Local Bounty: August 27

PubCakes: hopped up on dessert

I first wrote about Misty Birchall and her unique PubCakes two years ago. The baking hobbyist began creating her beer-infused cupcakes for friends, then started  selling them at local pubs like Toronado, The Tipsy Crow, and The Tap Room. A  business was born. Two years later, Birchall now has her own shop on El Cajon Blvd. and is still selling at Toronado, KnB Wine Cellars, Bottlecraft, The Tipsy Cow, and Perks Café at UCSD.

She’s also got a stall at the Mission Hills Farmers Market on Wednesday afternoons and the North County Farmers Market on Sunset Dr. on Sundays.  There you can find a sweet assortment of standard and mini cupcakes in flavors that rotate seasonally. The standards are $3.50 each or $40 a dozen. The minis are $1.75 each or $20 a dozen. Plus, they sell a sampler six-pack for $10.50.

Yes, the concept sounds weird, but as I wrote initially, Birchall has a clear gift for pairing flavors—say a light hefeweizen with citrus or a hefty porter with chocolate—so that the craft beers inform the results and give the cake wonderfully moist texture. Here are some flavors I tried recently and recommend:

irish carbomb cupcake

Irish Carbomb

Deep, dark, and delicious, the Irish Carbomb revolves around Guinness Stout, with its familiar tang. Birchall turns it into a chocolate cake, topped by—what else—Irish cream frosting with a chocolate whiskey ganache.

stoned portzilla cupcake

Stoned Portzilla

Birchall goes local with this Stone Brewing Smoked Porter, a dark, complex ale, that is the basis for the light cake, and then adds a coffee ganache and crunchy caramelized coconut to really mix up the flavor and texture.

top ten cake cupcake

Top Ten Cake

With renowned Karl Strauss Brewing Company’s Tower 10 IPA as the basis for the  cake, Birchall melds the bitter, citrusy hops flavors with a cayenne caramel filling, cherry buttercream, and ancho chile powder. The result is a balanced, assertive combination of flavors that more than complement the inspiration of the IPA.

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