Elaine Barbee's "You Make Me Want to Stout" cupcakes -- chocolate with stout beer in the batter, filling and frosting -- won first place in Scharffen Berger's annual Chocolate Adventure Contest. Barbee, of St. Charles, receives $10,000 and a feature in an upcoming issue of Food Network Magazine.
More than 2,000 people submitted entries in this year's cupcake-themed competition. Besides Scharffen Berger chocolate, bakers had to use at least one of 14 "adventure" ingredients, which included stout, bee pollen, almond flour, fresh beets and saffron.
"It was the kind of cupcake we all wanted to eat and keep eating and then eat again," said Matt Armendariz, a food blogger and photographer who helped judge the cupcakes on creativity, appearance and flavor. "The stout in the cupcake and filling added a malty, sharp note that complemented the chocolate so well. It was interesting and unique, and stood out among all the entries."
Both Barbee's and the third-place recipe call for beer. Barbee suggests a milk or cream stout (she uses Left Hand Milk Stout), while any type of stout will do for Jennifer Burke's "Beer Bellies Cocoa-Stout Cupcakes with Beer-Malt Frosting." Adventurous Burke, of California, also incorporated coconut butter, sweetened condensed milk, chili pepper and Meyer lemon from the special-ingredient list.