Monday, February 4, 2013

Hefeweizen Cupcakes

It's been my tradition (does two years constitute a tradition?) to bake up alcohol-laced cupcakes for our friend's Super Bowl party.  Last year I made Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, which were a huge hit.  Since I'd already used a dark beer for a cupcake, I wanted to give a lighter beer a shot.

I've seen this Hefeweizen cupcake recipe on the The Cupcake Project blog for awhile, and thought this would be the perfect recipe to try.

As I'm not much of a beer person (wine is more of my thing), I left the beer choice up to the husband, and he chose Widmer Brothers, a regional beer.  Typically, a wheat beer is paired with lemon, so I ran with that.

The cake itself is different than any I've made before, but I really like the texture.  It's very light, and sponge-like, and not crumbly like some cake.  And the taste was spot on!  Again, light, with a slight lemon flavor and the beer lent a very subtle yeasty flavor.

This cake is light enough that it would also be perfect for any summer barbeques, so keep the recipe handy for July!

 The blogger on The Cupcake Project has made clear that she doesn't like buttercreams, so she paired it with a glaze.  I, however, love buttercream, so I tweaked a recipe I found on Epicurious.

For flavoring, I used a bit of fresh lemon juice and touch of vanilla.  The frosting was smooth, creamy, with a subtle flavor and it wasn't too sweet.  I'd been looking for a go-to buttercream, and this one is it!  It's versatile, easy, and tasty.

You're wondering, of course, if the cupcakes were well-received at the party.  I can happily report that we came home with an empty cupcake carrier, so I'd say they were a rousing success!

Hefeweizen Cupcakes
(from The Cupcake Project/Beantown Baker)
Makes 18 cupcakes

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil
zest of one large lemon
6 Tbsp milk
2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Hefeweizen or other wheat beer

In a large mixing bowl, whip egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gradually mix in the sugar.  Mix in baking powder, baking soda, vegetable oil, zest, and milk.  Mix in half of the flour, combine.  Then pour in beer and combine.  Add in remaining flour.

Prepare cupcake pans with liners and fill 3/4 full.  (They don't raise very much)  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.

Remove from pan and let cool on cooling racks.  Frost only when they're room temperature.

Lemon Buttercream
(from Epicurious)
Makes ~  2.5 cups

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, like Crisco
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp meringue powder
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (more if you desire, to desired flavor and texture - for other flavors, use water, milk, liqueur, etc)
Additional decoration - I used lemon zest

Cream shortening and butter.  Add vanilla extract (or other flavoring if you desire) and salt.  Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time.  Add meringue powder.  (The mixture will appear dry.)

Add liquid of choice and beat until light and fluffy (approximately 5 to 8 minutes).  Keep the bowl covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap.
Storage: Store the icing in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.


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