Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache #Improv Challenge

This month’s Improv Challenge theme is Hearts and Flours…perfect for Valentine’s Day! Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker is our lovely hostess….and our assignment was to make anything made with flour that incorporated hearts.  If you’d like to join our group, feel free to contact Kristen…March’s pairing is peas and  carrots…I don’t think a dessert is possible with that combo! Darn. Not being too creative when it came to this theme, I grabbed the jar of Valentine sprinkles and remembered the stout cupcakes with caramel buttercream that my friend, Jan, raved about. Chocolate  pleases the hubby…and caramel reels me in every time. But I took it in my own direction when I remembered reading about David Lebovitz’s Caramelized White Chocolate. White chocolate discs are baked in a low temperature oven, stirring every 10 minutes, till caramelized. I added this chalky, tan concoction to hot cream with a pat of butter and whisked till it resembled caramel sauce. I let it cool and beat it into an amazing whipped ganache. Almost unprecedented, these cupcakes drew praise from the hubby, the daughter and me! I did take liberty with the beaters and mixing bowl, licking any and all remains! I wouldn’t say the frosting tastes like white chocolate nor caramel, but something in between…unique and just exquisite. These Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache were divine!

If I’ve inspired you to try this icing, make sure to check out Lebovitz’s post linked above. I found I had a few teeny chalky bits in my “caramel” which were probably due to 10 minutes too long in my oven. Pressing the mixture through a fine mesh sieve would have alleviated any lumps…and there’s a lot more troubleshooting and details in his post.  Doesn’t the resulting mixture look like caramel? I chilled it, then whipped it to frosting consistency. I will play around with the amount of cream next time…I started with a half cup, but think I’ll add an extra tablespoon of cream. If you like to experiment in the kitchen, this is one cupcake you need to try.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache
  • 12 ounces good quality white chocolate, a chunk chopped or fêves/discs
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • ½+ cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa, plus more for dusting finished cupcakes
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purposeflour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch fine salt
  • 1 bottle stout beer (recommended: Guinness)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 250º. Spread white chocolate discs over rimmed baking sheet. Put in oven for 10 minutes to melt. Stir and return to oven.
  2. Remove it from the oven and spread it with a clean, dry spatula.
  3. Continue to cook for and additional 30-60 minutes, stirring at 10 minute intervals. At some points it may look lumpy and chalky.
  4. Cook until the white chocolate is golden brown (like peanut butter), and caramelized. Stir in sea salt.
  5. If it’s lumpy, pulse in a food processor till smooth.
  6. Heat cream and butter in microwave safe bowl till cream is hot and butter is melted. Add white chocolate and whisk till smooth. Chill till ganache is thick but not firm. Whip until it reaches frosting consistency. Set aside till cupcakes are ready to frost.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.
  9. In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, 1 at time. Mix in sour cream until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.
  10. Lightly grease 24 muffin tins. Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each ¾ full. Bake for about 12 minutes and then rotate the pans. Bake another 12 to 13 minutes until risen, nicely domed, and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out.
  11. Top each cupcake with a heap of frosting and dust with cocoa.
  12. Cupcake Recipe adapted from Dave Lieberman
  13. Caramelized White Chocoate adapted from David Lebovitz

Linked to:

The Slow Roasted Italian



  1. They look incredible!

  2. These cupcakes sound wonderful, and I am so intrigued by the ganache. I have never made ganache this way, but I definitely will be trying it out. I love the color, and they look so pretty.

  3. Knock me off my chair, Liz. These look amazing!

  4. I need these in my tummy immediately.

  5. Well you know you’ve got me hooked and knowing all three of you give it a seal of approval, that’s double good for me. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to make white chocolate any more wonderful than it already is, but this is proof positive. I need to run out and buy me some, methinks.

  6. Oh wow, that ganache sounds incredible and on top of a chocolate stout cupcake? Can’t go wrong.

  7. I had no idea white chocolate could be caramelized. Love it!

  8. These look too cute! I liked the caramelized white chocolate idea. Thanks for sharing it Liz.

  9. What a beautiful little cupcake! What is it about a stout beer that makes some dishes – savory and sweet – taste so good? I don’t like beer, but I do like it in recipes. I realized the other day that I haven’t been receiving your email notifications. It looks like you switched platforms. I’ve resubscribed.

  10. Oh my goodness, that ganache frosting sounds amazing! I had no idea you could caramelize white chocolate. How genius! Great recipe to use for this month’s improv challenge.

  11. Ok so, I don’t even like white chocolate…but caramelized? It looks SO GOOD!

  12. I MUST make these gorgeous little cupcakes, I cant believe how good they look/sounds.

  13. I am so intrigued by that frosting! It sounds so wonderful and unique. I am imagining the flavor right now. But I’ll have to give it a try so I don’t have to just imagine it!

  14. I’m new to baking and so far my baking only revolves mostly with cookies, crackers and tarts. I always wanted to try brownies and cupcakes but the local markets only offers hershey’s chocolate bars (or perhaps I haven’t been searching enough) which are so expensive. Your frosting is so mouth-watering.

  15. Oh my, these are extraordinary! Stout with chocolate is a perfect combination, and then that caramelized white chocolate (which you just reminded me has been in my bucket list for ever) is even better. Can´t wait to try these Liz!

  16. Caramelized white chocolate? Wow. Skip the fancy decorating, I want a spoon and the bowl right now!
    Love, love, love these!!!

  17. These cupcakes look sooooooooooooo adorable!

  18. Yummy. I love baking with beer. I think Guiness and chocolate are a perfect pairing.

  19. I saw that Caramelized White Chocolate – I can’t believe the awesome frosting it made. Look sooo good! Pinning this for future reference. I must try it!

  20. What beauties, the ganache sounds heavenly!

  21. That ganache is pure sinful!

  22. these are so creative and sound AMAZING!

  23. Oh my! I saw these come across on Google+ & I told myself I needed to go eat some lunch before I looked at the recipe or else I’d drool all over the monitor! They look beautiful & tasty!

  24. Tee hee! That Skinny Chick Can Bake was a guaranteed stop as I make the rounds of those who answered the Improv Challenge. But I thought I’d start with one of the most appealing pictures and titles in the group. Of course! It was your Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache. Hats off to you Liz for replicating Master Lebovitz’s incredibly intricate ganache!

  25. Love your Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache! They look so decadent and delicious! What a great idea for the Improv Challenge! Hope you have time to stop by and check out my heart-shaped gingerbread cookies.

  26. Caramelized white chocolate sounds heavenly. Your frosting swirls are perfect!

  27. Liiz..I’ve been dying to try David’s caramelized white chocolate for a year or so, now, but what you did with it via turning it into a whipped ganache frosting, is brilliant! I LOVE IT! I am definitely making this to frost a cake!

  28. We must have been baking cupcakes at the same time! It’s my little guy’s birthday today and so he gets to take something in to his class for everyone to share. We made vanilla cupcakes with a butter cream frosting (we can’t be too adventurous with almost every child these days having some kind of allergy or intolerance). Yours sound and look so much better! xx

  29. carol | a cup of mascarpone says:

    What is it about adding guinness to chocolate that makes it so delicious!!! These cupcakes are no exception! Thanks for introducing me to white chocolate ganache…I’ve never tried it before. These cupcakes look incredible, Liz!!!

  30. I’m amazed that you can make caramel with white chocolate! Seriously, my mind is blown. This looks delicious, Liz (as all your tantalizing treats do). I can only imagine how good the soft, moist, chocolate stout cupcakes tasted with that ganache. I’m making this for sure!

  31. I love stout and chocolate together so these cupcakes are speaking my language already but that frosting, oh the frosting! I was just recently reading about caramelized white chocolate. I don’t care for white chocolate but I bet caramelizing it probably really changes the flavor. I need to give this a try!

  32. The concept of caramelized white chocolate opens new horizons of sinfully delicious yumminess.

    The concept of chocolate-stout cupcakes rush out to those horizons, cheering. This sounds wonderful.

  33. Gahhhhhh ! Those cupcakes look sensational , Lizzy ! I can’t help but drool over that beautiful topping *sigh* :D

  34. WOW!!!
    Even the title sounds delicious!
    I would love to try one of these little babies, caramel is probably my favourite flavour :)
    Love all your gorgeous images.

  35. These sound perfect!

  36. YUM!

  37. What perfect cupcakes–I can’t wait to try that frosting. It sounds and looks amazing!

  38. You had me at Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache. I think I may be in love.

  39. I have never heard of Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache – and basically baking white chocolate like this. Wow – whole new world and I LOVE white choc!

  40. This sounds divine. I have never heard of caramelizing white chocolate.

  41. oh Lizzy you always made delicious and beautiful things! I love them!!

  42. I am a huge fan of white chocolate! Why I have never tried it caramelized – beyond me! Need to try it ASAP! Gorgeous cupcakes, Liz!

  43. These cupcakes look amazing, Liz.

  44. That frosting sounds unbelievable amazing!! You are the master of amazing desserts. :)

  45. What did you move and not tell me or something? Or I’ve been that busy? Caramelized White Chocolate, mmm. I see you weren’t holding back here. Hope all is well with you.

  46. These sound like something I would not feel bad about eating a whole batch of.

  47. Oh man, these look really amazing! Beautiful piping job too!!!

  48. These look great! I found you on Foodie Friends Friday.

  49. Hahaha – guinness in cupcakes? I am guessing this would be my husband’s favorite cupcake ever!! The frosting sounds divine.

  50. Wow Liz! White chocolate ganache too? Oh boy!

  51. You know you are a fabulous baker when just looking at your cupcakes make my jeans get tight. YUM! Thank you for linking up at our Ladies Night Celebration . We hope you come back this week and share your favorite cocktails, appetizers and treats!!!

  52. Looks beautiful! I would love you to link this recipe up at our link party. It is open through March 1 & is all chocolate! . Thanks!


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