Inspired Eats - Cocktails with Cupcakes

Port in the Storm cupcake by Prohibition Bakery NYC
Port in the Storm cupcake by Prohibition Bakery NYC

The Prohibition Bakery was established in 2011, making the world a happier place ever since. In this tiny little stepdown shop, Leslie Feinberg and Brooke Siem serve cheeky little treats in the shape of cupcakes, and unlike their name suggests, fortified with a not so abstemious amount of booze!

In conjunction with Inspired Eats I asked Brooke and Leslie to create a rather boozy, yummy last course with me, that'll easily impress at any dinner party.

Brooke and Leslie were nice enough to share a recipe of theirs, modified ever so slightly to reproduce at home, whilst I rummaged about in the black box to find a suitable and equally scrumptious drink to accompany the munchies.

The cupcakes are a delicious combination of A Whole Lotta Love in the form of chocolate and some Port to round it off - fittingly entitled "A Port in the Storm."

The idea was to match the chocolate, increase complexity, find a good match for the Port and altogether not overpower the cuppy cakes.

Chocolate first: I wanted something straight, something honest, something stiff, so it had to be a Manhattan. At least a riff on it. My thought was to sub the whiskey for a fine Cognac to emphasize the Port, and add some smoke to increase complexity, while tossing in some chocolate to match the flavors of the cupcakes.

Enter "Smokin' Aces." The particular type of Cognac is key to this drink. If you can’t find HINE, use a good VSOP with a smoky edge, or a suitable Armagnac. The rich profile of Antica will perfectly harmonize with the chocolate. Honey is added to the mix to fully match the sweetness of the dessert.

A Port in the Storm

cake:

½ c coffee stout - Alcohol Professor suggests Hinterland Brewery Luna Coffee Stout, a medalist in the 2013 NY International Beer Competition

½ c butter, unsalted

45g dark cocoa powder

1 egg

75g sour cream or full fat plain yogurt

125g  flour

200g sugar

¾ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

filling:

4 oz milk chocolate

1/3 c heavy cream

½ c tawny port - Alcohol Professor suggests C.N. Kopke, 2013 Porto Winery of the Year in the NY International Wine Competition

1 T unsalted butter

frosting:

8 oz butter at room temperature

1 lb powdered sugar

¼ brewed espresso, cooled

1 tbs espresso powder

Yield: 45 mini cupcakes

Directions:

For cake:

. Preheat oven to 325 degrees

. In an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream

.  In another bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

. Combine beer and butter in a small saucepan and heat until butter elts. Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder.

. While mixer is running, slowly pour in hot cocoa/butter mixture. ix until fully incorporated.

. Slowly add dry goods to wet and beat until incorporated.

. Fill lined cupcake tins 2/3 with batter. Bake for 10 minutes and let  ool on a cooling rack.

For filling:

1. Simmer cream over medium heat until just bubbling.  Take care not to boil over.

2. Meanwhile, chop the milk chocolate into chunks and transfer into a bowl.

3. When cream is heated pour over room temperature chocolate.

4. Let chocolate and cream mixture sit for a minute or so, and then whisk. When smooth, add the butter.  Ganache should be glossy.

5. While whisking, stream in port until incorporated.  It will be thin. Transfer to a squeeze bottle and refrigerate until cool.

For frosting:

1. In an electric mixer, beat butter with paddle until fluffy.

2. On low speed, add the powdered sugar.

3. Slowly stream in espresso and beat until smooth.

4. Stir in espresso powder and transfer to a piping bag.

Assembly:

1. When cupcakes are cool, use a small pastry tip to core out the center.

2. Fill the cupcakes with the cooled port ganache, using a squeeze bottle.

3. Frost the cupcakes to your liking.

Smokin' Aces

Smokin' Aces cocktail, photo courtesy Noemi Valdez
Smokin' Aces cocktail, photo courtesy Noemi Valdez

50ml (1 1/2 oz) HINE Cigar Reserve Cognac (or suitable smoky Cognac or Armagnac)

30ml (1 oz) Carpano Antica Formula

couple small pieces bittersweet chocolate (60-70% cocoa), plus another for rimming glass

Method: put the chocolate in a stirring glass and give it a muddle (use dry chocolate, so it only breaks apart), add the booze and let sit for 5 minutes, add ice and stir well, double strain into pre-chilled coupe glass.

For chocolate rim: break piece of bitter chocolate apart into small splinters using a mortar and pestle, wet the rim of the glass with honey, then encrust with the chocolate.

So when are you hosting your next dinner party? Are you planning to do some cocktail pairing? Would you have matched the chocolate-heavy cupcakes differently? Feel free to share your own inspirations in the comments and of course, send us a line via twitter (@TheAlcoholProf  or directly to Jens @furcht_bar, for longer texts I recommend twitlonger) or email to Jens and we'll gladly recommend a drink or two to accompany any menu you're looking to spoil your guests with.

Chee... *hiccup* cheers!

PS: make sure to keep up with the dessert ladies @ProhibitionBake.

Address: 9 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002 | 646-596-8294

Opening hours: 11am - 8pm Tue - Thu & 11am - 9pm Fri & Sat