Monday, July 2, 2012

Another Play Comes to a Close -- Chocolate Stout Cupcakes With Biscoff Buttercream

For the past four years or so, I've been participating in my local theater group's Summer Musical. It's an event I look forward to every year, and I love my group (The Country Players) and the shows we do. Theater has been a passion of mine for just about as long as I can remember: I was always absolutely abysmal at sports in my school years, but I thrived on stage. It always felt like an extension of Halloween to me, a chance to disappear into someone else and play someone entirely different. For a while, I even entertained the idea of going to school for theater, but ultimately decided it was not a career option for me and earned a BFA degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing instead. Today, I find comfort in knowing that there are still many outlets for me to perform in, and I feel very lucky to have this little theater group in my area. Sadly, this year they decided not to do a musical, and instead chose a play that had no age-appropriate parts I could play and ended up pre-casting with no auditions. I found myself desperately trying to find something to fill that time, fill the void that was looming in my summer, and began reaching out to other theater groups in the area.

Froggy is confused at Charlie's newfound confidence

I took a chance and tried out for Ja'Duke, who was auditioning for a play I'd never heard of before: The Foreigner, a non-musical comedy. I didn't have high hopes, not only had I never done a show with this group before--you tend to pay your dues in community theater with small or chorus roles and work your way up--but there were a bunch of very talented people at auditions and I knew absolutely no one and I didn't know anything about the play. I find non-musicals a lot harder to do. With musicals, the momentum tends to build until the next song, and then you get a little break as you have time to build up again. To me, it seems like you get a little bit of a rest after a big musical number, since everyone is all hyped up from all the action, and the audience needs a little time to relax. Without music, you need to keep the momentum going at all times so the audience doesn't fall asleep. Musicals are hard, for sure, with all the dancing and singing and dancing while singing PLUS the acting, but I honestly find other plays even more difficult. This was definitely going to be a challenge for me.

Catherine is not pleased with this candle. Or this man, really.

Somehow, despite all my worrying, I landed the role of Catherine, the ex-debutante who screams and sneers her way through the first two scenes before revealing a softer side to the show's protagonist. For a comedy, it was still a very complex character. My direction for the part was: "I want you to make her as unlikable as possible, then you need to win everyone back with your monologue"--what a challenge! All of my castmates were unbelievably talented, and our director was absolutely awesome. He had the amazing ability to give constructive criticism and gently push us in the right direction and explain exactly what he wanted us to do in terms we'd understand, never once raising his voice or getting frustrated with us. I've experienced a lot of directors--some good, some bad, some who seem to not know what they're doing or even like what they're doing. But this was one of the good ones, for sure, and I hope I get to work with him again in the future.

Charlie and Ellard at breakfast

The theater was tiny, but the talent was huge. Every single person captured their role perfectly. There were no weak links that I could see, no roles that could have been a better fit with someone else. And the chemistry among us all was just fantastic. I feel so very lucky to have been a part of this experience. It's always sad when a play ends, because you'll never have the exact same experience again with the same people. Even if you do the same play, you'll never have the same actors, or even the same director, or the same stage, and it will always be different. 

The cast and our awesome director.

Thanks for the memories, all. Here, have some cupcakes.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Biscoff Buttercream

(Recipe from We Are Not Martha)

  • 1/2 Cup Guinness (or other stout)
  • 1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup cocoa powder
  • 1 Cup flour
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 Cup sour cream (full fat)

-Bring stout and butter to a low simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and stir until well combined. Remove from heat.
-In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. 

-In yet another bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream. Add the stout mixture and beat until well combined. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Fill cupcake cups 3/4 full of the mixture and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Biscoff Buttercream
(Recipe from A Dash and a Pinch)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup Biscoff spread
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

-Put the softened butter and biscoff spread into a bowl, and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar until it thickens. Add milk until you reach you desired consistency. Frost cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with cocoa powder if you feel fancy.


  1. I told you that the biscoff buttercream was amazing!!! And I LOVE your birdie background. It's so cute!

    1. Hehe thanks! I found a great resource for funky fabric in town, squares of all sorts for $2. However, these pictures remind me that natural light is best, as they are kind of fuzzy and dark...

  2. oh this sounds like such a fun experience! and these cupcakes look AMAZING!!!

  3. Hello Ashley
    Thanks for the Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Biscoff Buttercream recipe.
    I'll create one for sure, my kids are gonna like it :)
    If you don't mind, can you submit your Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Biscoff Buttercream photo in ?
    It's a food photography site full of all DIY food pictures from members around the world. submit by yourself and let me know when you did, so I can share it.

  4. Sounds like in the end, it was meant to be! And I love that you pushed yourself to do something you weren't 100% comfortable with. :)

    These cupcakes - amaze.

  5. Alright, what's up with the Biscoff spread that is popping up everywhere?? How do I get it (or better yet, get to taste one of these delicious cupcakes!)?

    1. It took me forever to find too! Eventually it popped up in my local supermarket. It's spread made from Lotus cookies--like the cookies you get on airplanes. It tastes like cinnamon teddy grahams with the consistency of peanutbutter. It's crazy good and best eaten by spoonful.

  6. I made something very similar to these for Tylers birthday. Corona cupcakes with stout icing (guiness) Yum!

  7. great cupcakes and congrats on getting the part how cool

  8. Aw so fun! I'm so glad that you continue to do theater--there are so many great, fun options for people who love to do it for fun and I'm glad you know that! :) These cupcakes look sooo good (I totally want to lick all that frosting off asap :P)

  9. Hi Ashley! It looks like you have a wonderful team and glad to hear you enjoyed the play. :-) And beer in the cupcakes? Wow that's interesting and I'd love to try this!

  10. Cake; perfect fodder for post show blues. Have they hit yet? I remember from my theatre days that they were always the hardest.

  11. Oh my goodness I want to eat the whole batch of these!! Your theatre sounds like a blast!!!