These cupcakes are inspired by a number of sources, from Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Guinness cake, to whiskey cupcakes, to all the pumpkin fall recipes out right now. I’ve made the Chocolate Guinness cake before, substituting Trader Joe’s Oatmeal Stout for the Guinness, with fantastic results. I decided to do a riff on chocolate stout cake this time around; since I had a craving for bite-sized snacks, I made cupcakes. I also incorporated pumpkin, since it’s still fall. I had stocked up when canned pumpkin was on sale early in the season, so I had plenty on hand when I was browsing my pantry for inspiration.
I used this Chocolate Stout Cupcakes recipe from Veggie and the Beast (what a cute blog name! I love it) as the basis for these chocolate-pumpkin-oatmeal stout cupcakes. I can also see making this recipe as muffins, by adding in oats and turning down the amount of sugar a bit more. For my version, I decreased the sugars from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup, omitted the vanilla and the frosting (I’m not a huge frosting fan. Crazy, I know.), and added in pumpkin and chocolate chips.
I started by making buttermilk: 1 cup of milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar. I let that sit for about 5 minutes. Then I mixed the dry ingredients—2 cups of flour, ½ cup of white sugar, ½ cup of light brown sugar, ½ cup of cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of baking soda— together in a bowl. Next, I mixed the wet ingredients—1 egg, 1 cup buttermilk, and 1/3 cup of canola oil. I added the dry to the wet and mixed well, until most of the lumps were gone (I couldn’t get all of them out, and I didn’t want to over-beat the batter). Then I added in 1 cup of the oatmeal stout. At this point, the stout bubbled and foamed, probably in reaction to the baking soda. It was a cool sight to see (says my nerdy science self).
I have these wicked cool silicone baking cups that my mom first got me, that I can use again and again for cupcakes and muffins, and you don’t need to grease or spray them. I love them. The only thing is that they are a bit of a pain to wash, as I do it by hand, and you have to get into the little crevices. But they are great for baking and for presentation.
I set them out on a baking sheet and filled them just a bit more than half full with the batter (2 tablespoons worth). To experiment, I decided to add in pumpkin to the cupcakes, so I used about ½ cup of canned pumpkin, and mixed in 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice to it, it a separate bowl. I then added a dollop of the pumpkin mixture to each cupcake using a teaspoon, right in the middle. After the first batch, I decided to just mix the pumpkin mix directly into the cupcake batter, and I added chocolate chips on top.
I baked the cupcakes for 15 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.
Chocolate Pumpkin Oatmeal Stout Cupcakes Variations
After comparing the different styles of pumpkin cupcakes, I preferred the ones that had the dollop of pumpkin in the middle to the ones where the pumpkin was completely mixed in. I liked the former better because the pumpkin in the middle was a nice surprise and contrast to the rest of the cupcake (and I like options), and the oatmeal stout flavor was able to compliment the pumpkin. I thought the cupcakes with the pumpkin mixed directly in were overpowered by the pumpkin flavor, which overshadowed the oatmeal stout flavor. You could always pump up the stout by adding in more than 1 cup, or decreasing the amount of pumpkin mixed in. Experiment, go crazy.