Putting Pesach behind us, let’s get back to real baking.
When I first visited Israel as a child, one of the new tastes I experienced and loved was the iconic Nesher Black Beer (birah shchorah). As a child, the concept of drinking beer, even though it was alcohol free, was so exciting. The taste of this local malt brew was wonderfully caramelly and rich, and to this day, I love the taste, which takes me back to my first visit to Israel.
While cupcakes are definitely a non-Israeli confectionery, one way of bringing a little local into these little cakes is by baking them with black beer. When I came across a wonderful parev cupcake recipe that uses stout beer on Chef Chloe’s wonderful vegan cooking website, I knew I had to make a few adaptations to make it more Israeli by using black beer instead. Black beer is said to also have additional health benefits (although I’m not sure if they survive baking at 180 degrees). The result is a very moist, wonderful chocolate cupcake that’s parev and uses no eggs either.
You can frost these cupcakes with any frosting you wish. I use a Tofutti-based cream cheese frosting for parev, otherwise any butter or cream cheese frosting will work well.
BLACK BEER CUPCAKES
1½ cups flour
2/3 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup black beer (birah shchorah – there’s the Nesher brand or Coca Cola’s Malti brand)
½ cup oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla
How to do it
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix till just combined.
3. Line a muffin tin with #5 cupcake liners and fill each to about two-thirds full with batter.
4. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.
Makes 14-16 cupcakes
A few drops of vanilla extract
How to do it
1. In a medium bowl, mix 90g (3 oz) Tofutti cream cheese and a few drops of vanilla until combined.
2. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix till combined. Continue adding the powdered sugar until you get a good spreading consistency – about 300g (10 oz) powdered sugar (3 cups). (Note: When you use the Tofutti cream cheese to make frosting, you won’t reach a stiff spreading consistency as you do when using butter or cream cheese. This frosting will always be glossy and soft.)
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
1. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of soft butter, 100 grams of 25% fat cream cheese (Napoleon) and a few drops of vanilla.
2. When it is smooth, gradually start adding powdered sugar (about 300 grams of powdered sugar in total) and mix until you get a good spreading consistency (the mixture should not fall off the spoon or should not run off the beaters).
VANILLA BUTTER FROSTING
1. In an electric mixer, beat 110g (4 oz) unsalted butter, 60 ml milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 250 g (10 oz) powdered sugar until completely smooth.
2. Gradually add up to another 250g (10 oz) powdered sugar and beat until the frosting is a smooth spreading consistency.