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Chocolate Beer Cupcakes and An Auction for a Grieving Family

These cupcakes are now for sale to the highest bidder, 4 dozen of them. You pick the beer (or no beer is fine too) and I will deliver them anywhere within Los Angeles County, or you can pick them up. Why? Because, you see, there is this woman, a brave food writer, a mom, who is now a grieving widow.

Do I know her? No, just through her posts and writings. But I know her girls, in a way. I was one of her girls once. I was once a little girl, who’s dad died suddenly. I was a girl with a grieving mom who couldn’t get out of bed. I was a girl who’s big sister taught her to make cereal on the kitchen floor because we wanted mom to sleep, because she didn’t do that too often anymore. I was a girl who didn’t go to the father daughter dance. I was a girl who walked down the isle on her wedding day alone. But Jen, if you read this, I want you to know that I am also a girl who is OK, I grew up to be happy, married a good man, have a little girl of my own and so did that sister who taught me to make breakfast early in the morning on a linoleum floor. Your girls will be OK too. They will cry, they will laugh, they will grieve and they will be OK.

Me and Daddy:

The last thing you should have to worry about when the love of your life dies, when you are parenting grieving children, is money. Here is a bit about what Jen and her family are facing right now, financially:

Written by her friend Shauna:

“As you can imagine, Jennie is overwhelmed not only by her grief, and the sudden responsibility of raising two children by herself, but she is also struggling with this financially. She just learned that she cannot collect widow’s benefits from Social Security because she earns too much money each year. The health insurance for her and her kids runs out in December and she just learned that the total she will have to pay [for health insurance] will be even more than her mortgage. It’s possible she’ll have to pay off the entire mortgage in one lump sum because the apartment was in his name alone.

And more than anything, Mikey wanted Jennie to continue living her dream of being a food writer. And he wanted to make sure his kids were taken care of well. That’s why he worked as hard as he did."

Here is a link to Jen Perillo’s website and a bit about her story:

How can you help?

  1. Bid on these cupcakes (leave your bid in the comment section, starts at $40)
  2. view the other auction items on the BWOB site:
  3. Click on the BWOB badge on my home page (right side) and just give a few bucks
Cupcake auction rules:
  • Claim your prize wtihin 6 months
  • Give 1 week advanced notice for order
  • Enjoy your warm fuzzy feeling that goes along with charitable giving
  • Auction ends September 5th at high noon
  • Perfect for an upcoming party!
On to my original post about these cupcakes:

I love beer. I love cupcakes. It’s only natural that I put these too together. If you don’t like beer, this recipe can be made without and I have to say that brown sugar buttercream is amazing. SO amazing that I even called my sister to tell her about how much I love it and how I want to make a huge vat of it and swim around in it. If you want to make this without the beer, just use 1/2 cup of really hot water, add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved, then follow the rest of the recipe.

Chocolate Cake with Beer Brown Sugar Buttercream

For the Cupcakes:

1 stick of butter

1 cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/3 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup milk

1/2 coffee

1/2 cup oil

For the Frosting:

1 cup of ale or blonde style beer

1 cup of brown sugar

3 sticks of butter softened

1 tsp salt

2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.

In the bowl of stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar, and cream until combine. Add the eggs one at a time, blending well after each egg. Add the vanilla and mix again. In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. in another bowl, combine the milk, coffee and the oil. With the mixer on low, add the dry and wet ingredients a bit at a time alternating between the two.  Line muffin tins with cupcake papers and fill each one with about 3/4 of the way full (about 1/4 a cup of batter).

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when touched. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, put the beer in a sauce pan over high heat and allow to boil until reduced by half. I used a Firestone Pale Ale, microbrews are great for this recipe but IPA’s may be too hoppy and "light/lite" beers won’t have enough flavor. While the beer is still very hot, add the brown sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature. Again, for the non beer version, just add the brown sugar to 1/2 cup of super hot water and stir until dissolved. Microwave it if you need to.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, salt and powdered sugar until combined. Add the beer/sugar mixture and mix slowly until mostly combined, then turn the mixer on high and then whip until the frosting is fluffy and well combined.

Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.

I prefer these at room temperature, but they are still pretty great chilled.