Powder Keg: Strawberry saison cupcakes make taste buds happy
Strawberry Saison Cupcakes
(This recipe consists of three parts: the cupcake, the frosting and the strawberry sauce. Read entire recipe before beginning.)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoons salt
½ cup unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup Pyramid Strawberry Blonde Saison
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Once butter and sugar are creamed, add eggs, and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir half of the dry mix and the milk into the butter, sugar and egg mixture. Stir in the other half of the dry mix and the beer. Add vanilla, and stir.
Line cupcake tins with paper liners. Spray liners generously with cooking spray. Fill each liner about ¾ full, and bake for about 15 minutes; cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes before frosting.
(The frosting consists of two parts, the base and the sauce.)
½ cup water
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup Pyramid Strawberry Blonde Saison
1 pound strawberries, chopped
Finely chop strawberries or pulse a few times in a food processor until finely chopped. Cook all ingredients in a saucepan on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes. More cook time may be required. Sauce is done when the strawberries are cooked down to a thick sauce. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
¾ cup unsalted butter
2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup cream cheese
1 cup strawberry sauce (see recipe above)
With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in the cream cheese, followed by the strawberry sauce. Extra strawberry sauce can be added as desired to taste.
Frost cupcakes as desired.
Makes about 18 cupcakes.
Recipe provided by Pyramid Breweries, with some small adjustments by Krista Driscoll.
Pyramid’s Honey Bock is nothing fancy
Pyramid Breweries’ Honey Bock
ABV: 4.9 percent
While waiting for the strawberry saison cupcakes to finish in the oven, I poured myself a glass of one of Pyramid Breweries’ other beers — the Honey Bock. Bocks are traditionally springtime beers, and generally tend to be a bit stronger in alcohol by volume than your typical lager.
The Honey Bock, however, doesn’t quite follow this profile. Clocking in at 4.9 percent ABV, it doesn’t pack much of a punch, though that means it won’t sneak up on you later, either.
It pours a tawny golden color into the glass, with about an average head of foam. First taste brings up some slight floral hops and an even slighter taste of honey, just barely brushing the taste buds.
As with most Pyramid brews I’ve tasted, this one is fairly middle-of-the-road. It’s just the thing if you’re looking for a basic lager with a less malty profile than usual, and the tiniest hint of sweet honey.
— Jessica Smith
Many larger craft breweries are starting to keep chefs on retainer to come up with inventive recipes that incorporate or pair well with their beers. In honor of Seattle-based Pyramid Breweries celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, we thought we would try out a recipe sent to us by the brewery that features their Strawberry Blonde Saison spring seasonal. This most recent project that co-Powder Kegger Jessica Smith and I tackled had a few frustrating moments, but the result was oh, so worth it.
I wasn’t sure whether the chef at Pyramid had taken into account the fact that I would be baking these cupcakes at 9,600 feet above sea level, but we were about to find out.
I popped the top on the nearest saison and encountered the first hurdle. The beer started foaming like crazy out of the bottle and kept foaming as I attempted to pour it into the measuring cup. Seeing as I’ve poured thousands of beers in my life, I tend to think I have a pretty good handle on how to get it from bottle to glass without an overabundance of head, but this was just impossible. I let it settle while I mixed together the other ingredients, coming back occasionally to pour more beer into the cup.
The cupcake batter came together really quickly and easily without any additional hiccups, so I rewarded myself by drinking the rest of the bottle of saison. The instructions said to use a cooking spray directly on the pan, rather than using cupcake liners, so I complied. There wasn’t any indication how much these puppies would rise or how many cupcakes the recipe was supposed to make, so I experimented, filling some of the cups half full, some three-quarters and some completely to the top.
I baked them for the indicated amount of time and let them cool a bit before trying to remove them from the pan. With some struggle, I was able to scoop most of them out intact with a small rubber spatula. The cupcakes were sticky from all of the sugar but still fluffy and airy, like an angel food cake, probably from all of the air bubbles caused by the foam in the beer. They didn’t puff up much from their original poured size or, more likely, they puffed up and then flattened again due to the altitude.
The cupcakes were an overall success, but the frosting was another story. The frosting came together in two steps, a sauce and a base. The original recipe called for 2 cups of water, plus another cup of beer, in which to cook the strawberries. This proved to be way too much liquid, so instead of having a thick sauce when I was done, I had a bunch of cooked strawberry pieces floating around in almost three cups of water and beer.
I wasn’t patient enough to wait around for the liquid to cook off, and my strawberries were still mostly whole, so I thought I could solve the whole problem by throwing everything into a blender. Big. Mistake. I forgot to take into account how foamy the beer was, and the whole thing sort of exploded and burned the hell out of my hand.
The best way to soothe a burn is to put something cold on it, and opted to have that cold thing be another bottle of beer. Jessica was rightfully laughing at me at this point because I was covered in strawberry goo and juggling another crazily foaming beer. I put all the pureed bits back into the pot and kept it on low heat, hoping it would thicken up.
The other half of the equation, the frosting base, was much easier, as it’s a pretty simple cream-cheese frosting. I mixed it together and then added a cup of my still-runny strawberry sauce. The result was way too thin, so I added more confectioners’ sugar (a fancy and totally unnecessary name for powdered sugar) to thicken it up.
I quickly frosted the cupcakes, piling the icing in the center and watching it ooze to the edges. We ate our saccharine snacks over the sink, the still-too-thin frosting dripping over our fingers. And right when I started to think that the whole thing had been a borderline disaster, we both paused. These cupcakes were really, really freaking good. The beer made the cake super moist and added just a touch of sophistication to the frosting, and loosely covered with foil in a pan, the cupcakes were just as sticky and delicious a day later.
I guess we’ll call this one a win after all.
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