Baking with Beer: Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout & Apple Cake


beer cake with slice cut I’m not quite ready for fall, but I am ready for cake. Cake has no season. And I happen to have an overstock of barrel-aged beers in my cellar (I know, rough life), so here you have it: a bourbon barrel aged stout and apple cake. It’s a fluffy, homestyle just-enough-apple-topped cake richly flavored with sweet bourbony, barrely stout. This is a pretty killer way to have your beer and eat it too–especially since the recipe only calls for 1 cup of beer, leaving you plenty to sip alongside.

Let’s Talk about Cake, Again

This is a simple recipe that could accommodate a lot of different options–beer choices, fruit choices and additional add-ins if desired. As long as you like the flavor of the beer you’re adding and it’s complementary to the fruit topping, go nuts! Add nuts, too, if you want ’em.

Beer Choices

I used a bourbon barrel aged oatmeal stout from Fremont Brewing, but you can use anything barrel-aged that you enjoy. The sweetness level is the only thing you should be aware of–Fremont BBADS is fairly sweet, as are most beers in this style. If you use something less sweet OR more roasty and bitter, consider adding 1-3 T. extra sugar. The key is not to oversweeten the cake, but to match the bitter flavors from the alcohol and roasted malts. As it stands, the cake is sweet but not as sweet as some cakes, so if you want to gild the lily, there’s always the option of a caramel drizzle, a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Personally I enjoy it as is, with a little glass of the same beer or with a coffee or strong cup of tea.

Recipebourbon barrel aged cake

Makes one 9″ round. 

1 3/4 c. AP flour, or a mix of AP and white wheat

2 t. baking powder

3/4 t. kosher salt

1/4 t. cinnamon

1 c. sugar

1/3 c. butter, softened

1 egg

1/2 t. vanilla extract

1 c. bourbon barrel aged stout

1 medium apple, tart variety preferred such as Granny Smith

Heat oven to 350. Grease a 9″ round cake pan very well.

Mix all dry ingredients in bowl. Peel apple and cut 1/4″ slices. Use paddle attachment on a mixer to mix butter (or do by hand with a spatula and some energy) until light. Add sugar and cream 3-5 minutes, scraping sides down. Add egg and vanilla. When mixed, add beer slowly. Scrape bottom with spatula before adding dry ingredients on low speed. Batter should be slowly pourable, not too thin but not too thick. Pour into prepared pan and add apple slices in decorative pattern. Bake 45-55 minutes, rotating at least once. Test with pick–middle should be soft but springy, and apples should be cooked through.

Cool in pan 20-30 minutes, then remove carefully, inverting onto rack or pan. Serve as is, or dust with powdered sugar or drizzle caramel overtop. Enjoy!

Thinking cake, but want something lighter? Try my Lemon-Poppyseed Hefeweizen tea cake!

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