It’s no secret that a lot of the recipes I post here (especially the desserts) are a direct result of something I’m craving. You know, those cravings that just don’t go away until you make the recipe that has been floating around in your head for a few days.
These cupcakes are no different. I had been eying up the Octoberfest beer in the fridge for a few days, and I couldn’t get the idea of a cupcake out of my head. More specifically, I wanted chocolate cupcakes with beer flavored caramel… And pretzels. Pretzels and beer just belong together, right?
Conveniently, I had offered to bring cupcakes to my parents’ house for a family dinner last weekend, so I had a pretty good excuse to satisfy my beer-flavored, caramel-drizzeled, salty and sweet cupcake craving.
First, I made a batch of Octoberfest caramel sauce that started with simmering and reducing a bottle of beer. As I was making the caramel, I came up with a strategy for the cupcakes. I started with a rather basic, but delicious and moist, chocolate cupcake. I wanted the caramel sauce to be the star of the show. To give the cupcakes a double dose of the beer-spiked caramel, I added some caramel to the buttercream frosting and then also drizzled the cupcakes with additional caramel. Topped with a sourdough pretzel nugget, the cupcakes were complete.
I can happily tell you that the cupcakes got nothing but rave reviews from friends, family, and (of course) my hubby… Even if you’re not a beer drinker, I think you will like these cupcakes. The beer adds a layer of flavor to the caramel, but the cupcakes don’t really taste like beer. They are just salty, sweet, and the perfect way to celebrate October, fall, or any other excuse you can think of to make cupcakes!
Makes 24 – 30 cupcakes
(Chocolate cupcake slightly adapted from Taste of Home Baking)
For the cupcakes:
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
For the frosting:
- 1 1/4 cups salted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup Octoberfest caramel sauce
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
To finish the cupcakes:
- 24 – 30 sourdough pretzel nuggets
- Additional caramel sauce for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin pans with cupcake papers and set aside.
Begin by baking the cupcakes. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, making sure the egg is well incorporated into the creamed mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, sea salt, and baking powder. In another small bowl (or liquid measuring cup), whisk together the whole milk and yogurt.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk and yogurt mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir gently to incorporate all of the dry ingredients, but be careful not to over-mix.
Fill the cupcake papers approximately 2/3 full (I found that a 1/4 cup scoop was about the right amount). Bake the cupcakes for approximately 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the caramel sauce and continue to beat until well incorporated into the butter. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating well until the frosting is light and fluffy.
To complete the cupcakes, pipe the frosting (I used a large round tip) onto the cupcakes. Top with a pretzel nugget and drizzle with additional caramel sauce.
(If you do not plan to eat the cupcakes right away, I recommend waiting to add the pretzels and additional caramel so that the pretzels stay fresh.)
Please Note – The link to the Taste of Home Baking cookbook provided in this post is an Amazon affiliate link. If you purchase the cookbook (or another item) after clicking on my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale price, which helps to keep My Kitchen Addiction up and running. Thanks!