Pyramid Alehouse Beer-Infused Cupcake Competition #SFBeerWeek

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IMG_5506_2Last year when I heard about the Pyramid Beer-Infused Cupcake competition, I was itching to go, but I got sick that weekend and decided not to trek up to the Bay Area to eat cupcakes and beer, since it was probably the last thing I needed then.

Amazingly enough, this year I ALSO got sick not long before this competition, but I couldn’t pass it up again. It’s just too tempting. BEER and CUPCAKES? Yes, please. I’m almost all better now, so a little beer and beer cupcakes won’t hurt right?

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Since it is SF Beer Week, the boyfriend and I decided to make a weekend out of it and stay in San Francisco, do a little beer tasting at Faction Brewing and spirit tasting at St. George Spirits in Alameda, and finish up with beer cupcakes at Pyramid Alehouse in Walnut Creek the next day.

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People from all over sent in cupcake recipes featuring one of the Pyramid beers. From the entries, Pyramid narrowed down the recipes to three finalists, and then baked their cupcakes, paired with the appropriate beer, for us to sample and choose our favorite of the three. It’s a pretty fantastic little event considering we got three full sized cupcakes and a 5-6 oz beer for each, all for $10!

Here were our choices:

A Maple Pecan Ale Cake made with Pyramid Hefeweizen, topped with a Maple Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting paired with Pyramid Hefeweizen

IMG_5500A Strawberry Blonde Saison Cupcake made with Pyramid Strawberry Blonde Saison, topped with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate Stout Glaze paired with the Pyramid Strawberry Blonde Saison

IMG_5499A Crème-brew-lée Salted Caramel-filled Cupcake made with Pyramid Outburst Imperial IPA, topped with  Salted Caramel Frosting paired with the Pyramid Outburst Imperial IPA

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After sampling all of the cupcakes, I decided I liked the Maple Pecan cupcake the most. It was sweet, but not too sweet and had the consistency of a muffin, which I’m realizing I like more nowadays. It’s the only one I was able to finish too.

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The Strawberry cupcake was pretty good, had a great delicate frosting, but was edging towards the “too sweet” category. The Salted Caramel cupcake was by far my least favorite, because it tried to do too much and ended up being overly sweet and far too rich to eat more than a couple of bites before those bites started to seem like a mistake. It also had some kind of sticky caramel filling that didn’t compliment the cupcake. I would have preferred to have the caramel frosting as the filling and just a drizzle of something sweet on top instead of more thick sugary frosting.

IMG_5502Before I left, I filled out the ballot, circling my favorite flavor, and turned it into the ballot box. I wonder which cupcake will win the whole shebang. I have a feeling it will come down to the Maple Pecan or the Strawberry cupcake as those seemed to be the most popular with the folks sitting near me.

I think next year I might enter the contest and come up with my own Pyramid beer-infused cupcake recipe. They have so many beers to choose from, I better start drinking now.

 


Butter Pecan Cupcakes

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My mom asked me to make her some cupcakes for her birthday recently and loved the sound of a the Butter Pecan Cake from Taste of Home. So, as any daughter would do, I set out to turn the cake recipe into cupcakes! The recipe was easy to put together, but be careful when toasting the pecans. I got sidetracked making the batter and almost burnt the pecans in the oven! So keep an eye on those and stir them regularly.

The above recipe is for a three layered cake and it ended up making about 32 cupcakes. Don’t over cook them either. I wouldn’t cook them any longer than 15 minutes if you’re going to make them into cupcakes. It might even be better to check them at 12 minutes. The cake consistency is almost of a muffin and they aren’t very sweet, which I liked, because they tasted great with the super sweet buttercream frosting I made for them.

The Butter Pecan Cake has a frosting recipe included, but I wasn’t sure if I liked the proportions in it so I opted to use one of my favorite, and easy, buttercream recipes from Savory Sweet Life. Her Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is very good and added a good sweetness factor to the muffin-like cupcakes. I chose not to stir the leftover pecans into the frosting and instead sprinkled some on the top of each one as garnish.

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Summer Sushi Cupcakes

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One of my favorite things to eat during the summer is sushi. Because of that, I made sushi cupcakes for a 4th of July party this past weekend. I know sushi isn’t really a very American patriotic theme, but I wanted my cupcakes to be a little different and unexpected. I was thinking of making hamburger cupcakes since that goes with the BBQ theme of the party I was at, but sushi cupcakes were a much newer concept to me, so I tried them instead.  I planned to make a whole batch of them but they took so long to put together I decided that 12 was enough.

Items I used to decorate the cupcakes included jelly beans as roe, yellow cake strips as egg, apple fruit roll-ups for seaweed, orange slice gummy candy for pieces of salmon, and cut up pieces of fruit chews (like Starbursts) and gummy bears as the insides of some of the sushi rolls. For the “rice” I used white frosting and coconut flakes. I was going to use white sprinkles as well for rice but could not find regular old white sprinkles anywhere!

Thankfully the cupcakes were well received at the party. I know some people could have been turned off by the idea of “raw fish” on a cupcakes. Now I must figure out what I’ll be making and decorating next. I might give cake pops another try.

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