Last weekend I had the apartment all to myself for a three day weekend! How did I spend the last weekend of summer? Going to the beach? Brunching outside? No! I was planning for FALL. I wanted to find a paring that still works for the end of summer but reminds everyone what the best season is, and that my friends, is Fall.
I'm a massive fan of Molly Yeh's blog (and omg her instagram!) so I was so excited to see her most recent post was for butter-based vanilla cupcakes. I ran to the store to grab the ingredients I didn't already have on hand - European butter and refined coconut oil. I'm super skeptical of coconut oil but she explains why you need it in the post so I was ready to give it a try.
While my cupcakes were cooling it was time for me to dig out a perfect pairing (or three!) for these delightful, moist mini-cakes. I found four styles that I wanted to give a try and put them in the freezer to cool. Then it was time for frosting with the vanilla buttercream.
I picked my ugliest cupcakes to try with the beers - milk stout, witbier, Belgian golden strong, and pumpkin beer - to make sure the pairing in my head worked in my mouth. And I'll tell you what, no one is perfect! ha! I thought the Belgian golden strong would cut through the butter fat and sweetness of the cupcake and make everything lighter but uhhh....it didn't. The carbonation just flattened everything out didn't give me that rich dessert bite I was going for.
But I have three awesome pairings and here's why they work.
Suggested Beers: Left Hand Milk Stout, Stone Coffee Milk Stout
These cupcakes are rich and moist and sweeeeet. Buttercream, it's sweet you guys. The little bit of roast in these milk stouts is just enough to cut through some of that sweet buttery-ness happening without turning your experience bitter. The roasted notes also elevate some of the vanilla flavors in both the cupcake and the buttercream. The underlying sweet backbone of a milk stout is why this style beats out porter for a cupcake pairing.
Suggested Beers: Hoegaarden White, Avery White Rascal
Vanilla is the perfect match for the orange peel and coriander in a witbier. The fruitiness of a witbeir adds another interesting flavor to your dessert course (or afternoon snack, I'm not telling you when to eat a cupcake 😜) but still really lets the buttery elements of the cake shine. Think a tinyyyy squeeze of orange mixed into the buttercream and a refreshing zing of carbonation after each bite! The perfect pair for the end of summer when you can eat your cupcakes outside without sweating.
Pumpkin Beer (Especially Lighter Ones!)
Suggested Beers: Uinta Punk'n, Riverhorse Hipp-O-Lantern
This is my favorite, my guilty pleasure, the secret reason I picked these cupcakes for my baking excursion. Pumpkin beer + butter + vanilla = pumpkin pie but BETTER. The spices in a pumpkin beer pair with these lusciousness created by butterfat and coconut oil in the cupcakes on a way that can make even the strongest summer-lover excited about fall. I'm telling you, even if you can't make these cupcakes, try a pumpkin beer with a vanilla dessert, you're going to LOVE It.
What other desserts are you guys making to kick off the fall season? Anything from Molly's blog? Find me on twitter @beerswithmandy and let me know :)