Mickey Adults-Only Cupcakes Part 1

More and more people today have a main gig and a side gig. Working multiple jobs is often due to financial needs. However, the older I get the more often I see other professionals, friends and family begin passion projects, even with little chance of financial gains in the beginning, to achieve the satisfaction and pleasure of creating something others enjoy, too. Currently this blog is actually my side gig, though I spend more time on it each week developing recipes, practicing my food photography, and connecting with other Disney Foodies on social media. My main gig is as a home care physical therapist helping older adults recover from injuries, voluntary surgery, or hospitalizations.

Two weekends ago our professional association had its Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) in Denver where I live. Many of my friends from my physical therapy class came together afterward at a local craft brewer called Cerebral Brewing. My husband and I ordered a couple top notch stouts while interacting with friends. Almost immediately I started thinking about how these drinks were surprisingly smooth, flavorful, and really enjoyable! I don't drink often - especially beer - but Cerebral Brewing had some great stuff on tap that night. Almost immediately I started thinking about combining the flavors of coffee, chocolate, and oatmeal with cupcakes and topping them with Mickey ears! Where might these adult cupcakes be found at Disney, though?
When Walt Disney created Disneyland he wanted to avoid the raucous, drunken antics of usual boardwalk affairs and chose to make the park a dry or alcohol free zone. For years there was absolutely no alcohol served at Disneyland. Once Club 33 was created to allow Disney and park sponsors to host special guests, Disney had to relent but only in his secret club. The opening of Oga's Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge changed all of that. It opened the doors to alcohol being served to the public at Disneyland. Across the way at Disney California Adventure (DCA), however, alcohol has had a regular presence at quick service and restaurant locations. It can also be predominantly featured at festivals like the most recent Lunar New Year and upcoming Food and Wine Festival.

Just a short walk into DCA is Carabelle's Hand-Scooped Ice Cream. The classy bovine serves ice cream in a variety of flavors, Mickey kitchen-sink-pants sundaes, and hand dipped ice cream bars. There is also a special adult menu for boozy ice cream bar floats! Varieties include Henry’s Hard Orange Soda, Coney Island Hard Root Beer, Guinness, and seasonally a Hard Cider with ice cream dunked in it. I feel like beer-cupcakes would happily find a place in a dessert case at Carabelle's making a perfect compliment to a hard root beer float! 
The recipe below was made with Cerebral Brewing's Forever Awake - Hazelnut Mocha coffee stout. The can is mysteriously decorated with a panther with glowing orange eyes. Despite having a higher than average alcohol content, this stout is super smooth with chocolate, vanilla, and hazelnut notes. I used these elements to guide my design for this cupcake. I wanted a dark chocolate coffee-beer base to balance sweet and bitter just like a stout or porter beer. An appropriate filling for this cupcake is obviously more delicious, whipped chocolate-espresso goodness. Topping it with light, fluffy Nutella buttercream made my husband proclaim, "I can now die happy!" after finishing a fully dressed cupcake. Friends of mine have also commented on how the flavors are well balanced and cupcakes are moist. The Forever Awake Cupcake doesn't taste like beer but it has all the elements of sweet, bitter, and strong. Sprinkled with crushed hazelnuts and topped with dark chocolate disks for Mickey ears makes them perfectly magical! If underage park guests at home love chocolate and coffee flavor you can swap beer in this recipe for strongly brewed coffee.

Forever Awake Cupcake

Yield: 30 cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

  • 1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cup (300 ml) chocolate porter, coffee stout, or strongly brewed coffee
  • 2 tablespoons (8 g) instant espresso powder (4 sticks NescafĂ© Espresso)
  • ¾ cup (60 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups (280 g) flour
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped Espresso Ganache

  • 13 1/2 ounces (2 1/4 cups) 60% cacao baking chips
  • 9 1/4 ounces (1 1/8 cups) heavy cream
  • 5 ounces (5/8 cup) espresso or strongly brewed coffee

Whipped Nutella Buttercream

  • 3/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (like Nutella)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (170°C). Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. For the Dark Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the beef or coffee and espresso powder. Gradually add the cocoa powder, whisking to combine. Continue to heat until thickened, bringing the mixture to a simmer but not a full boil. Remove from heat and allow the cocoa mixture to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs and buttermilk. Add the vanilla. Once the cocoa mixture has cooled (it should only be slightly warm to the touch), slowly add a little bit to the egg mixture, mixing constantly. Add the remaining cocoa mixture and mix to combine.
  5. Add the flour mixture one third at a time in 3 stages, mixing well to combine.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners about two-thirds full with batter and bake for 17-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
  7. For the Whipped Espresso Ganache: Place the chocolate in a large, heat-safe bowl and set aside.
  8. In a separate, microwave-safe bowl, mix together the cream and espresso/coffee. Microwave until just coming to a boil, about 1 1/2-2 minutes.
  9. Pour liquid over chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool completely, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, make cupcakes.
  10. For the Nutella Buttercream: In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment beat the butter and Nutella together for 2 minutes until combined and creamy, scraping sides as necessary.
  11. Turn mixer to low and add in the powdered sugar, vanilla and heavy cream.
  12. Once the powdered sugar is mixed in turn mixer back up to medium high and whip for 2 more minutes until creamy and fluffy, again, scraping sides as needed.
  13. To fill cupcakes: cut 1 inch hole in cupcake 3/4 depth or use cupcake corer. Fill piping bag with ganache and cut off tip. Fill cupcakes until full. Using 1M Star tip, fill piping bag with buttercream. Starting at edge, follow around cupcake until reaching the center. Top with garnish such as crushed hazelnuts, sprinkles, or chocolate disks for Mickey ears!

Poor Daisy, here, really needs one of these cupcakes to put some pep in her morning step! I would love for you to try these and tell me what you think. Part 2 of my beer-cupcakes is coming soon so check back for another recipe based on the Dark Galaxie oatmeal Stout!


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