Support Crew Report – Mnt Hood to CRG

You have seen the Mt Hood to Columbia River Gorge run report from Beth detailing her 45 mile back country run. However, you haven’t ever seen what the support crew, the dog and I, have to do to support such a monumental effort! Spoiler: It involves a lot of driving (200 miles), a lot of waiting (10 hours!), and some fun hiking.

You have seen the Mt Hood to Columbia River Gorge run report from Beth detailing her 45 mile back country run. However, you haven’t ever seen what the support crew, the dog and I, have to do to support such a monumental effort! Spoiler: It involves a lot of driving (200 miles), a lot of waiting (10 hours!), and some fun hiking.

Resupply points are important for water, nutrition, and a mental break

Although there are some beastly runners that go unsupported for a hundred miles or more, we found a nice balance by resupplying every 16-20 miles. Beth is able to pack enough nutrition to last a 50k, but her 2 liter water bladder runs low after 3 hours running the trails. This is the single biggest thing we provide to her. If we meet her in a remote area, I will pack in 4-5 liters of water to fill her up and have enough for the pup and I to make it out. If we meet up at the car, we will have ice-cold water waiting for her in Yetis–now that’s a real treat!

Although Beth can pack enough nutrition for a 50k, having some fresh crackers, baked potato wedges, and dumping the sticky empty containers provides a nice relief. You can see below the typical food I carry for the resupply: Lots of Gu gels and gummies, Kind bars for later in the run, and even Nuun electolyte tablets for really long, hot runs. Missing from the picture is perhaps the runners best calorie-packed friend: bananas!

Besides water and food, we also provide a mental break for Beth–imagine that! After 3-4 hours of nothing but her own thoughts and hearing her feet plodding on the ground, she is excited to have the goal of seeing us and taking small break. We make sure she’s feeling good all around and provide her any support material such as K-Tape, sunblock, Body Glide, or even bug repellent.

Route planning happens days before the race and needs to work for both of us

Beth ran through some remote, back country areas in Mount Hood National Forest, so it was tough to plan where to meet up that I could drive and hike in the time it would take her to get there. We broke this course into 3 sections (check the map). Each section allows Beth to cover 13-16 miles and me to arrive there well before she did so I would be ready and could get in some hiking myself.

Mnt Hood to CRG map with resupply points.
Mnt Hood to CRG map with resupply points.

Beth was able to cut a mostly direct path through the forest, but I had to drive about 150 miles total to accommodate each one of the stops and the final pickup (gray lines indicate my driving route).

One of the hardest parts of doing these back country runs is that without cell phone reception, there is no way to check in with each other about timing, trail conditions, or change-ups. We do well, though, by having a good handle on estimated time, distance, and elevation gains. When I prep my resupply pack, I carry just about anything she may immediately need.

Ran 45 miles in 11 hours with 2 resupply points

Started at Timberline Lodge Ski Area at 9:30a

We drove from Portland to the South side of Mount Hood at Timberline Lodge Ski Area to reach the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) starting point at 0900. The elevation here is around 7,000 ft above sea level and really puts a burden on the lungs and legs. After a bit of wandering around to find the trailhead, Beth started her run at 0930!

Mnt Hood at Timberline Lodge Ski Area at the end of June, still skiing!

We knew we would be pushing dusk in 11 hours but were excited for this journey–C’est la vie.

Stop 1 at Lolopass Rd and PCT at 1:30p, 4 hours running

Mnt Hood from Lolopass Rd PCT trailhead, 13 miles away

Stop 1 was an easy 45-min drive for me down the mountain to the North side of Mount hood. That gave me plenty of time to hike up the trail a few miles to meet Beth at the trail intersection. The pup and I went 2 miles up the trail to a big intersection and waited about an hour for Beth to come rambling up a brutal climb to greet us. We all run back to the car together and got a feel for the next 30 miles!

Notably, this first leg took almost an hour more than expected because of the high altitude and 3k ft worth of climbs, setting us up for late and dark post-9pm finish time.

Stop 2 at Wahtum Lake at 5:30p, 7 hours running

Mnt Hood from Wahtum Lake, 32 miles away

It was a windy, single-lane, paved road to Wahtum Lake for stop 2. Snickers and I arrived two hours before we estimated Beth would come through, so we took a nap in the car in the busy little campground parking lot. 🙂 Afterwards Snickers and I headed down to the lake to see the sights and capture a few photos.

Wahtum Lake Campground, gorgeous water in a bowl surrounded by high trees.
Wahtum Lake, log jam

Beth came rambling down just before 5:30pm at 32 miles run! We jogged up to the car to resupply Beth with some water and food. At this point it was getting late. Although there was 3.5 hours of sunlight left, that would leave very little room for error if the last 13 miles took longer than expected. Beth was motivated to finish the course she had planned at 45 miles! She was feeling good and chose to continue forward. She had to finish at the Gorge because there were no roads or pickup spots in between Wahtum Lake and the end.

End at Columbia River Gorge at 8:30p, 11 hours running

By 5:30pm we were both getting pretty hungry: Beth having eaten mostly Gu gels, some granola bar, and half a potato, and I only had some trail mix and a granola bar. I had made a plan to have food ready to go by the time I met Beth at the trailhead. I stopped in Hood River at a Hawaiian BBQ place and got a couple big containers of meet, rice, and noodles–post run power food??

45 mile route with resupply points, view from South to North

I arrived at the trailhead a little after 7:00pm, and I scarfed down half the food in no time. Beth had gotten cell reception and texted me around 7:30pm that she was really feeling fatigued. I had been debating on hiking in to meet her, but that sealed it for me. I loaded the pack with some snacks, electrolytes, and the hiking poles and headed up the trail to meet her. I left the dog napping in the car. I was glad I ate food, because I wanted my strength to help Beth–it’s like they say on the plane, put on your own mask before helping others.

We were losing light fast in the woods near the Gorge, so I was a bit worried we were going to have a dark hike back to the car. Two miles into the Herman Creek trail I made it to the PCT intersection. I had estimated I would meet Beth at this point and not seeing her I was a bit worried she had run our of steam up the hill. I gave her a call in hopes I could connect with her live and sure enough I did! Luckily she was only a quarter mile up the trail! I rambled up and we were able to meet there! I immediately gave her some more potatoes and electrolytes along with the hiking poles. She was looking totally wore out but was still on her feet. After a couple minutes to get set we were on the trail back to the car. The sky was growing darker and the air cooler, we moved at a good pace mostly downhill to get to the parking lot.

We arrived at 8:30pm, 45 miles into Beth’s run, 11 hours after she had started on the trail at Mount Hood. Beth was overcome with joy and relief. We took no time to load up the car and get on the road back to Portland. She has two weeks to recover and then we will be back at Mnt Hood for her 50 mile race! And she will definitely be able to do it, because… What’s 5 more miles??

Summit to Sea: running from Mt. Hood to the Columbia River Gorge

With a big race coming up in July, I decided to go all out for peak week and chose a trail I knew would be both challenging and rewarding. After debating between a few different trails, I decided to run from Mt. Hood to the Columbia River Gorge. Covering 45 miles with 7,000 ft. of ascent, and 13,700 ft. of descent this trail was going to test my mental and physical stamina.

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PCT at Timberline Lodge

We got a late start to the day, hitting the trail around 9:30. I knew I would be chasing daylight but had high hopes for finishing strong. I started on the PCT at Timberline Lodge with a starting elevation of 6,100 ft. No stranger to altitude, I knew this first section of trail would be challenging on the lungs. The first three miles were fun and quick. There were still patches of snow, which made for some slippery miles, but it was an overall descent to the Zig Zag River. The river was running from the snow melt, but I was able to pick a path across and be on my way.

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Mt. Hood

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Zig Zag River Crossing

The trail proceeded to climb 1,000 ft. over the next 3 miles. With the snow and altitude, it was slow going, but the views of the mountain through the clouds kept me energized. After mile 6, I was met with a blissful 2,500 ft. descent over the next 6 miles. The terrain changed drastically – going from snow, across rocky plains, down a sandy hill, and finally into the pine forest that is ubiquitous in Oregon. I rolled my ankle around mile 9 and thought I might have to tap out. Thankfully I was able to recover quickly. Miles 12-13 were familiar territory – we hiked this portion of the PCT to Ramona Falls way back in 2016.  There was a fun creek crossing across two fallen trees where I had to cling to a rope to avoid falling. Then came a grueling 1,600 ft. climb over 2 miles.

I finally met Matt and Snickers at the top of the hill, feeling a little disheartened. My pace was suffering greatly from the climbing and I was about 20 minutes behind schedule. Nonetheless, we powered the next 3 miles (thankfully downhill) to the car at mile 16 to refill food and water. If I wasn’t able to get back to my normal pace, there was a possibility that I’d need to get pulled from the trail at the next stop to avoid running in the dark. I had 16 miles to the next crew point and at that point we would make the decision whether or not to keep going.

Thankfully the next 16 miles felt great. I had a burst of energy and was able to power through the rolling hills with little issue. There were wildflowers galore and views of Mt. Hood around every turn. This section of trail was very different from the beginning; it reminded me a lot of Utah running. The trail was more rocky and there was a bit less tree coverage. Around mile 28 I rounded a curve and saw Mt. Adams more clearly and up close than I’ve ever seen it before. It was truly a great day to be out on the trail. I finally saw the sign to Wahtum Lake (where I was meeting Matt) at mile 29 and it was straight downhill from there.

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Mt. Adams

I felt really good rolling into Wahtum lake at mile 32 and wanted to keep going. We assessed the map and calculated somewhere around 8-12 miles to the end point at Herman Creek Trailhead. The trail I initially planned took the Eagle Creek Trail to Cascade Locks, but that trail is still closed from the wildfires of 2017. I decided to keep going thinking it was going to be mostly downhill. Boy was I wrong.

After leaving the parking lot, I was immediately greeted with a 700 ft. climb in 0.7 miles. It was brutal and I felt like I’d never reach the top. The PCT was rolling hills for the next 9 miles. It wound through rocky terrain and a portion of forest that was burned in 2017. Every time I felt like I was finally descending, the trail would shoot me right back up to the ridge line at 4,000 ft. I was expecting 9 miles to the finish but it was actually closer to 13. When I hit mile 40, knowing I still had 5 miles to go and still hadn’t started the descent, I was hitting a breaking point. I finally hit the descent with 4 miles to go. This part was very rocky and technical and my tired legs kept tripping, so for safety reasons I slowed to a walk. I was finally able to get ahold of Matt at this point and he ran in 2 miles to help me get out. Night was fast approaching and I was so angry and frustrated at myself for not moving faster. When I saw him with 2 miles to go, I officially broke. Mentally and physically I was done. I’m sure I was a sight to see hobbling down the trail with tears running down my face 🙂 . Bolstered by some food, hiking poles, and a pep talk we finished the 2 miles to the parking lot just in time for dusk.

I finished 45.5 miles, 7,000 ft. ascent, 13,700 ft. descent in just over 11 hours total. Even looking at the moving time, which was right at 10 hours, my pace was the slowest I’ve ever run. Mentally I’m disappointed I couldn’t maintain the pace I wanted, but rationally I know that’s silly. I covered more ground and more ascent – by a good 10 miles and 2,000 ft. – than I’ve ever done in a single run. I would’ve liked to finish much faster, but I’m really amazed at the distance I was able to go. I finished standing up with no injuries or GI issues, which is a feat in and of itself.MVIMG_20190622_204617_v1

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Sunset in the Columbia River Gorge

I’m ready for my race…let’s just hope my legs stop hurting before then.

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Wildwood Trail – end to end

Portland is rife with hiking trails throughout the city. Forest Park, alone, has about 70 miles of trails within its boundaries. The Wildwood Trail runs for 30.2 miles through both Washington Park and Forest Park. When we moved here in October 2018 my goal was to run the trail end to end, and I finally did it in June 2019.

Forest Park is gorgeous this time of year. The trails have dried out from all the winter rain, and the spring foliage is incredibly lush. There is plenty of canopy coverage to keep you cool on a hot day. Spring and summer running make up for all of the wet, winter runs through ankle-deep mud.

Screen Shot 2019-06-10 at 10.15.14 AM.pngI run portions of the Wildwood twice a week, and have run approximately 22 miles of the trail. Since I’m in the thick of ultra marathon training, it was the perfect time to do the trail in its entirety. I needed to hit 35 miles for the day, so I tacked on an additional 6.5 miles to get from our apartment to the trailhead. I started at Portland State University running on Terwilliger to the Marquam trailhead, followed the Marquam Trail up through Council Crest, before finally meeting up at the start of the Wildwood in Washington Park.

The weather was cool and cloudy – perfect for a long run. The first 2.4 miles to the trailhead are on the road and quick. The next 2.6 on the Marquam Trail up to Council Crest are always slow-going for me; the trail climbs roughly 1,100 feet in this section and I end up doing quite a bit of hiking. Thankfully, the next 1.5 miles to the start of the Wildwood are downhill. The Wildwood is mostly rolling hills the 2-ish miles through Washington Park giving a bit of breather before climbing to Pittock Mansion. The trail is closed for about 1/2 mile at Burnside before the hill to Pittock Mansion, but luckily someone posted a detour that runs along the road. After Pittock there’s a downhill to McLeay Falls before a long, rolling climb to Fire Lane 1 (my halfway point). I got to Fire Lane 1 where I met Matt for a refill of my water and to grab some snacks.IMG_0550.jpegThe second half of the run felt a lot slower than the first. I was able to keep a decent pace and just kept moving forward, even if that meant walking. The Wildwood is a fairly easy trail without a lot of climbing. While this is usually a good thing, a very runnable trail means, well, a lot of running :). I enjoyed the rolling hills and quiet section of trail for next 8 miles, when I started to get pretty fatigued around mile 25. I fueled myself with plenty of GUs, potatoes, and peanut butter crackers, ensured I was staying well hydrated, and kept chugging along. There weren’t any more major climbs after Pittock, so it was mostly a mental game to move forward as quickly as I was able.

After crossing Germantown Road around mile 30, I knew I was in the home stretch with about 5 miles to go. I took a tumble a mile in – tired legs + tree roots are a recipe for disaster – but, aside from a slightly bruised ego I was fine to keep going. I met Matt and Snickers at Firelane 15 with 1.8 miles to the end. They helped me keep moving, though at this point my knees and feet were achy so I was going pretty slowly. We finally made it to the car in around 7 hours. Not the fastest by far, but it felt really good to accomplish something of that magnitude.Screen Shot 2019-06-10 at 9.58.37 AM.png

Smith Rock Ascent 50K

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A few weekends ago I ran my second 50K at the beautiful Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne, OR. I couldn’t have asked for better weather – the temps were cool and the sun was shining. The course was a lollipop on a mostly single-track trail with about 4,600 ft of elevation gain. There were roughly 300 racers toeing the line and the excitement at the start line was energizing. I didn’t feel very strong with my training, so my goal was just to have fun and hopefully finish in around 6 hours.IMG_0675The first three miles were fast – we wound along the Crooked River through the basalt cliffs. Miles 4-5 started a steady 1,100 ft climb with plenty of switchbacks. This is where the pack started thinning out and racers fell into place. I did a lot of hiking on this portion but the sweeping views of Mt. Hood and Three Sisters made it worth the slower pace. The next two miles I fell in line with a group who kept a quick pace into the first aid station at mile 7.SmithRock1After swinging through the aid station, it was another short climb before four miles of downhill relief. I chatted with another runner through this section about all of the other races he’s done (he had quite the impressive resume!). He helped me keep a sub-10 min/mile pace – and even one sub-9 minute mile – and before I knew it we were done with 12 miles and rolling into the second aid station. After refilling my water bladder I was on my way again.

I need to work on my facial expressions when I see the photographer!

There were about 7 miles to go until the next aid station with some killer climbing. We climbed 1,400 ft in the first 4 miles before diving back down. This portion of the trail was also through some ranch land so we saw plenty of cows. Matt and Snickers had been out hiking and surprised me at mile 17! It was nice to see some familiar faces just past the halfway point. The trail turned into a gravel service road so it was a couple of fast and easy miles into aid station 3.

It was another 7 miles to the next aid station; the first couple of miles were on the gravel road and I sped down those at a quick clip. I ran into Matt and Snickers again around mile 23 where I snagged some sunscreen and body glide before continuing on. The next three miles to the aid station were at a slight incline. My mind was saying “run” but I had a hard time getting my legs to follow suit. It was no doubt a combination of fatigue as well as altitude – the course started at 3,000 ft. and had a max elevation around 4,700 ft. I ended up hiking a good portion of this section before hitting the final aid station at mile 26.IMG_6639 v2 I refilled my water bladder, grabbed a popsicle, and hit the trail for the final 5 miles. I fell back into step with a couple of the people I had run with earlier in the day and we cruised along for two mostly flat miles. We hit a steady descent where I gained some speed and peeled off from the pack. The last mile wound along the river again before a final steep climb to the finish.

I cruised across the finish line in 5:52:49, besting my 50K time by 20 minutes! I was 30th female out of 118 and 13th in my age group. There were a lot of amazing, fast women in the field and I was happy finishing strong. The biggest surprise for me was just how good I felt at the end. In my last race I was dealing with some intense IT band pain, and, aside from the usual aches that come with running for 6 hours, I ran this pain-free.Screen Shot 2019-05-19 at 7.54.20 PMScreen Shot 2019-05-19 at 7.52.58 PMIt was another amazing race put on by the Go Beyond Racing team! A huge “thank you!” to all of the volunteers and support teams who made it possible, especially my personal crew. Matt and Snickers have pushed me along through miles and hours of training and put in another long day cheering on me and the other runners. I truly couldn’t have done it without them.

Winter/Spring 2019 in Portland

The last week has been sunny and the temperature is inching higher; warm weather is so close we can taste it. Since we were in Portland from February-April 2016, we’re right at the three year window and it’s been fun comparing how different it’s been this time around.IMG_0444.jpeg

Winter 2016 was very mild, but also very wet. The temperatures hovered around 50 (the average for PNW winters), and there were many gray and drizzly days (also average for PNW winters). Winter 2018 has been vastly different! The temperatures this go-round have been well below average with more 30-degree days than we’d care to count and a couple of snow days thrown in there. We didn’t see snow at all in 2016 unless we went into the mountains, so, needless to say, we were surprised.

Precipitation is another area that has surprised us this time. While 2016 was pretty gray and wet, 2019 has been…I don’t want to jinx it…sunny and dry. There have been days of rain, but more often than not the sun is shining. While the city has been dry, the mountains have been getting a lot of snow. We’ve seen snow much lower on Mt. Hood than in 2016 and all of the trails we’ve hiked have been covered in the white stuff. A big part of the reason we haven’t done much hiking this winter has been because of the cold as well as the snowy (and therefore sloppy) trail conditions.

Weather aside, we’re still really enjoying our time here. We’re not as gung-ho about seeing and doing all the things as we were in 2016, and have been taking our time settling into a routine. The food and beer are still top notch, though we do need to prioritize getting out more.

We’re really excited for the rest of spring and summer since we haven’t gotten to experience those yet. Big plans include: seeing the rose test garden in full bloom, getting to the National Forests, and spending some time on the coast.

 

Spring 2019 Hikes

Angels Rest

Angels Rest trail is an easily-accessed trail in the Columbia River Gorge, an easy 30 miles from downtown Portland. The trail is a 4.3 mile, moderately trafficked out-and-back with gorgeous vistas culminating in a spectacular view from the top. It is a gradual climb of ~1400 feet and features a stream crossing and waterfall. Since it is right off the interstate it can get busy, so it’s best to go earlier in the day. In early February the trail was quite muddy at the bottom and snow covered at the top, so having proper hiking shoes was imperative. The Gorge experienced a fire in 2017 that shut down most of the trails on the Oregon side of the river; this trail (and many others) only recently opened in November 2018. There is still evidence of burn the higher up you get, but it doesn’t detract from the experience.

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Mirror Lake Loop

The Mirror Lake loop trail is located in Government Camp at the base of Mt. Hood. The trail is roughly 4 miles with only 650ft. of elevation gain – it’s a very easy and fun hike for all skill levels. We went in mid-March when the weather was sunny and in the low-60s. The trail was moderately trafficked, but I imagine there are a lot more people if you go in the summer. The trail is primarily used for snowshoeing during the winter months. We didn’t have snowshoes, but luckily the snow was hard packed and we didn’t experience any postholing. Once we got to the lake, the original intention was to continue on to the Tom, Dick, and Harry trail, but the snow was too deep and not hard-packed so we were in it up to our knees. One of the coolest things was the bridge crossings – the snow was so deep that we were walking at the top of the railings, a good 3+ feet above the trail! This is a great trail and easy way to get up close and personal to Mt. Hood without doing very strenuous climbing.

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Shellburg and Stassel Falls Loop

We headed to Salem on a Sunday afternoon to hike the Shellburg and Stassel Falls loop. The trail is 6.5 miles and is on the easy side of moderate. The majority of the trail was on service roads with a couple of portions on single-track trail. The first mile or so is on a road through cow pastures. Once you enter the Santiam State Forest, about a mile and half in, you’ll be standing at the top of Stassel falls. The majority of people bypass the entire loop in favor of just seeing Shellburg Falls, but we opted to hike the entire trail. It was lightly trafficked the day we went and we didn’t see another person until we were on our way out (according to AllTrails this is not usually the case). The highlight of the hike was Shellburg Falls – a 100 ft. waterfall that you can walk behind. Snickers was a little scared to walk behind the water, but she loved running the muddy trails. If you’re in the area, Shellburg Falls is a great sight to see, but otherwise we weren’t too impressed with the trail. We do recommend stopping in Salem at either Salem Ale Works or Bine Valley for some beer after the hike.

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Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

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It’s been many moons since I’ve had an Irish car bomb, but whenever St. Patrick’s Day rolls around I find myself thinking about that delicious, milkshake-like drink. To honor the patron saint of beer I whipped up some cupcakes that incorporate all the boozy components of the quintessential St. Paddy’s drink…without the hangover. You don’t have to slam these like the drink, but I won’t judge you if you do. They’re that good.

The traditional car bomb uses Guiness, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and Jameson. Around here, we tend to buck tradition and wanted to use ingredients that were local. I used Loowit War Tortoise Barrel Aged Stout (brewed in Vancouver, WA) baked into the cupcakes, Woodinville Bourbon Whiskey (distilled in Woodinville, WA) swirled in the ganache, and Five Farms Irish Cream (not local – Cork, Ireland) whipped in the icing.

The following measurements will yield 12 cupcakes.

Chocolate Cake

My go-to chocolate cake recipe is none other than Hershey’s that I’ve adapted slightly over the years. It yields an insanely moist and flavorful cake that has yet to fail me. For this version, I swapped beer for the coffee.

  • 1.5 oz dark chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup stout of your choosing
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk – I use 1/2 C milk with a tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder – can use regular cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt

Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare muffin tin.

Place chocolate chips and beer in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until chocolate is melted. Whisk together until smooth.

In a medium bowl or measuring cup, mix together buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until combined. With mixer on low, gradually pour in the milk mixture and mix until combined (~30 seconds). Slowly add the chocolate and beer mixture until combined.

Divide mixture evenly in the muffin tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Ganache

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) dark chocolate chips – or your favorite kind of chocolate
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons whiskey – can add more or less depending on your desired booziness

Heat heavy whipping cream in microwave-safe dish until hot but not boiling (~45 seconds – 1 minute). Add chocolate chips and let sit for 5 minutes. Gently stir the mixture until smooth. Add whiskey and mix to combine. Allow ganache to cool; it will thicken as it cools and you may want to put it in the fridge or freezer to speed up the process.

Irish Cream Frosting

  • 1 cup of butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup Irish cream

In large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter on high until light and fluffy (~5 minutes). Slowly add powdered sugar in 1/4 cup increments allowing mixture to combine before adding more (this helps decrease the graininess you sometimes get with American buttercreams). Once all the sugar has been added, pour in the Irish cream and continue whipping until light and fluffy (~3-4 minutes).

Assembly

Once cupcakes are cooled, use a knife to cut a small hole in the top of each cupcake. Spoon a generous amount of ganache into the hole. Frost the cupcakes using your favorite method (I used a Wilton 1M tip).