Black and Tan Cupcakes


Everyone seems to love chocolate Guinness cake, and so I made Black and Tan cupcakes.

As someone who is not a fan of beer, I can say without bias that these are divine.

A classic black & tan is made with dark stout or porter (traditionally Guinness, but a Wild Rose Oatmeal Stout or Big Rock Espresso Stout would be just fab) and pale ale, the contrast creates a light bottomed, dark topped pint; the layering of the Guinness on top of the ale or lager is possible because the relative density of the stout is less than that of the ale.

These cupcakes are the reverse – dark on the bottom and golden on top. The Guinness chocolate cupcakes are dense and moist, and the frosting, also spiked with stout, doesn’t taste of beer but has a buttery, caramelly flavor that I found completely addictive – I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s probably a good thing actual beer doesn’t taste like this. The butter and sugar probably helps.

To get swirly-topped cupcakes like these, spoon the frosting into a zip-lock bag, seal, snip off a corner and pipe it out. Easy – and no clean up!

Black and Tan Cupcakes


March 13, 2011


1/2 cup butter

1 cup Guinness or other dark stout

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

1 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

Guinness frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4-1/3 cup Guinness


1In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the Guinness over medium heat; remove from heat, pour into a bowl and whisk in sugar and cocoa. Whisk in the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking soda and salt just until blended. Divide the batter between paper-lined cupcake tins and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes, until tops are springy to the touch.

2To make the frosting, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar and Guinness until you have a spreadable frosting.

3 Wait until the cupcakes have cooled completely before frosting.


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28 comments on “Black and Tan Cupcakes

  1. Jennifer Jo
    March 13, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Thanks for the P.S., Julie. But here’s the question: is there a little pocket of air under all that icing? When I start swirling the icing (and I cut a bag, like you suggested) around the outside edge, moving towards the center and simultaneously going up, it leaves a gap that then collapses inward.

    Or maybe you start from the center, move out, and then move back in (and up) again?

    Do my questions make any sense?

  2. JulieVR
    March 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    That makes total sense! for sure -whatever works for you!

  3. Fiona
    March 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I wonder if you could make those with Strongbow icing, and then they’d be a Crown Float in cupcake form…

  4. JulieVR
    March 13, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    oooooh – brilliant! funny, I pulled out a can of Strongbow (thought it was a Guinness!) and wondered the same, but didn’t make the crown float connection!

  5. sara
    March 13, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Awesome idea! Love these cupcakes…they look delicious! 🙂

  6. Lana in South Mountain (ON)
    March 14, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Made these on the weekend to taste-test in preparation for our annual St. Pat’s Party! One recipe made 18 dozen so now I need to make enough for 75 people. 🙂
    They are yummy!

  7. Dana
    March 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I love the idea of this icing!

  8. Gineva
    March 15, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I made these cupcakes, and they are fabulous. The only thing is if you want to do the swirly top icing, you have to double the icing, there’s not enough for all the cupcakes!

  9. Catherine
    March 16, 2011 at 10:25 am

    I am a hugggggge fan 🙂
    Quick question. Can these be made a day in advance and stored in the fridge?

  10. JulieVR
    March 16, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Aw, shucks! I’m blushing here at my desk in my PJs.

    You could totally make them in advance. Refrigerate them only if you frost them first (and even then, only to keep the frosting from sagging) – baked goods like bread actually go stale faster in the fridge than at room temp. (That’s why they invented bread boxes!)

  11. Catherine
    March 16, 2011 at 10:50 am


  12. Veronica
    March 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    I made these last night for the office and they were a hit. The only complaint I received was that I should have also offered a bottle of Guinness with each cupcake. 😉

    I followed the recipe exactly and I was able to get 20 cupcakes. Each cupcake well was filled up with 1/4 cup of batter. I didn’t do the fancy frosting design, I just iced them so they’d fit in the cupcake carrier and a light sprinkling of green sanding sugar on top of the frosting. One of my co-workers loved them so much that she wants a black & tan birthday cake. 🙂 Thank you for a great recipe.

  13. Judy
    March 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks Julie….these are my new favorite cupcake and that’s high praise ’cause I’mnot usually a cupcake person.

  14. Renee
    March 17, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    I adore cupcakes, and these look incredible! I’m more of a Strongbow girl myself, but I would buy Guinness just for these!

  15. Shawna H
    March 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    This was inspiring! I decided to celebrate St. Patricks day as an excuse to make these. I did Guinness braised lamb shanks for dinner with mashed potatoes. We finished dinner with these cupcakes. My husbands thinks we should have a big celebration for St. Patricks day every year now.

  16. Ashley @ It's Fitting
    March 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Holy hell, these look AWESOME! I’m a HUGE black and tan fan, so I can’t wait to try these. Perfect for St Patty’s Day!

  17. Danielle
    November 8, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    My frosting looks curtled. What did I do wrong? How can I fix it

  18. D
    March 17, 2013 at 8:12 am

    The frosting is tricky, but for those having problems with it, this might help.

    I used 3/4 cup butter to 3 cups of powdered sugar.
    Measure and allow Guinness to sit a few minutes, to reduce the foam. This helps alot.

    Cream the Butter and Powdered Sugar together first, until the two are well incorporated. (Will be lumpy at this time.)

    Add the Guinness slowly into the mix, a drizzle at a time. You will be able to see the frosting come together and watch the consistency. Adding too much at once will cause it to seperate and get the ‘curdled’ consistency.

    Hope it helps!

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