Resolved- now with full recipe

I bake a lot because it's fun and because I have altogether too much free time these days. I'm getting ready to do another batch of cupcakes for a graduation party soon, and I'm contemplating these beer and peanuts cupcakes. It's better than it may sound, and the recipe will follow. I'm just having one problem: neither of us (me or the one graduating) feel that raisins are really necessary, or that they would be awesome with beer-cakes. I'm worried that taking the raisins out will dry out the batter, but I'm not sure how much moisture I'd need to add to prevent that. Modifying things for high altitude I can do, solving problem fruit in a dry climate I cannot. So I'm going to post the recipe and see if anyone has any bright ideas.

1 cup dark beer
2/3 cup light brown sugar
3/4 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup raisins *There's my problem!*
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Dash of grated nutmeg
2 eggs, slightly beaten

For peanut brittle topping:
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp sugar syrup (ready-made or boil equal amounts of sugar and water)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup grilled peanuts, lightly salted

1. Bring beer, sugar and butter to a boil in a large saucepan. Add raisins (Oh noes!) and cook 5 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat and let cool, stirring from time to time. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour in cooled beer mixture and blend well. Add eggs a little at a time and continue mixing until batter is smooth.
3. Spoon batter into cupcake papers, filling about 1/2 full. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until just starting to brown on top. Remember, they are going to cook for another 5-7 minutes (After topping).
4. While the cupcakes are cooking, make the topping. In a heavy pan, mix butter, sugar, syrup and lemon juice and heat slowly until all of the sugar has dissolved, stirring from time to time. Continue to cook over low heat for another 5 minutes. Stir in peanuts and cook another 2 minutes.
5. Spread a layer of peanut topping over each cupcake. Return to oven and cook for 5-7 minutes. When peanuts start to brown, remove from oven and let cool before removing cupcakes.

Forums: 
Katie's picture

Embodiment

just a touch of fruit juice? grape juice I guess...

I wouldn't think it would be an issue though. You could make a small batch and see how it turns out.

Oddfish's picture

Postulant

I think if it comes down to it, I could just add some more beer and maybe a smidge more butter, but I couldn't resist seeing what our crop of creative cooks could come up with. Curiosity created a better cupcake? :biglol:

blwinteler's picture

Supplicant

I don't know how much the raisins matter. I've never had a problem just omitting raisins in recipes. I guess I'd agree that just a tiny bit of moisture could be added, but I wouldn't put much.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

... moisture, if any. Remember, raisins are [i]dried[/i] grapes, so they don't add much moisture by themselves, although they can add moisture to the finished product by [i]reataining[/i] it. As such, leaving out raisins doesn't usually need a lot in the way of compensation. If anything, I'd probably reduce the baking time a bit (but again, not by much).

Oddfish's picture

Postulant

Yeah, I just worry about it because the recipes in this book, when followed faithfully, tend to turn out a little dry, so I'm skittish about doing anything that could make the end product drier. I might just do a test run on them because the book isn't so reliable.

b2creative's picture

If it were me, I'd just add a smidge more dark beer and be done with it.

Kittae's picture

Postulant

If you have it available, add a bit of ground flax seed. I add a couple tablespoons to muffins and junk that I make (just add,not substitute anything) and it tends to keep things moist but I've never had a problem with it being too much so. Flax seed is usually suggested as a substitute for however much oil in a recipe.

Oddfish's picture

Postulant

Sounds like a fix for all the recipes I've used from this book so far. I can find that no problem, because I live in an organic grocery hotbed; even the chains have added organic bulk sections in the past few years. Thanks! Biggrin

Cheez-It's picture

The raisins are actually acting to soak up some of the liquid from the batter in the recipe so I would not add more (you boil them in the liquid to "reconstitute" them so that they aren't as dry). They will change the way the cupcake feels in the mouth and may make it feel more dry because they create pockets of moist fruit but I suspect that the batter will be more wet. In fact, you may find that the cupcakes don't rise the same way because of the extra fluid.

sherinik's picture

Postulant

Could you please post the full recipe? This looks interesting enough that I'd like to try it at least once. At let us know how the flax seed substitution works out, please?

The Which's picture

Embodiment

I've never had a problem with just omitting dried fruit--or adding it--but if you're worried about it being dry, add a tablespoon of butter or oil... although the flax suggestion is pretty interesting. I might have to try that sometime.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

I usually add a little bit of applesauce. I'm not sure if that would help, but I bet it would be pretty good in beer-cakes.

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

My great-grandmother kept that one a secret when she handed out her carrot cake recipe for years. People never could figure out why theirs was dry until someone caught her spooning it in. Blum 3

Oddfish's picture

Postulant

I added some ground flax seed without changing anything else (Well, aside from taking out the raisins) and they are deliciously moist. That worked out great and I intend to keep it on hand for future endeavors. The only quibble I have is that she says to fill the papers half full, since you need a bit of room to hold the topping in. I did that, but the suckers ended up HUGE anyway, meaning the topping made a big mess all over the pan. This is, in part, an altitude thing, but not entirely. I'd suggest either getting jumbo cupcake papers or filling them a little less tha half. They're edible as I made them-- they're quite good, actually-- but they ain't pretty.

Also, I really suggest using a vanilla porter. I used one from Breckenridge Brewery, but I suspect that's pretty local, so anything like that will do. Left Hand Brewery does a milk stout that would be good, but again, I'm not sure how far their wares travel.

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