With only one week of residency left, I’m sharing a recipe today that commemorates the neighborhood Ryan and I have been living in the past two years. When I got accepted to Columbia and started working all the way up at 168th St, I was a bit disappointed that living further downtown like a lot of my college friends would be extremely inconvenient for my commute. We settled on the area known as Hell’s Kitchen, part of Midtown West, close to Columbus Circle, Central Park, and the A train, which gets me to work in under 30 minutes. Today the neighborhood is known for its character, large gay population, and endless rows of bars and restaurants. It didn’t always used to be a popular part of NYC, it’s only in the past 20 years that or so that 9th Avenue has become safer and more gentrified. Although I was hesitant to live here when I was first new to the city, now I am one of Hell’s Kitchen’s biggest fans. So here are some cupcakes full of flavor, booze, and a bit of debauchery, just like my dear home.

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There’s a trendy indoor market that opened up in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen with all sorts of culinary offerings. And, according to my Dad and Ryan, some of the best ice cream ever! Ample Hills Creamery has a counter there and after trying some scoops a few weeks ago and hearing my Dad’s raving reviews, I knew the perfect flavors to work with for a father’s day dessert. His favorite ice cream there was the Hell’s Kitchen Sink, which they describe aptly as an explosion of flavors – “dark chocolate and Guinness extra stout with chili-spiced brownies, cookie dough, and toffee bar crunch”. So for these cupcakes, we have dark chocolate Guinness cupcakes, chili-infused brownie batter frosting, topped with cookie dough balls and toffee bits. Do I need to even say how good these are!?!?

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My favorite part was definitely the frosting. The brownie batter gives it tons of classic chocolate flavor (thanks to brownie mix being added to the frosting) and the bit of cayenne adds just a slight spicy aftertaste that really makes it special. Paired with the indulgent chocolate cupcake that has tons of moisture and deep flavor, and of course the cookie dough bites and toffee, it’s a no-brainer. And if you’re in New York City any time soon, make sure to check out my ‘hood, and stop by Ample Hills Creamery at Gotham West Market to get the frozen version of this flavor explosion. If it’s not the colorful crowds (Pride Parade this weekend, yay!) or endless Thai restaurants that draw you to Hell’s Kitchen, the ice cream should be reason enough. And if a visit to NYC isn’t in the cards for you, try these cupcakes for a taste of the booze and hell’s fire that you can find here :)

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In order for something to have the words “kitchen sink” in the title, you know there are a lot of ingredients involved. Yes, I admit, there’s a lot going on here. A from-scratch cupcake and frosting, cookie dough balls also homemade, and assembly that isn’t the easiest. But when it comes to Father’s Day, I didn’t want to disappoint! These are definitely special occasion cupcakes that will require some extra work, but totally, 100% worth it, I promise.

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Hell's Kitchen Sink Cupcakes

Cupcake recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, frosting recipe adapted from Your Cup of Cake

Yield: 12 cupcakes


for the dark chocolate stout cupcakes:

1/2 cup Guinness extra stout beer
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
5 tbsp sour cream

for the chili brownie batter frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup brownie mix
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

for the cookie dough balls:

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/8cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate

for decoration:

1/2 cup toffee bits
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips


for the dark chocolate stout cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners. Combine the Guinness and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat, add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and sour cream. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture and continue to beat until well mixed. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

for the chili brownie batter frosting:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the dry brownie mix and cocoa powder and continue to beat for another 2 minutes until smooth. Add the vanilla and milk and beat again. Add the powdered sugar slowly, then beat on medium speed for another 5 minutes. If the batter appears too thick, add another tablespoon of milk, and if it's not thick enough, add powdered sugar in 1/4 cup increments until you get your desired consistency.

for the cookie dough balls:

In a small bowl whisk together the flour and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the melted butter, sugars, and vanilla until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the flour until just incorporated. Add the mini chocolate chips or chopped chocolate and keep mixing until well distributed. Once dough is formed, roll little balls (about 1/4-1/3" big) and store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to decorate.

for assembly:

Load the frosting into a piping bag with a large star tip. Pipe swirls of frosting on each cupcake and set 3-4 cookie dough balls atop each one. Sprinkle with toffee bits. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl by microwaving in 30 second intervals, stirring well in between each interval, until completely melted. Drizzle chocolate over the decorated with a spoon. Allow chocolate to set either at room temperature for 20 minutes, or in the fridge for 10 before serving.

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One Response to “Hell’s Kitchen Sink Cupcakes”

  1. #
    June @ How to Philosophize with Cake — June 24, 2015 @ 6:10 pm

    Wow those look incredible!! The “chili brownie batter frosting” sounds incredible :)

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