Once the holiday season kicks off, it’s hard not to focus on food. It’s the coziest time of the year, and truly, it’s the most delicious time of the year. The holiday season tends to encourage all of us to simply slow down, take a breath and consider everything that there is to be thankful for. For many, that’s accompanied by cooking or baking up a storm. With flavors of dark chocolate, stout beer and cherries, this festive recipe is definitely one that celebrates the coziest season of all.

A lot of love goes into the production of pFriem’s Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout. The brewed Imperial Stout is put into bourbon barrels from OOLA Distillery and Heaven Hill Distillery, and  aged for one year. That year makes all the difference. The oak barrel’s characteristics seep into the beer, leaving all of us with an impeccably well-rounded, bold brew. Aromas of cocoa, caramel and toasted oak hit your nose with delight, while flavor notes of cherries, char and a bit of bourbon round out the experience. It’s the perfect option to pair with the deep, dark flavor of a chocolate cupcake, allowing the toasted oak and cherries to shine through. Paired with a semi-sweet cocktail cherry buttercream, these dark chocolate stout cupcakes are definitely ready to party this holiday season.

Dark Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes
¼ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons flour
⅓ cup dark cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
½ cup milk
½ cup pFriem Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup water, boiling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add in the egg, milk, oil, stout and vanilla one-by-one and mix until just combined. Pour in boiling water, and gently stir the batter until combined. Don’t worry if your batter seems too thin.
Grease or line a cupcake pan. Fill each cupcake well halfway-full with batter. Bake cupcakes for 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the oven and let cool completely before topping with cocktail cherry buttercream.

Cocktail Cherry Buttercream
½ cup butter, softened
5-6 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons cocktail cherry syrup

Add the softened stick of butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Whip the butter until smooth and gradually add in one cup of powdered sugar while the mixer is running. Gradually add in the milk and the cocktail cherry syrup. Continue to gradually add in the rest of the powdered sugar while the mixer is running, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Once all ingredients are incorporated and your frosting begins to form, increase the speed of the mixer to whip the frosting.