How early is too early for beer?
One could choose to hold off until after sunrise. Fortunately, crumb toppings are the great equalizer: Is it breakfast? Brunch? Dessert? Who cares! It's beer! Here's to you, patron saint of unnaturally colored alcoholic beverages!
These cupcakes have an exceptionally tender crumb and intense chocolate flavor. They're also extra beery -- double the amount listed in the original published recipe...
Chocolate Stout Cupcakes (adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World!)
Crumb Topping (optional) 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 cup cocoa powder 1/4 cup granulated sugar 2 tbsp neutral oil (like canola or grapeseed)
Cupcakes 1/2 cup soy milk 1 tsp apple cider vinegar 1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour (you can sub in a little whole-wheat flour to give a little bit of a bitter beery edge) 1/3 cup cocoa powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 cup beer (I used Guinness, but Schlafly's coffee stout or Young's chocolate stouts are also excellent choices) 3/4 cup sugar 1/3 cup neutral oil 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 and put paper liners in a muffin tin.
Make the topping, if using: sift (or whisk) together the flour, cocoa, and sugar in a small bowl.
Then, while stirring constantly with a fork, slowly drizzle in the oil. Stop once you have a good proportion of larger crumbs -- you probably won't need to add all of the oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the soy milk and vinegar. Set aside to curdle.
In a medium-size bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the beer, sugar, oil, and vanilla to the soy-milk mixture and whisk until frothy. Add the dry ingredients to wet in two batches, and whisk for a couple of minutes, until no lumps remain.
Fill the tins about three-quarters of the way, and gently top with the crumb topping. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Cool for five minutes in the tin, then cool the rest of the way on a rack.