The Samuel Adam’s Utopias MMXI has just been released, and beer aficionados across the country (except for the states in which it’s banned), are scrambling to get their hands on one of the rarest beers brewed in the United States (A bottle will set you back $150). Just in case you’ve forgotten click here for a Utopias refresher.
Utopias is one of those things in life that you either get or you don’t. I put it in the same category as scotch and cigars. When it comes to Utopias I get it. I think it’s one of the most creative and remarkable beer creations of the last 50 years, and a true testament to the skill and dedication to the art of craft brewing that Samuel Adams has become famous for.
Since it’s really meant to be enjoyed after dinner, why not pair Utopias with dessert? To make the perfect companion for something as over-the-top as Utopias Sam Adams partnered with New York City’s Butch Bakery to come up with a pair of cupcake recipes designed to hold their own against the 27% ABV behemoth.
Butch Bakery has taken the estrogen content of cupcakery to near ppm levels with their guy-friendly creations, and their two Utopias-inspired recipes are no different. Two words for ya, buttercream and bacon. A half-pound of bacon…
So put that apron on, pour yourself a snifter of Sam Adams Utopias and get to baking. And if you’re feeling extra inspired, try putting a tablespoon or so of Utopias into the frosting in place of the vanilla for a real treat.
The Cake: Maple
The Frosting: Milk Chocolate Buttercream
The Kicker: Caramelized Bacon Bit Topping
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, broken into a small bowl
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
Place a baking rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two 6-cup jumbo size muffin pans with liners, and set aside.
Place a strainer over a medium size mixing bowl and sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer on medium high speed and a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until well combined. Add the eggs, maple syrup, sour cream and vanilla and mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add half of the flour mixture, beating to combine. Add the rest of the flour mixture and continue to mix just until all the dry ingredients are incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Fill each prepared muffin cup with a rounded 1/3 cup batter, about three-quarters full. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the tops are just firm to the touch and a tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Leave the cupcakes in the pan on a rack to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack to cool completely before frosting, about one hour.
For the Milk Chocolate Buttercream:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter. Slowly add the sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix until all the sugar is incorporated. Frost the cupcakes.
For the Caramelized Bacon Bits:
10 to 12 slices of regular cut bacon (1/2 pound)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F and adjust the rack in the upper half of the oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and place a similar sized wire cooling rack inside the pan.
In a medium size bowl, combine the brown sugar and pepper. Add the bacon strips and toss in the mixture. Lay the strips in one layer on the rack, and top with any leftover sugar. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until browned. Cool slightly before finely chopping. They will keep for one week stored, in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Makes about 3/4 cup.
Crumble the bacon, and spread over the buttercream on top of the cupcakes.
The Cake: Chocolate
The Frosting: Maple Buttercream
The Kicker: Salted Caramel Filling
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 oz melted chocolate
2 cups flour (sifted)
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 cup warm water
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350ᵒF. In a stand mixer on low speed, blend oil, egg, and vanilla. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and mix.
Melt the chocolate in either a double boiler or microwave (no more than 10 seconds in the microwave, or chocolate will burn and be unusable). Add melted chocolate to the sugar/egg mixture.
In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda). Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the water and milk to the existing wet ingredients. Mix well.
Place batter in cupcake tins lined with 12 cupcake liners. Fill each about half full. Bake for approximately 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool before filling and frosting.
For the Salted Caramel Filling:
2 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2/3 cup warm water
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 tsp sea salt
In a heavy saucepan combine sugar, water, and corn syrup, stirring often so as not to burn. Cook on high heat until syrup is clear. If you have a candy thermometer, clip to pan and stop stirring.
Cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush, as needed. Bring to a boil, until mixture is caramelized (just at 360ᵒF). Remove from heat, slowly pour in cream, and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in sea salt and allow to cool.
Take cool cupcakes and use a small knife to create a hole down the middle of the cake. Spoon in the cooled caramel filling.
For the Maple Buttercream:
1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
In a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter. Slowly add the sugar. Mix until all the sugar is incorporated. Mix in the maple syrup.
Frost the filled cupcakes.