I love Scotch Ale and feel that they are one of the more flavor beer styles to cook with... and they usually pack a punch, so you you can drink the rest and still get a decent buzz. ;)
For their Anniversary Matt brewed up the SAN DIEGO 71 IIPA - This well balanced IIPA’s 9.1%ABV can sneak up on you. Piney and fresh with an aroma that draws you right in. And it seriously did. It inspired one of my favorite PubCakes in a while. I wanted to do something unique with this beer. It had a citrus to it, but not grapefruity, but not really lime either... and BOOM.
That's when I the pairing hit me, blackberry AND lime. nomnomnom. And, it's fricking gorgeous.
This is recipe also taught me something fricking amazing about Swiss Buttercream. - YOU CAN FREEZE IT. And then bring it back!?!?! Mind completely blown. So what I recommend doing is making a gigantic batch of basic swiss buttercream and then freezing it in smaller batches to revive for your next cupcake craving.
Ok, enough chatting already, I'll get to posting the recipe... I'm sure that cupcake (and the beer) has got you drooling enough already.
Blackberry & Lime IPA Cupcakes
1 package PubCakes Cake Mix - Vanilla Ale Flavor
1/2 cup Benchmark Brewing Co. IIPA (or similar IPA)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted)
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place cupcake liners in muffin pan (12 regular size or 24 mini). In a small bowl, combine melted butter and beer, mix well. In a large bowl, beat egg. Slowly add the beer and butter mixture. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes. Cupcakes are done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan, cool to room temperature, fill, then frost.
Blackberry Lime Swiss Buttercream
First make a Blackberry Lime Sauce
or cheat and use a blackberry jam (I won’t tell)
3/4 c blackberries
2 limes, juice and zest
2 Tb sugar
1/8 c water
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened. Set aside to cool.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
4 egg whites (be sure to use fresh eggs!)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt together in your mixing bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of water and turn the heat on medium low until the water starts to steam - (creating a double boiler). - the water does not (and should not) be boiling.
Whisk frequently to keep the whites from cooking too fast on the sides, but you don’t have to mix the entire time. Aim to get the mixture to at least a 145°. If you don’t have a thermometer, a good trick is to pinch a piece of the mixture between two fingers. If it is still gritty from the sugar, then it isn’t ready yet.
When the mixture is ready, remove from the heat and use the whisk attachment to whip on medium high speed until the mixture has doubled in volume and turned snowy white… you’ve just made meringue! Continue whipping until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch. - As in, no heat whatsoever.
Turn the mixer down to medium-low and begin adding in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. If you didn’t let your meringue cool enough, this is when you’ll find out. Once you’ve added all of the butter, make sure to stop and scrape down the sides for full incorporation.
I would take about 2/3 of that buttercream out and put it in tupperware, then put a freezer bag around that tupperware and FREEZE it for next week’s cupcakes.
Into the remaining 1/3 of the buttercream add your cooled Blackberry Lime Sauce 1/3 at a time, and whip until fully combined. Isn’t that color gorgeous!?!
Once cupcakes have reached room temperature, frost cupcakes with the blackberry lime frosting. Melt some white chocolate and drizzle on top. Finally, I like to zest a little more lime on the top, just for that pop of green. And now you get to drink that beer you had left in the bottle to enjoy WITH your cupcakes. It tastes so much better that way. ;)