My buddy Derek, head brewer at Newport Beach Brew Co., was having a birthday party at Smog City this last weekend. It was a surprise birthday party and I was tasked to bake some cupcakes for the event. I really wanted to use a beer from NB Brew Co. but I had to play it off like I was going to use it just for a blog post and nothing else. Hey, that’s not really lying…it’s just a half-truth! I had Sean pick-up some beer for me during the week so I could get the cupcakes done by the weekend.

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I had a sour cherry stout to work with….but what to make?! I wanted to mimic the cherry flavor with fresh cherries, but alas, it’s not cherry season so I opted to go the opposite route. I make a spiced stout cupcake with a sour cherry stout syrup for the frosting. It worked-out since the cupcakes had a little sour cherry flavor up-front and the lingering flavor was the cinnamon and nutmeg spice. Everyone seemed to love them!



3 3/4 cups AP Flour

1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/4 cups veggie oil

1 1/4 cups molasses

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk

1 1/4 cups beer


1 lbs. of powdered sugar

3 sticks of butter

1/3 cup of beer syrup


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin/cupcake tins with cupcake liners. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

2. With either an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, or using a whisk (electric or not), beat together the oil, molasses, sugar, eggs and yolk and beer together for a few minutes. Add dry mixture slowly until combined.

3. Spoon batter (I used a cookie scoop but I have found a frosting bag also works well) into the cupcake liners. Fill between halfway and three-quarters full because these cupcakes will rise. Bake for 20 minutes or so. Be sure to rotate one in the middle of baking. If unsure, you can insert a toothpick tester in the cupcakes to be sure.

4. Put cupcakes on wire racks to cool, and take out of the tins to cool completely before frosting. To make beer syrup, add a 1/4 cup of beer with a tablespoon of granulated sugar and cook on medium heat until reduced. Put in the fridge to cool before adding to the frosting.

5. Beat room temp butter with adding powdered sugar gradually. Be sure to taste as you add the sugar so you choose how sweet you want your icing to be. After the frosting is almost there, add the beer syrup in small doses to ensure your buttercream doesn’t break. If the frosting gets too loose don’t and any more liquid.

6. Pipe frosting on cupcakes using your favorite icing tip and a pastry bag.

Yield: 24-30 cupcakes

Lasts: 2-3 days

Season: All seasons

Level: Beginner

These tasted great. They had spice and a subtle amount of sour cherry lingering on the palate. It was interesting and challenging to use a sour beer. I hope to expand and make more things with sours. Any suggestions?

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