Thursday, 29 January 2009

RipTide Ice Cream and Cupcakes

Beer with dessert is the finest way to end a meal and there are so many great matches out there: stout and strawberries, cherry beer and chocolate, barley wine and blue cheese, massive IPA with mature cheddar... Sometimes it can be a challenge (a fun challenge) to get a really great match without overpowering either dinner or drink, but when you get it right it can be awesome. For these recipes the beer was an essential part of the dessert.

I made these with BrewDog’s RipTide and it's a fantastic beer to use. It's rich, strong and packed with chocolate and coffee flavours which means that it’s got plenty of character to shine out and not get lost in the baking or the freezing.

The ice cream is glorious; it’s thick and creamy and it has this absolutely perfect depth of chocolate from the stout. It really is stunning. The cupcakes are light, moist, chocolatey, chewy. The best things about both of these treats are; 1) you can make the ice cream and the cakes at the same time, from just one 330ml bottle of stout; 2) they taste great together, especially if the cakes are still warm, or are delicious on their own; and 3) my girlfriend - who hates beer - absolutely loved both of these. That shocked me and made me smile - I finally won her over with beer, even if it was in dessert form. I challenge anyone who ‘doesn’t like beer’ to not like either of these.

If you wanted to use another beer then I’d suggest a fairly robust stout full of roasted grain flavours, rich, sweet and strong, but not overly hopped (too much hop bitterness in the ice cream leads to a dry tannic finish, which is odd). I reckon Thornbridge’s St Petersburg Imperial Stout would make incredible ice cream, as would Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout and Oatmeal Stout or the Foreign Extra Guinness. I tried making the ice cream with BrewDog’s Isle of Arran (10% imperial stout aged in whisky casks) and that worked well, just use less beer to compensate for the extra ABV strength. I really want to try an IPA ice cream, probably with fruit juice added to sweeten the hop bitterness, I just don’t know if it’ll work?! There’s only one way to find out…

One note before we jump in. The beer should be poured and rested before you cook with it. You don’t want it cold and you don’t want bubbles in it.

RipTide Ice Cream

I favour the simple approach to ice cream which avoids any of the worrying custard making. I just use condensed milk and double cream and it’s perfect every time.

  • 400ml can condensed milk
  • 1 pint double cream
  • 150ml-200ml stout
  • Splash of vanilla extract

Mix the milk and cream and add the vanilla and 150ml of the beer, stirring it all together. Give it a taste. You’ll get all the sweet roast grain flavours in there and if you think it needs more beer than add more – make it to your taste (bear in mind that once the ice cream is frozen the flavours will be less pronounced, so don’t err on the side of caution). Next just churn it in an ice cream machine. It goes from nought-to-frozen in half an hour, but you may need to give it extra time in the freezer to set it hard, depending on your machine. And that’s it.

RipTide Cupcakes

Makes 12

The cupcakes:

  • 125g softened butter
  • 100g dark sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175g plain flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 150ml stout
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 50g dark chocolate

The icing:

  • Tub soft cream cheese
  • 25g icing sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • Drop of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat in. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and stir together. Add the stout bit by bit and work it in to make a thick batter. Grate the dark chocolate into this batter. Pour the mix into muffin cases and bake for 18-20 minutes.

When they are done allow them to cool while you make the icing. Do this by mixing the tub of cream cheese (low fat is fine) with the icing sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla (the cocoa powder isn't strictly essential if you don't fancy a chocolatey icing). Taste it and add more of each if required – you want it just sweet but not sickly and overpowering. These cakes are great without even adding the icing.

The best beer to serve with this? That’s obvious; the beer you cook with. RipTide is ideal as it’s got the perfect oomph of strength to stand up to the sweetness in each (it’s especially good with the cakes). You will want a big strong beer because if you’ve been making little cupcakes all afternoon and there’s flour in your hair/beard then you will need something to toughen you up again. Enjoy.


  1. They look fantastic - may have a go at this over the weekend. I can imagine them working quite well with Czech dark lagers as well.

  2. Sounds great. I had liquorice ice cream once - it was a bit grey, but tasted amazing

  3. Dark lager would be a good choice in both, pour it well in advance though to kill the fizz. You will need it to be full of flavour to stand out in the cupcakes.

    Zak - I've never seen liquorice ice cream, it sounds intriguing. The colour is a bit off-putting - I try to avoid eating anything grey!

  4. Yes, these do look tasty. I've had some disappointing beer/food pairings recently, in which both the beer and the food have tasted less interesting as a result. Do you have any other suggestions to rekindle my faith?

  5. Disappointing matches are part of the fun, just instead of having it with dinner you get to enjoy the beer after!

    I had a harvestouin old engine oil with chocolate raisins yesterday and that was fantastic. I'm really into IPAs and mature cheddar or strong stout with blue cheese. I've got plenty of recipes coming up in the next few weeks. I'm also loving big american-style IPAs with carrot cake. Sam smith's best ale is a perfect roast dinner beer, whatever the meat!

  6. Perhaps instead of the dark lager, a Baltic Porter would be better? Hmmm, time to experiment methinks.

  7. A baltic porter would be a brilliant choice. Both recipes are easy so they are ideal for experimenting with different beers. Let me know how you get on!

  8. Will have to work out how to do th eice cream without a machine - but I imagine that won't be a major trauma.

  9. I believe you just make it up the usual way and put it in a container and stir it through every hour or two to stop it being too icy or hard.

    If you use a porter make sure you find the one with the least pronounced hops, this'll give you the best results. It's a great ice cream, surprising good!

  10. Good to see I'm not the only one baking with beer!

  11. Have these in the oven right now, hope they taste as good as they smell!!

  12. Hey Kristy, hope you enjoyed the cupcakes!!