Football and Manly Men: Blue Moon Cupcakes

Are you ready for some football??? Me neither. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching American football. I just don't have a team. We weren't raised with apple pie and tossing the ol' pig skin. We were raised with paella and soccer.

Sports fanatics are cute and fun to observe. I love hearing all the trash talk and threats fly between friends. I learned that players that cannot dance, aggressively spike the football instead when they score a touch down. I still think it's a strange testosterone-favorite. For one... the uniforms entail tights. The players slap each others butts to say, 'good job tiger!" Maybe it's just me...

To show my appreciation and that I'm a cool girl, I watched the game this past Sunday. Hey- I'm just one of the guys! The guy that made Blue Moon Cupcakes. From scratch. In their pink apron. Shuddap! Ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud to say this is a Michele original.


The cupcakes are based on white cake- they're moist and soft. They're baked with a cup of Blue Moon in the batter then brushed over a 3 times with some more beer to make sure that flavor gets soaked in. Blue Moon is one of the less offensive beers out there. It's got a wheat- orange flavor to it. To bring this out, I added 1/4 cup Orange Juice.

The frosting is a smooth butter cream that's easy to decorate with and very flexible in flavor. Want that Blue Moon to sing? Use just Blue Moon. Want something more subtle? Orange juice or orange extract (go easy on OJ extract- it's potent). For me... I was happy with a mix of the two. You will lick the wrapper.

I hope you enjoy these as much as the boys did. As we were leaving, Jay's eyes lit up and he asked sweetly, 'can you leave me one more cupcake?'

Note: For a white cake with perfect, fine-grained texture, don't beat the egg whites prior to mixing (tip from America's Test Kitchen).

Cake

2 3/4 cups cake flour
1 cup blue moon, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup orange juice
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool

Glaze

1/4 cup Blue Moon

Frosting

3 cups confections sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons Blue Moon (or orange juice)
1 teaspoon Orange Extract (or juice)
Blue food coloring (I did about 3 drops for a light blue)

Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 cupcake tins (yes, I found cute sporty liners). Set rack in middle position.

For the cake.... Pour beer, egg whites, orange juice, and extract into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.

Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.

Add 1/2 cup of beer mixture to crumbs and beat at medium-high speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of beer mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.

Note: If your mix looks grainy- don't panic! I don't have a scale so I use cups which is not the most accurate. Sprinkle in a little more flour and beat until smooth.

Fill tins until about 3/4's full. I love using the ice cream scoop for this. Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 17-19 minutes.

Let cakes rest in pans for 3 minutes. Loosen from sides of pans with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto wire racks. Let cool completely.

For the glaze... simply brush some blue moon onto the cupcake. I did three rounds of brushes. I think this was perfect because I wanted to keep the cupcake as fluffy as possible.

For the frosting... whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Blue Moon(or OJ) and whip it until combined. Add blue food coloring (optional).

Note, do not get tempted to add more then 5 tablespoons of booze/OJ. This will make the frosting too thin to pipe. If you don't care about using a tip and making them all fancy when you frost them- then keep adding!