Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

My goodness, my Guinness! These are some awesome cupcakes.

I’ve been wanting to make some type of Guinness Chocolate Cake ever since I first saw these beer cupcakes at Big City, Little Kitchen.  Gena based her cupcakes on a recipe for Guinness Chocolate Cake from Nigella Lawson’s book Feast: Food to Celebrate Life. I don’t have the book so I haven’t seen the original recipe, but I’ve had Gena’s cupcake version bookmarked for a year now.

Although I like the idea of baking cakes and cupcakes, I just don’t do it very often.  And I feel like I’m not very good at it, so I tend to avoid it when I can.  But when my friend Caron invited me over to watch the election returns with a small group of friends, I decided it was time to bake some Guinness cupcakes!

I ended up reading through several different Chocolate Guinness Cake/Cupcake recipes and they were all very similar.  I finally settled on a version by Dave Lieberman that I found on CHOW.  I made the cupcakes yesterday afternoon following the recipe closely with the exception that I substituted melted butter for the oil.

They were good.  But I was a tiny bit disappointed.  Don’t get me wrong, they really weren’t bad, but I just felt that the flavor could be better.  Plus, I had made a mess filling the cups and the resulting cupcakes were all different sizes and shapes.  I certainly didn’t want to take them to the party looking like that.  I mean, there were going to be three other foodbloggers at this gathering!

So I made another batch.  And this time, I did what I always do.  I fiddled with ingredients and amounts and ended up making my own, slightly altered, version of Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes.

I liked the second batch much better.  They had a better flavor, they were perfectly moist, and I scaled the recipe down to make exactly twelve cupcakes.  With the Lieberman recipe, I ended up with 20.  A weird number, I thought.  I prefer a cupcake recipe that makes a nice even dozen.  I mean, if you want more, just double the recipe!

I frosted the cakes with a vanilla bean cream cheese frosting.  Cream cheese, because that’s my favorite frosting in the world.  And vanilla bean because I like to see the little specks of vanilla seeds!  The vanilla bean is entirely optional, the frosting is just fine without the extra ‘fancy.’  Besides, I could hardly see any of the seeds once I got through dressing them up for the election party!

I have to say that the cupcakes were very well received, even by those at the party who weren’t swayed by the Obama buttons (you’ll notice that half of the cupcakes were non-partisan red, white, and blue).  I even ate one at the party even though I had ‘sampled’ quite a few during the baking and decorating process.

These cupcakes are so good, you shouldn’t even wait for a special occasion to make them.  I can’t believe I waited a whole year before making them!  Don’t make the same mistake.  The Guinness adds a nice complexity to the chocolate but it doesn’t taste like beer at all. There is no hint of bitterness in these cakes.  I can’t really explain it, but take my word for it, there’s something special about them.

And although I did just enjoy an unfrosted cupcake for breakfast, I highly recommend adding some cream cheese frosting!

Now, I’ve always wondered how to make that cute little swirly frosting design that I see at bakeries and on cupcake blogs. It always seemed like some big secret that only ‘real’ cupcake bakers knew.  Well, guess what, it’s no big secret and it’s not hard to do at all.  Thanks to a cupcake decorating kit I picked up at Michaels the other day, I now make cute cupcakes, too!

And although the cupcake kit is pretty great, all you need to frost cupcakes like these is this tiny, inexpensive little decorating tip and a cheap disposable piping bag (or parchment paper or even a plastic bag). You can probably pick up the decorating tip at your local craft store.

This cupcake was done on my very first try, so it really is easy to do.  Trust me, this stuff does not come naturally to me!

Well, now that I’ve convinced you that Guinness Chocolate Cake is the best thing ever and I’ve even shared the secret of making those cute little frosting swirls, I guess I’d better share my version of the recipe with you!  I really hope you enjoy it.  And in case you want to check out other versions of Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes, I’ll share some links with you at the bottom of the page.

By the way, you don’t have to use Guinness for these cupcakes.  Use your favorite stout or porter, if you have a preference.  I had actually planned on using an Oregon beer called Black Butte Porter, but I didn’t have any of those at room temperature.  So, I did end up using Guinness.  But next time, I’m going to try something else, just for fun!

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

adapted from this version by Dave Lieberman

2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup plain, thick yogurt, at room temperature
6 oz. dark stout (I used Guinness), at room temperature
2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake papers; spray the whole thing, cupcake papers and all, with nonstick spray. Set aside.
3. Melt butter in microwave or on stovetop, then set aside.
3. In a large bowl, preferably with a pouring spout, whisk together eggs and yogurt. Add beer and vanilla whisk until well combined.
4. Sift all the dry ingredients together (cocoa powder, sugar, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon) into a separate bowl.
5. Add about a third of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and using a hand mixer, blend well. Add the rest of the flour mixture, a third at a time, mixing well after each addition. When all ingredients are blended, add the melted butter then continue mixing until very well combined.
6. Pour batter into the twelve cups, filling each only about 3/4 full.
7. Bake on center rack of the preheated 350 degree oven and for approximately 25 minutes.
8. When cupcakes are done (toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake will come out clean), remove the pan to a wire rack.  Let cool for ten minutes then remove cupcakes from pan and let them cool completely on wire rack.

recipe notes: Sour cream can be substituted for yogurt, if that’s what you have on hand.  I used dutch processed cocoa because that’s what I had in the house. I think that regular unsweetened cocoa would work fine, I just haven’t tried it yet. Using a mixing bowl with a pouring spout is very helpful when filling the cupcake cups! I first tried using a ladle and ended up dripping batter all over the place!

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
Seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean that has been split and scraped

In a medium bowl, blend together cream cheese, butter, vanilla and vanilla bean seeds. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing well until it’s all incorporated.  Use immediately.  The frosting will harden in the fridge, so plan on bring it back to room temperature if you must refrigerate it before frosting the cupcakes.

recipe notes: This will frost about 18 cupcakes, but you could stretch it to 24 depending on how much you use. The vanilla bean seeds are completely optional!  If you choose to leave them out, increase the vanilla extract to one teaspoon if you want a more pronounced vanilla flavor.  If you want to frost the cupcakes the way I did, use a pastry bag fitted with a size 1M decorating tip. That particular tip, as well as disposable pastry bags and instructions came in the Wilton Cupcake Decorating Set I picked up at Michaels the other day.  It was my first time trying to make designer looking cupcakes and it was very easy!

For those of you just tuning in this month, I’m happy to say that I’m participating in the National Blog Posting Month challenge. For this year’s edition of NaBloPoMo, I’ve pledged to post a new recipe every single day for the month of November. If you don’t want to miss a recipe, sign up to receive my recipes by e-mail. You’ll only receive an e-mail when I write a new blog post, and your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose. Interested? Sign up now!

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  1. Ruby

    These look fabulous Nicole! Can’t wait to try them. I personally would have snatched up an Obama cupcake!

    1:42 pm  Nov 5th, 2008
  2. Shari

    Using real vanilla beans is always a good idea! They look amazing!

    2:05 pm  Nov 5th, 2008
  3. HoneyB

    These look awesome and I wish I was nearby to have one….although I don’t need one!

    2:13 pm  Nov 5th, 2008
  4. sawyer

    this is an awesome post….and i am looking forward to trying to make this soon….i have never tried using beer in baking, and these look delicious. you have great pictures too by the way…what kind of camera do you use?

    2:16 pm  Nov 5th, 2008
  5. ttfn300

    why why why? i’m already hungry and it’s no where near dinner time! 🙂

    2:37 pm  Nov 5th, 2008
  6. Gera

    Hi Nicole!

    You’d bake more often these amazing cakes/cupcakes and what a great recipe using guinness beer inside the cupcake…
    Two of my weaknesses chocolate and beer..all together! 🙂

    3:08 pm  Nov 5th, 2008
  7. Fit Bottomed Girls

    WOW. Those are gorgeous. And they combine stout and chocolate — H-E-A-V-E-N!!!

    3:56 pm  Nov 5th, 2008
  8. Tommy Williams

    I bet this would be good with Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, either in the cupcakes or served alongside.

    4:15 pm  Nov 5th, 2008
  9. robin @ caviar and codfish

    Oh, I really need a cupcake right now! Think it will fit in an envelope? 😉

    5:16 pm  Nov 5th, 2008
  10. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    That looks like a perfect cupcake to me! Wish we’d had some at our election night celebration.

    5:29 pm  Nov 5th, 2008
  11. RecipeGirl

    They certainly *look* pretty! I’d have been frantic to pick just the right recipe too if I were hanging out with other food bloggers!

    5:34 pm  Nov 5th, 2008
  12. Carol

    Wow, those look great! I’ll have to give these a try once I’m done with the current batch of cupcakes. I love cream cheese frosting so this is right up my alley! Love the beautiful swirl. I’ll have to see if I have a large enough flower tip on my (also new!) Wilton tip set. Thanks, Nicole!

    6:23 pm  Nov 5th, 2008
  13. Katie

    Those look incredible! You can practically see how moist and delicious they are. So jealous!

    6:51 pm  Nov 5th, 2008
  14. Ali

    Yummy — what a great idea! It is hard to go wrong with cupcakes. :o)

    I did a chocolate stout milkshake a few weeks back and it was ultra delicious. In cupcake form, I’d imagine they would rock too!

    6:19 am  Nov 6th, 2008
  15. Ben

    LOL@ non-partisan cupcakes. They look incredible and very tasty. 🙂

    6:36 am  Nov 6th, 2008
  16. Patricia Scarpin

    These look insanely dark and sinfully delicious, Nic! And I absolutely love how you decorated them!
    Even though we are not Americans, my husband and I celebrated Obama’s victory, too!

    7:13 am  Nov 6th, 2008
  17. Zoë François

    I love these cupcakes and I haven’t even made them yet! I just love the sound of them and they look wonderful!

    9:18 am  Nov 6th, 2008
  18. Sweet Freak

    Sheesh, these are gorgeous and, I’m sure, delicious. The Obama toppers only make them perfect!

    10:57 am  Nov 6th, 2008
  19. maris

    These look terrific! I Decorated, and plain 🙂

    11:25 am  Nov 6th, 2008
  20. Kate

    I think I am going to try these for my husband’s birthday in a couple of weeks…my brother brought me a bag of vanilla beans (maybe 25-30) from Madagascar. Mmmm.

    11:55 am  Nov 6th, 2008
  21. Esi

    I made the Nigella version for my birthday and loved them!!! I love the addition of vanilla bean to the frosting. I want to try that. Thanks for the tips on decorating too.

    1:11 pm  Nov 6th, 2008
  22. Michelle

    These look absolutely beautiful and they sound amazing! I can’t wait to try them out!

    2:06 pm  Nov 6th, 2008
  23. Jamie

    My husband love Guinness, I love chocolate and we both love Obama. I guess I am destined to make these cupcakes.

    4:40 pm  Nov 6th, 2008
  24. Jude

    Gotta love cakes with guinness.. The best of both worlds, if you ask me.

    8:41 pm  Nov 6th, 2008
  25. Dee

    I saw these on tastespotting and were instantly smitten. You make the swirl sound so easy but I have a star nozzle and still my cupcakes look like little turds. Guinness and chocolate is a fabulous combination for sure.

    5:09 am  Nov 7th, 2008
  26. LisaSD

    I can personally vouch for these cupcakes (I was the recipient of one on Tuesday night)! The minute I took my first bite, I turned to Nicole and said, “These are delicious! What is that familiar flavor?” I tried to guess and finally she told me about the Guinness. It kind of gives them a coffee-like flavor. The cream cheese frosting balanced everything out just right.

    Try it! I think you’ll like them as much as I did. Now I wished I’d taken one home. Sigh!

    11:26 am  Nov 7th, 2008
  27. julo

    Nicole, I made these cupcakes over the weekend and they were amazing! You’re so right that the Guinness adds something extra, but it’s hard to identify what. I think it keeps the cupcakes from getting too sweet, but without making them too rich. And it turned out so moist and yummy. My friend tried one bite, looked at me and said “you spoil me”. Hehe! I don’t know what the original recipe would have tasted like, but I’m sticking with you! Also, the vanilla frosting went really well. Thanks for the recipe!

    4:01 pm  Nov 18th, 2008
  28. Leslie

    I wonder how a chocolate stout would taste? Do you think that would be overkill?
    Your pictures are amazing! What kind of camera are you shooting with?

    11:19 pm  Nov 20th, 2008
  29. Anne

    Thanks for the great recipe–the cupcakes came out awesome. They are really moist,
    and rich but light at the same time. A slam dunk!

    10:49 pm  Dec 5th, 2008
  30. Chocolate Stout Cupcakes: Oh baby, oh baby « Sir, I exist!

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  31. Kasumi

    Is there no salt in this recipe or did you use salted butter?

    10:10 pm  Dec 10th, 2008
  32. Nicole

    Kasumi: I used salted butter. Hope you enjoy them!

    10:18 pm  Dec 10th, 2008
  33. Columbus Foodie » Blog Archive » November 2008 Roundup

    […] Ice Cream from Peanut Butter and Julie, Spiced Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding from Picky Palate, Chocolate Stout Cupcakes from Pinch My Salt, Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls from Rice and Beans and Other Fine Things, Apple […]

    3:14 am  Jan 24th, 2009
  34. Kymba

    I’m making these right now as a surprise treat for when people get home! 🙂

    11:47 am  Jan 29th, 2009
  35. Laura

    These cupcakes are delicious! NOBAMA ; (

    12:04 am  Jan 30th, 2009
  36. Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe — Pinch My Salt

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  37. Molly

    Oh man these were so good. Thanks for the recipe!

    12:50 pm  Feb 15th, 2009
  38. Ginger

    I used regular unsweetened cocoa and they rose beautifully, and made 12 “giant” sized cupcakes (according to the liners) or ~24 “medium” cupcakes.

    12:32 pm  Mar 8th, 2009
  39. Jessica

    The first time I tried this recipe, the pans were already in the oven by the time I popped open the microwave to discover the melted butter. What a disappointment! My daughter reassured me by saying, “At least they’ll be healthier, Mommy.” Well, I just had to try them again. The second time around, I used full-fat sour cream instead of Greek yogurt, *and* I remembered the butter. The texture was amazing: light, moist, with a fine crumb. They were delicious even without the frosting (which I will make once the cupcakes are cooled. The flavor is not too sweet and hard to pin down (if you don’t know about the Guinness) — yum! Thank you for this recipe!

    2:07 pm  Mar 9th, 2009
  40. faiza

    i just love her cooking

    4:50 am  Mar 23rd, 2009
  41. Sadie

    OMG…I made these tonight and they are awesome! Thanks so much 🙂

    7:24 pm  Apr 12th, 2009
  42. Scarfilumptious | Mexican Sushi

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  43. shawna


    7:35 am  Jun 11th, 2009
  44. Nicole

    Shawna: So glad you liked them! 🙂

    8:42 am  Jun 11th, 2009
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  46. Sawna

    This recipe looks amazing!! I want to make them for a party tomorrow night. Can you make them with Splenda to cut down on calories?

    12:07 pm  Jul 2nd, 2009
  47. Michael

    Made these tonight with my girlfriend and they were fantastic. I’m just curious, how might I introduce espresso to the recipe?

    1:20 am  Sep 21st, 2009
  48. Kaye Allen

    Trying to make these cup cakes but unsure on which cream cheese is the best one to use for the frosting.

    2:16 am  Sep 22nd, 2009
  49. Nicole

    Michael: I bet these would be really good with some espresso added to the batter! Whatever amount of espresso you decide to use, decrease the beer by the same amount and the recipe should work exactly the same.

    Kaye: Use regular cream cheese (the brand doesn’t matter), definitely not the light or fat free kind. If you use light cream cheese (Neufchatel), it will taste fine, but I think the frosting will be way too soft.

    8:13 am  Sep 22nd, 2009
  50. chocolate guinness cupcakes | gimme some oven

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  52. Heather

    MMM…I just finished a batch of these. They are delicious! Not as pretty as yours, but maybe next time.

    9:20 pm  Dec 11th, 2009
  53. Sara

    I came across this recipe in the Draft magazine – lost my copy of the recipe, and then stumbled upon your blog when I did a google search. I’ve been making these cupcakes for about six months now, and I am *constantly* getting requests to bring them to events! My hombrewing boyfriend is absolutely crazy about them, as are all of his buddies in the local homebrew club. I amped them up a little by using dark cocoa, and throwing in 6 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips. These are the best cupcakes 🙂 Thank you for the recipe!!

    11:10 am  Dec 17th, 2009
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    8:38 pm  Jan 17th, 2010
  56. Miles

    I just made these and took them to a party…all of my friends loved them! Thanks for a great recipe!

    10:08 pm  Jan 24th, 2010
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  60. Keith

    Kasia & I just made these using Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. They’re still warm from the oven, and oh so delicious!

    7:46 pm  Mar 23rd, 2010
  61. HeatherB

    I’ve made these and they are awesome! The last time I made them I only had enough butter to make the frosting and had to use vegetable oil for the cupcakes. Being that my pallet isn’t that refined, I couldn’t tell the difference. Wonderful recipe, thank you for sharing!

    12:10 pm  May 19th, 2010
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  63. Amanda

    I just made these and they turned out great!!! They are for my husband’s birthday and he’s a huge beer fan so I know he’ll be thrilled! I did double the recipe and I ended up with 36 cupcakes. Thanks for the recipe.

    9:06 am  Jun 4th, 2010
  64. Five alcohol enriched cupcake ideas | Party Cupcake Ideas

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  65. Sprinkles

    Love these and all your great photos! We have included these in our 5 alcohol cupcakes

    5:06 pm  Aug 13th, 2010
  66. Thomas Dominguez

    Good post, thanks. I signed up to your rss feed!

    10:38 am  Dec 1st, 2010
  67. Miranda

    I made these and they are very cool! Thank you for the recipe. 😀

    8:36 am  Mar 21st, 2011
  68. Heather

    I made a cake version of this for my birthday….I know, it’s stupid, but my husband can’t bake/cook to save his life. It turned out just as yummy as the cupcakes. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, mmmmm, mmmmmmm!!!!

    9:20 am  Mar 23rd, 2011
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  70. Kindy

    So I came across this cupcake recipe over a year ago, followed it to the T but used a different cream cheese frosting recipe and they have been my favorite ever since. I even used them for my cupcake wedding cake 🙂 Tonight I am making these again, but not with Guinness- with wine! Fingers crossed they taste fabuloso! Thanks a million for sharing this recipe

    10:13 pm  Jul 11th, 2011
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  72. Rick

    That Obama cupcake I had in ’08 is really leaving a bitter taste in my mouth.

    5:19 am  Oct 1st, 2011
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  74. Kymba

    This has been my go-to chocolate cupcake since you first came out with the recipe! Everyone loves them, my boyfriend requests them every birthday, they are so great. THANK YOU for an amazing cupcake recipe!

    7:21 am  Jan 31st, 2012
  75. Starr Anderson

    I’ve made these with dark cocoa powder and any dark stout and they are the BOMB! Such yumminess! 🙂

    4:57 pm  Feb 15th, 2012
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  78. Colleen

    Great 1st try with the decorator tip. If you take that same 1M tip and start in the middle of the cupcake and work your way out, it will make a beautiful rose/flower. You have the technique of a steady hand so this should be no problem. I’ve seen a cake decorated completely with these roses and it was beautiful.

    6:07 am  Apr 27th, 2012

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    8:28 am  Apr 14th, 2014

    […] Chocolate Stout cupcakes can easily become a delectable adults-only treat, especially if they are coated in a homemade vanilla cream cheese frosting. These cupcakes, which consist of room-temperature Guinness, eggs, yogurt, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, sugar, flour, melted butter, ground cinnamon and baking powder, are fairly easy to make, once all of the ingredients have been gathered. Once they are baked and covered in luscious vanilla cream cheese frosting, you won’t be able to resist them! Source Pinch My Salt […]

    9:11 am  Apr 14th, 2014

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  84. Liselore

    Love this recipe! Just made them. Only added a little bit of salt to the batter. I decorated the vanilla frosting with a few swirls of salted caramel and pretzel crumbles and one small pretzel. Lovely! The cupcake is really moist and the hint of beer… hmmmm

    9:19 am  Mar 6th, 2016
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