Baking with Beer: Barrel-Aged Carrot Coffee Cake with Brown Butter
If you’re a beer fan, chances are you have a few bottles of something rich and barrel-aged hanging around–that is, unless you’ve already gone through your backstock in these weird times. I like to enjoy few ounces of most of these big, sweet and boozey beers, and usually try to share a bottle among several friends. But given this month’s circumstances, the sharing part is less of an option. So I decided to share my beer with cake instead. A carrot cake in the style of coffee cakes–no streusel here, but feel to add one if you’d like. This cake highlights the rich flavors of aged beer and brings a bright sideparty into the picture with spices and nuts. I like my cake for breakfast, personally, so I tend to make mine slightly less sweet than a full-on dessert, but you are welcome to disagree and amp up the sweetness. Times are strange, make what you like. If your beer is not super sweet, then please do add a couple extra tablespoons sugar as well. This style of cake is somewhat forgiving. I used Brew 3000 from Fremont Brewing, a lovely malty and oaky flavor bomb, but great barrel-aged examples abound from the likes of Epic, Deschutes, Great Divide and many more. If you don’t have any barrel-aged beer on hand, right now is a great time to support your local breweries by purchasing some!
Barrel-Aged Carrot Coffee Cake with Brown Butter
269 g. (about 2 c.) flour
77 g. (about 1/3 packed) brown sugar– feel free to add extra to taste, 1-2 T. at a time
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
several grates fresh nutmeg
2 large eggs
170 g. (about 3/4 c.) barrel-aged beer of choice
2 T. plain yogurt or sour cream
1/2 t. zest of lemon
57 g. (about 1/4 c.) butter
150 g. (about 2 medium) grated carrots
1/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. (or more if desired) chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat your oven to 375 and grease a small bundt pan or round (or whatever shape you like). For this bake we will be using the “muffin method” which does not require a mixer. Combine all dry ingredients, and then carrots, raisins and nuts. Combine all wet ingredients, but first melt and lightly brown your butter in a preferably non-stick pan. If your butter goes dark fairly fast you’ll need to remove it to a cool dish to prevent further browning and burning. Otherwise let cool slightly in pan before adding to wet ingredients. Add dry to wet (trust me, it will be easier this way) and mix briefly, being careful not to overmix. Pour into prepared pan and bake 20 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 for another 15-20 minutes. Let cool in pan 20 more minutes on a rack, then remove and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar or add cream cheese icing as desired! Or serve with a spread of butter at breakfast or ice cream at dinner. Your choice!
Not into carrot cake, but still want to bake with beer? How about a Barrel-Aged Stout and Apple Cake instead? Craving something little lighter? Check out my recipe for Lemon Poppyseed Hefeweizen Tea Cake!