Drink your beer and eat it too with these orange peel, coriander and chamomile Witbier-inspired beer cupcakes!
This recipe is a bit of a different direction from our past “cooking with beer” recipes. In all honestly these beer cupcakes are more so “inspired by” than “required to contain” beer. I wanted to come up with a unique cupcake recipe idea when I realized that the Belgian Witbier I had just brewed had all the elements for an awesome dessert — assuming everything was turned up to 11. One trick I’ve always loved in recipe design is looking at what works in one area of food or drink and applying it to another. Look at how many cocktails look to emulate desserts, for example.
With a white cake base, citrus peels, coriander and a touch of chamomile these cupcakes already contain loads of “witbier character” to the point that adding actual beer is arguably redundant. Regardless I’ve made them with and without beer so I decided to include both options. Without the beer I think they lose a bit of a the bready malty goodness but overall the character is still there.
Common Commercial Witbiers
- Blue Moon/Belgian Moon/Rickard’s White
- Shock Top
- Blanche de Chambly
- Allagash White
The goal with the cake was to have the citrus and spices be present but not over the top and for it to all blend together, much like a witbier. In my early attempts I overdid it with the orange peel and they essentially became ordinary orange cupcakes. I’ve provided weights for those additions so you can avoid my mistakes though I recognize for many people accurately measuring to the gram, even with a kitchen scale, may be nearly impossible. Therefore I tried to include notes on volumes where I could, but really, take them as a very rough estimate. Don’t let that discourage you. Worst case scenario they’re just a different kind of awesome.
The decorating was pretty straight forward. I piped on the frosting, but slap in on with whatever you want if you’re not looking to impress anyone. Sure, just put out a bowl of frosting and let people frost their own cupcake. People like to feel empowered.
If you’re feeling extra saucy, you can put on a piece of candied orange peel, a piece of fresh orange, those little mandarin orange dealies that come in a can, or an orange gummy. This is especially important if you want to give off that “wow this place must really know how to serve a beer because they garnished it” Witbier vibe. I sprinkled some extra ground coriander to give it a bit more of that smell.
The beer-free version of these were brought out to an Easter Seals charity cupcake competition. The response was very positive, primarily among the adults, with many people commenting on how “fresh” they tasted. Much like a Witbier, I assume this character comes from the coriander. With those elements transferring over from beer to cupcake I’ll consider this a success!