Spirited Cooking: Boozy Cupcakes

Forget chocolate. Forget flowers. To show your sweetheart just how much you care this Valentine’s Day, you need to bake something delicious. But a batch of regular old Toll House cookies isn’t going to cut it. (That goes double for oatmeal cookies.)

The occasion—and, of course, your loved one—deserves an extra-special confection. We’re talking about making some spirited baked goods. These adult treats combine two of our favorite things, liquor and dessert.

In the past, we’ve served sinfully good Bourbon, Vanilla and Chocolate Milk Shakes, a decadent Chocolate Whiskey Tart and rich Almond Cognac Cookie Sandwiches.

But we wanted to whip up a new dish for the holiday, so we asked New York’s Prohibition Bakery for the recipe for one of their boozy creations. Co-owners Brooke Siem and Leslie Feinberg suggested their A Port in the Storm mini-cupcakes, which call for tawny port and coffee stout, plus dark cocoa powder, milk chocolate and espresso.

After a few of these delicacies, we’re sure your sweetheart will be quite appreciative. You can thank us later.

A Port in the Storm Cupcakes

Contributed by Brooke Siem and Leslie Feinberg

  • 4 oz Coffee stout beer
  • .5 cup (1 stick) Unsalted butter
  • 45 g (about 3 tbsp) Dark cocoa powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 75 g (about .25 cup plus 1 tbsp) Sour cream or full-fat plain yogurt
  • 125 g (about 4.5 oz) Flour
  • 200 g (about 7 oz) Sugar
  • .75 tsp Baking soda
  • .5 tsp Salt


  • .33 cup Heavy cream
  • 4 oz Divine milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 4 oz Tawny port


  • 8 oz (2 sticks) Butter, at room temperature
  • 1 lb Powdered sugar
  • .25 cup Brewed espresso, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp Espresso powder

For the cake, preheat the oven the 325 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine the beer and butter and heat until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. In an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and sour cream. With the mixer running, pour in the beer mixture and beat until fully incorporated. In another bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to the mixer and beat until just incorporated. Fill lined mini-cupcake tins two-thirds of the way with batter. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool completely on a cooling rack. (Makes about 45 mini-cupcakes.)

For the filling, heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until just bubbling. Be careful not to let it boil over. Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Let stand for a minute or two and then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter and slowly pour in the port while whisking. (Mixture will be thin.) Transfer to a squeeze bottle and refrigerate until cool.

For the frosting, beat the butter in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar. Slowly pour in the brewed espresso and beat until smooth. Stir in the espresso powder and transfer to a piping bag.

To assemble, use a small pastry tip to core out the center of each cooled cupcake. Using the squeeze bottle, fill each with the port filling, and then frost as desired.

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