Blonde Ale Cupcakes & Trifle

Sometimes baking requires a little trifle and error

If life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.

If you try a recipe and it doesn’t turn out right, fix it or try a different recipe!


A long time ago I was watched an episode of The French Chef and Julia Child explained that making mistakes in the kitchen is okay! I loved her honesty about how not everything goes right in the kitchen. I do not remember the quote so I found this one for you instead:


“One of the secrets and pleasures of cooking is to learn to correct something if it goes awry; and one of the lessons is to grin and bear it if it cannot be fixed.”

                                                          -Julia Child


Here’s to not being perfect.




SO! Eek! I was really excited to use a blonde ale for my next baking adventure with beer, especially because the chocolate stout layer cake went so well. However, not everything went according to plan. The initial cupcake recipe did not work and the frosting was a total failure if I planned on spreading it over a delicious dessert.



First, THE BEER. I used Oval Beach Blonde by Saugatuck Brewing. It is very good! If you couldn’t tell by now, I prefer dark and heavy beers, but I would drink this again! I don’t know how to describe it, but it is smooth going down and leaves a tangy-delicious aftertaste! I would highly recommend it! 5% ABV and 10.5 IBU.


The first recipe I used was from my Cooking For Two cookbook. I was really excited to use it again and see how good the cupcakes would turn out. First, it called for cake flour. Now, I don’t know if we want to blame the century old cake flour I found in the pantry or the beer for messing with the recipe, but the cupcakes turned out like they were made with almond flour. They were dense and coarse. They were not cup-CAKES, but cups-of-dense-ness. I then tried to make frosting. I did some research on frosting recipes and some websites mentioned that they use part butter, part shortening. I tried this because I wanted a more firm frosting. Once again, I added the beer and EVERYTHING separated in my frosting. I had no clue what to do so I put it aside and figured I would find something to do with it later.


I searched for a true beer cupcake recipe. I figured this may be a better option. I cut the recipe in thirds. Apparently there is such thing as “Bakers Percentage” or something like that. I get weekly emails from King Arthur Flour and today they sent out an email about low sugar recipe using percentages. I didn’t do this I just did the math. I am done with leisure statistics. That class made me cry this summer. I passed, however.


My ingredients DID separate a little when I added the beer, but it stayed together for the most part. One thing to note is that the cupcakes did not crown. Fill those cups up before you bake!


The one in the center. Can you tell it wasn’t filled up to the top?!


So I started baking at 8am and I finished at 3pm. What was I doing all that time? I also made my Cinnamon Raisin Bread. It turned out even better this time. I think the next time I make it, I will need to cover it with aluminum foil so the inside will still cook and the outside won’t get as dark.


While cupcakes 2.0 were in the oven, I figured out what to do with my first attempt at cupcakes… A TRIFLE!



A traditional trifle uses sponge cake and custard and jelly and such. I like to define a trifle as a layered dessert in a fancy bowl. I used the cupcakes, the frosting, strawberries (frost bitten ones!), and walnuts. I let the ingredients sit for 6 hours before I enjoyed it! The dense cupcakes were able to soak in the separated frosting and the walnuts added a great crunch.

If for some reason you want that failing recipe… let me know…


Why did I let the trifle sit so long you ask? WHALE LET ME TELL YOU.

I had to.


I went fowling for the first time!! Wow oh wow it was so much fun! If you don’t know what fowling is, you have bowling pins set up across a court and you have to throw a football to knock them down.


You guys.  I was not raised playing ball-sports and it never really interested me. When I was little, I felt the “disappointing” feelings of many adults when they asked me if I played basketball (assumingly because I’m tall and black? Yes I went there) and I responded “No. I cheer.”


My first week in the clinic this rotation, my instructor tossed me a weight ball (only .25 lbs) from not even 5 feet away and I didn’t even catch it. I tried but it grazed my hands, but made just enough contact for me to make the ball change directions and head TOWARD the patient I was treating.

The deltoid-punch was during this came.

So I’m not the best with circular or ovular projectile objects, whatever. However, I MUST brag that I knocked down the game winning pin in sudden death. My poor friend who I was with had to deal with me victory-leap-hugging him. Also had to deal with me punching him in the arm earlier because he knocked a lot of pins down at once and it was very impressive.


In the process of trying to knock down all these pins I hit the support beams about 20 times and almost knocked down older ladies and other players. I apologized and she didn’t mind. I was almost hit many times so it may even out. It’s just a hazard of playing.


At the Fowling Warehouse they had a malt liquor on tap, The German Hobo by Old Nation Brewing. You know I like the dark and heavy stuff, right? Try this on for size: 11.8% ABV and 58 IBU. We sipped on this one for a while and enjoyed it fully. I HIGHLY recommend this.

Small tip: Don’t play against muscular men who have dri fit shirts on that say “Michigan Football” because he will most likely knock all your pins down…


With tight and sore scapular external rotator muscles, I present to you my attempt at a cupcake made with Oval Beach Blonde. The end result came out like a sponge cake. I kept it in the refrigerator to keep it firm and turns out it taste better chilled. I also “present” to you a trifle (keep scrolling down for the directions)! ENJOY!


Blonde Ale Cupcakes


Adapted from Deschutes Brewery

Makes 6 cupcakes! Feel free to use the full recipe for more cupcakes!


1/4 c softened butter

1/2 c sugar heaping

1 egg

1/3 t vanilla

3/4 c flour

3/4 t baking powder

pinch of salt

1/3 c Oval Beach Blonde

(Don’t throw away the whole bottle, or drink it all. You will need more!)

1/4? c whole milk 20170128_130016


Heat oven to 375 degrees

  1. In a medium sized bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  2. Add egg and mix well. Add vanilla
  3. In a separate bowl, sift flour, backing powder, and salt together.
  4. In a THIRD bowl, whisk together beer and milk
  5. Alternate the addition of dry and wet ingredients to the butter/sugar. Start and end with dry!
  6. Fill cupcake liners in the tin. I recommend filling it close to full.
  7. Place in oven. Bake approx. 20 minutes and rotate halfway.
  8. After removed from the oven, lightly pierce cupcakes with fork and brush tops with more beer (you’re welcome)
  9. Let cool fully outside of cupcake tin. After cooled, frost!


Frosting Recipe:


Oh you guys know how I don’t do frosting recipes well. Sorry. Here is another poor example, but I just want you guys to love cooking! I (roughly) used,


Half a stick of butter

At least 3 cups of powdered sugar



BEER (at least ½ cup)


Blend butter and p. sugar slowly. Add a cap full of vanilla and a dash of salt. Add beer. Too liquidy? Add p. sugar. Too firm? Add beer.





Trifle Recipe



Cupcakes that didn’t work (or did!)

Berries of your choice

Frosting that didn’t work (or did!)

Nuts if ya want!


  1. Slice cupcakes into 1.5x.5 inch slabs or whatnot.
  2. Cut up fruit if needed
  3. Layer: Cupcakes, frosting, berries & nuts, frosting
  5. Let sit at least 30 minutes to soak in all the goodness Maybe go fowling.


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