Guinness gingerbread cupcakes

I got all excited last month about the new blog challenge dreamt up by Janine at Cake of the WeekBaking with Spirit (so excited that I entered it twice…).  Apparently I must come across as a bit of an alcoholic since it turned out that Janine expected my enthusiasm – in the September round-up she admitted/confided that she’d hoped the challenge would be “right up my street.”  For the record, that comment amused me no end – Janine clearly knows me remarkably well!  My enthusiasm for the challenge hasn’t abated, and the alcohol of choice for October is… can you guess?  It’s “beer!”  Because, you know, Oktoberfest.  Clever, eh?

Now, I have a little confession: I don’t like beer.  There are a couple of exceptions – I do quite enjoy fruit beers (although I’m not sure they really count as beer), and I’ve had one or two beers that tasted pretty good for a few sips but then they warmed up too much and the hoppy flavour started coming through too much for me to finish the bottle.  I really wish I did like beer though – I suspect that there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had in good beer and I feel like I’m missing out.  And I don’t like being left out.  I think part of the problem is that I’m not particularly knowledgeable about beer, so I wouldn’t know where to start.

Luckily, Baking with Spirit is about baking or cooking with beer rather than drinking it.  I baked some rather scrumptious chocolate Guinness cupcakes about a year ago, but that’s been my sole foray into baking with beer.  I really had no idea what I was going to make, so I was sort of hoping that something would magically come to me.  And then, a few days ago, I came across a recipe for Guinness gingerbread cupcakes.  Bingo!  The combination of Guinness and gingerbread completely intrigued me – I would never even have thought to pair them together.

Boy am I glad that I tried the recipe out, because these cupcakes are phenomenal.  It’s a dark gingerbread, packed full of spices, wonderfully gingery and with a fabulous undertone of treacle that is perfectly matched by the Guinness, which comes through subtly enough but definitely adds depth to the flavours going on in the cupcakes.  They’re also surprisingly light.  I was initially going to make the recipe as one large cake, but after a stressful day I decided that cupcakes were the way forward since the piping bit calms me.  Don’t be put off if you don’t like Guinness – I cannot stand it as a drink, yet I can’t get enough of these cupcakes.

Guinness gingerbread cupcakes

Makes 24
Adapted from Tea with Bea

In the icing I used the Equagold vanilla extract with star anise that I won in a giveaway the other week as I felt the hint of star anise would complement the spices in the gingerbread, but normal vanilla extract would also work, and is what I would ordinarily have used (I don’t usually have vanilla extract with star anise).  These cupcakes will keep for a few days in an airtight container kept away from any direct heat or sunlight (the icing will get a bit melty if it gets too warm), but not in the fridge.


For the cupcakes:
250ml Guinness
250g black treacle
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
280g all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground cloves
Pinch salt
1 heaped tbsp fresh finely grated ginger (a piece of about 2-3 cm)
3 eggs
100g caster sugar
100g dark brown sugar
200ml organic rapeseed oil (canola oil)

For the icing:
225g cream cheese
60g unsalted butter, softened
175g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used vanilla extract with star anise)
2 tbsp honey
Crystallised ginger pieces, to decorate (optional)


To make the cupcakes:
1.  Add the Guinness and black treacle to a tall saucepan (it needs to be tall because the mixture will bubble violently in the next step, and you don’t want it to overflow) and heat over a high heat.  Remove from the heat once the mixture comes to the boil, and stir in the bicarbonate of soda (this is the bubbling violently bit).  Set aside to cool completely whilst preparing the rest of the cupcake mixture.

2.  Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C.  Line two cupcake tins with cupcake liners or set out 24 silicone liners on baking trays.

3.  Sift the flour, baking powder, spices and salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir together.

4.  Peel the ginger and finely grate it, adding it to a large mixing bowl.  Add the eggs and two sugars and whisk together.  Make sure there aren’t any little clumps of brown sugar left, then gradually mix in the oil.  Whisk in the cooled Guinness syrup.

5.  Fold in the flour mixture with a spatula or spoon until just combined (it’ll be quite a liquidy mixture).

6.  Spoon the mixture into the the prepared liners or moulds, filling them about ⅘ full.  Bake for 25-35 mins until the tops are springy to touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove from the tins or silicone moulds and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

To make the icing:
7.  Prepare a piping bag with your chosen piping nozzle (I used a Wilton 1M large star nozzle).

8.  Whisk together the cream cheese and butter in a medium-sized bowl with an electric whisk until smooth.  Sift in the icing sugar and add the vanilla extract and honey and whisk until light and fluffy.  Transfer to the prepared piping bag and pipe swirls onto the cupcakes.

9.  Chop the crystallised ginger pieces and sprinkle them over the cupcakes to decorate.




Filed under Recipes, Sweet Foods

11 responses to “Guinness gingerbread cupcakes

  1. I love ginger cake and I bet the guinness really helps the flavours to come through. Must try these asap. Thanks for entering Baking With Spirit!

    • Mel

      The Guinness and ginger flavours really do go well together. Thank you for setting such a great challenge – otherwise I might never have tried the recipe! Looking forward to next month’s Baking with Spirit…

  2. I love this blog challenge – I might have to get involved soon – and these sound absolutely delicious! (They look pretty mouth-watering as well)

    • Mel

      Thanks, they really are yummy – you’d love them. Isn’t it a totally amazing blog challenge? I fully expect you to get involved.

      • Oh I will be – quick office poll suggested that if baked goods have alcohol in them then all the better! Not that I’d have much hassle ‘disposing’ of them by myself…

      • Mel

        Haha, as if you needed an office poll to conclude that! The actual alcohol does bake out (or at least I can’t taste it… which isn’t necessarily the same thing) though – plus I don’t think Guinness has all that much alcohol in it anyway? Compared to, say, gin. Do let me know what you think if you give them a go.

  3. Ah wee Mushroom, you truly are part-Scotsperson!!
    When I saw the recipe headline, I thought “now, has Miss Mel been using treacle?” and yes…you ARE good!! Y’see I just watched Mary Berry on the box, making a treacle tart. Looked fab, but no treacle…golden syrup. Sorry Cake Queen, that’s nae treacle tart, hen!
    Love the idea of gingerbread with booze and treacle. I will undoubtedly be tripping down treacle lane with these wee beauties. As for you madam, you are inspiration personified. Consider your ego hyper-inflated…

    • Mel

      Treacle tart with golden syrup? But… the clue is in the name of the tart – you know, treacle tart. How disappointing of Mary Berry. Glad to know I’ve proved my Scottish side. 🙂
      The treacle goes fantastically with the Guinness and all the spices – it’s a wonderfully dark gingery gingerbread (I know – gingery gingerbread, who’d have thought?) packed full of flavours, which is how I tend to like my cakes. Do let me know what you think if you try them out!

  4. strongassoup

    These sound absolutely lovely. – beer and ginger go together oddly well. It’s a very warming and pleasing combination. Despite a recent encounter with Ch’ti beer, I seem to have grown out of my love for beer but I can assure that a lot of enjoyment can most definitely be had

    • Mel

      Thanks Phil! I don’t think I’ve ever tried the combination of beer and ginger before, so it’s a revelation to me! Everybody who drinks beer tells me that, so I’d really like to acquire a taste for it – perhaps my beer tastebuds have yet to make an appearance.

  5. Pingback: Guinness Gingerbread Cupcakes « The Best Cupcake Recipes

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