Oktoberfest: Beer Spiced Cupcakes with Sweet Honey Frosting

Sweet Honey Frosting

As Oktoberfest winds down and the baseball playoffs get ready to wind up, I am calling a seventh inning stretch. After looking at my beer topics compared to my beer recipes, I realized I could have skipped this one. So…I’ve got some pictures, some links and that’s about it for this one.

Sweet Honey Frosting

This recipe makes a lot of cake, as in over three  dozen standard-sized cupcakes. I baked small cupcakes, giant cupcakes and cupcakes that were just right. I sense the majority of them will take on new life as cake balls in the near future.

I used Abita’s Pecan Harvest Ale, but with all the spices, I think this cake would also taste great when made with a seasonal pumpkin ale. The Booze Cakes cookbook  lists a few variations as well. For a pound cake, simply omit the spices and use a favorite beer.

It’s nearing Halloween, so you can also make this a Devil’s Food cake. Again, omit the spices and 3/4 cup of flour (use three cups total). Then add in one cup of cocoa powder and one cup of chocolate chips. And of course the whole thing takes on a different taste when a stout is used as the beer.

Sweet Honey Frosting

In my last post, I shared a few Oktoberfest menu ideas. Bon appétit has more ideas listed here. Not into cupcakes as dessert? How does deep fried beer sound?

I created a beer + food board on Pinterest, though right now it is nearly as empty as this space. So tell me, what is your favorite dish to cook with beer?

Sweet Honey Frosting

Short and sweet, but not to worry, the sours are coming.

Beer Spiced Cupcakes with Sweet Honey Frosting
Recipe type: Dessert
  • For the Cake
  • 3¾ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1¼ cup agave syrup*
  • 12 ounces (1 bottle) beer, warm temperature
  • For the Frosting
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3½ - 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • ½ cup beer
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey
  • Mixed nuts for garnish
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  4. Pour in the agave syrup an continue to beat until fully mixed.
  5. Mix in the flour mixture and beer in three alternating additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  6. Pour batter into a paper-lined cupcake pan or 9 x 13 greased pan.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees F for 20-25 minutes for cupcakes; 40-45 minutes for a rectangular cake. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.
  8. While the cake cools, make the frosting.
  9. Cream the butter with one cup confectioners' sugar.
  10. Beat in the beer and the remaining sugar in alternating additions.
  11. When the frosting is light and flurry, stir in the honey.
  12. Frost the cake and top with nuts.
*Original recipe called for honey

Oktoberfest: Lagers, Ales & Huevos Rancheros

Beer Tortillas

Let’s welcome October and the second week of Oktoberfest with a chat about lagers and ales. When I hear the word lager, a light golden beer usually comes to mind. Likewise, I think of an ale as an amber or brown beer. But that does not have to be the case. The true difference between the two styles of beer is the yeast used in the brewing process. Because the grain is not the issue, someone could very well brew a lager or ale of any color.

The yeast used in the lagers requires colder temperatures to ferment than does the yeast used in ales. Lagers also age longer than ales, so their taste is much less robust than that of an ale. So lagers require cold temperatures and more time which result in a milder taste. Ales require warmer temperatures and less time which results in a heftier taste.

I am an expert in exactly zero things, so my goal here is not to pretend I can school you in these beers. I do however hope you now know enough to get a trivia question on the subject right. To watch an actual brewer speak on the subject of ales and lagers, just click here. If you would like to watch a little cartoon about how beer is made, click here.

Beer Tortillas

Since there two beer types discussed in this post, I decided to double up on the beer usage in this huevos rancheros recipe as well. The eggs soaked in a beer solution for a week, and the beer tortillas came from The Beeroness. For all the loveliest beer-meets-food recipes you could ever hope to imagine, you need to check out that blog!

I soaked the eggs for a full week in a solution of white ale, apple cider vinegar, and spices. They were tart! You can always soak them for less time to impart a milder taste. And if you want to keep the eggs as white as possible, use white vinegar. The point to using a white ale is to keep the eggs light, but since I didn’t have white vinegar when I felt like mixing the soaking solution up, I used apple cider vinegar.

Beer Tortillas

I can’t say enough about how good the beer tortillas tasted! I attribute this to the mixture of reserved bacon fat I added to the shortening as well as the beer. Unlike the first time I made homemade tortillas, this time things went a lot better. I was able to roll the dough out thin enough and cook it just long enough so the tortillas remained pliable instead of crisping up.

That said, I still ended up with some very goofy looking tortillas; it took me about half a dozen before I really got the hang of the rolling-cutting-cooking. To keep the tortillas as round as possible, try not to handle the dough but to lift it from the counter and into the skillet. And remember, there is no need to worry if your tortillas are not perfectly round. The goal here isn’t to impress the President, just to get dinner on the table.

Beer Tortillas

As I was assembling the huevos rancheros, I had the wonderful luck of having two separate friends ask if they could stop by. I encouraged their visits, luring in unsuspecting taste testers. My first reaction was, “Hmm, these are sweet.” Both of my friends said the same thing! The cherry salsa I used lent an unexpected sweetness that really countered the tartness of the eggs.

By no means do you need to use a fruit-based salsa for this recipe. It’s simply something to keep in mind. I should also point out huevos rancheros are typically made with eggs cooked over easy or sunny side up. If that is your preference, you can still use the beer tortillas. Or if you are simply interested in the hard boiled eggs, the cookbook they came from suggested serving them with a slice of cheese and tomato. I myself plan to use the remaining eggs in salads or egg salad.

Beer Tortillas

If you are looking to make a complete Oktoberfest dinner, Saveur has an entire menu from soup to dessert available here. Whole Foods also has a number of cooking with beer recipes available at this blog post.

As a reminder, I am basing the beers used in this series off of my experiences at Charlotte’s World of Beer. Any errors, omissions or out-right butcherings of the information our knowledgeable and patient teacher provided and I have re-shared are most definitely my own. Happy October, and happy Oktoberfest!

Huevos Rancheros with Beer Eggs & Beer Tortillas
  • For the Eggs
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 2 cups pale ale
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dill seed
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seed
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • For the Tortillas
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup fat (shortening, etc.)
  • ¾ cup beer, room temperature
  • For the Huevos Rancheros
  • Black Beans
  • Cumin
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Salsa
  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro
  1. To make the eggs, combine all ingredients except the eggs in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
  3. While the beer solution boils, place the peeled and hard-boiled eggs in a glass or plastic (not metal) container.
  4. Pour the hot liquid over the eggs until they are fully submerged.
  5. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate and allow to soak for three to seven days.
  6. To make the tortillas, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.
  7. Add the fat and use your hands to rub it into the flour until it is fully distributed and forms course crumbs.
  8. Slowly pour ¾ of a cup of beer into the flour mixture, mixing with a fork until all of the flour has been moistened. Add additional beer one tablespoon at a time if needed.
  9. Knead until the dough becomes shiny and slightly stiff, about 3-5 minutes. The dough should remain soft; do not overwork.
  10. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap, and allow to rest for 30-60 minutes.
  11. After resting, pull off pieces of the dough about the size of a golf ball.
  12. Form into balls, then roll out very thin on a lightly floured surface.
  13. One at a time, heat the tortillas in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat for about one minute per side. The tortillas should lightly brown, but do not overcook to a crisp.
  14. To assemble the huevos rancheros, mash two tablespoons of beans with a bit of their liquid (or broth) and a sprinkle of cumin.
  15. Spread over a tortilla, then top with cheese and a sliced beer egg.
  16. Place in the skillet, and when the cheese has melted, remove.
  17. Add more beans, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro as desired.
  18. Top with a second tortilla and enjoy.
For the eggs, I used Great Lakes' Holy Moses White Ale, and for the tortillas I used Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale.

Oktoberfest: Dark Beers & Chocolate Porter Bread

Chocolate Stout Bread

As fall moves towards winter and the days get darker, so might your beer of choice. Enter stouts and porters. What is the difference between stouts and porters? Well, there really isn’t one. But there used to be a difference. Or something sort of like that. Let’s take a look back to be sure.

Porters originated in the United Kingdom during the 1700s. They were made with a blending technique known as Three Threads. An old, stale ale forced to mingle with a brown ale and a pale ale resulted in a porter. A strong version of the porter was deemed the stout. Most stouts were destined for export to America or other far-flung destinations.

According to lore, the porter received its name because it was a popular drink among the porters working in Central London during the Industrial Revolution. That is well and grand, but what was it called before it became popular with them? Did it have a name at all, or did a porter just belly up to the bar and ask for a dark beer? I would really like to know.

Chocolate Stout Bread

Today stouts and porters are no longer the product of three different ales, but rather they are brewed using different varieties of malt to lend them flavor and sweetness. Flavor profiles can range from burnt coffee to chocolate, the latter of which makes for excellent use in baking. A milk stout is a variety that is a bit sweeter due to sugars like lactose that are added during the brewing process. Though dark beers may appear brown or black, some like the popular Guinness claim to be dark ruby red.

That pretty much sums up all of my dark beer knowledge. Recognizing it wasn’t much and looking to avoid a remedial course, I asked my accomplice if she remembered anything significant. What came to her mind was dark beers where once popular drinks among athletes and nursing mothers. Why? Because they were calorie dense. But how many calories did they really pack in?

I once heard someone say drinking a Guinness was like drinking a Snickers bar. But at approximately 125 calories, you could really drink two Guinnesses before it amounted to a candy bar. There is a highly informative and entertaining  Beeramid over at HellaWella that lists out the calories found in many popular beers.

Chocolate Stout Bread

Picture this scenario. It’s Saturday night, and you are enjoying a lovely six-pack of dark beer with a few equally lovely friends. Come Sunday morning, there is one lone beer standing. Leaving it alone to suffer in the cold depths of the refrigerator seems almost cruel.

Put it out of its misery and use it to bake a lovely chocolate porter bread. Within 90 minutes, 80 of which are spent baking and cooling, you will have a lovely bread to enjoy for brunch. And if you drank five beers the night before, you’re going to need bread anyway. It’s a win-win.

An alternate scenario calls for baking the bread before your evening get together. It makes for the perfect snack. Leftovers keep well in the freezer.

Chocolate Porter Bread

Looking for something else to do with porters or stouts? Ice cream floats are never a bad idea, and I have few other recipes linked on my Kiss Me, I’m Irish Pinterest board. Want more information? Click on over to CHOW and read, “What’s the Difference Between Stout and Porter?”

And while you are there, please watch an Obsessives video or two. I love them, and I hope you will too. My favorites are the soda pop man and the pickles lady. Interestingly, they do not yet have a beer video up there. So CHOW, call me maybe, I’ve got some people in mind.


4.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Porter Bread
  • 2¾ cups flour
  • ⅓ cup cocoa, sifted to remove lumps
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups (12 ounce bottle) porter or stout
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Create a well within their center and pour in the wet ingredients.
  3. Stir until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 5 loaf pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes before turning out on a cooling rack.*
* I find this to be the most important step in quick-bread recipes. Try to remove the loaf before it is cool enough, and it falls apart. Leave it in the pan until it is completely cool, and then it does not want to come out at all. I used Founder's Porter in this recipe.