Wednesday 13 November 2013

Beer Cake

Beer Fruit Cake
Beer Cake! Yes, that's got your attention. However, you may be asking what the teetotal Ness is doing baking a beer cake. I'm a member of a number of Clandestine Cake Club groups and each meeting gives a new theme and hence the opportunity to make new cakes. The Chesterfield group held a meeting with the theme of 'Festival' in conjunction with the Chatsworth Road Festival. For those not local to area Chatsworth Road is a long road running from the bottom of Chesterfield out into the Peak District and onto the magnificent Chatsworth House. Our lovely organizer Fiona has arranged a number of our gatherings on the Chatsworth Road due to its abundance of thriving independent businesses.

While most of the other attendees focused on the 'Festival' theme I was immediately drawn to the Chatsworth Road element. Another reason Chatsworth Road is well-known is due to the the high volume of pubs situated along it. On its way out to the Peaks it runs through an area called Brampton and this is the inspiration for the challenge that is the Brampton Mile. Whilst the number of pubs has decreased over the years many a stag or hen night has started at one end of Chatsworth Road with the intention of having a drink in each of the pubs along the way down. With this in mind I decided to make a cake with beer and found one from the appropriately local Thornbridge Brewery, based near Chatsworth House.

According to Thornbridge Brewery, “Five malts and six hops combine for bitter chocolate flavours with dark roasted fruits,” for the Wild Raven IPA. This seemed perfect for adding to a fruit cake. At ABV 6.6% it also had the strength to hold its own when cooked. Since the recipe calls for just 150ml of the 500ml bottle you may be wondering what happened to other 350ml. Sadly my CAMRA member husband had been temporarily stuck down by a particularly nasty affliction which had rendered him teetotal. So 50ml went in the Christmas pudding (next year's vintage) while the remaining 300ml formed the basis of a beef in beer casserole in the slow cooker.

As this recipe uses dried fruits I am entering it for this month's Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Kate at What Kate Baked as the theme is dried fruit.
Tea Time Treats 
Vine fruits is also the theme this month for One Ingredient run by Laura at How To Cook Good Food and this month's host Nazima at Franglais Kitchen.
 One Ingredient November 2013
With the local beer this recipe has to go over to Elizabeth at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary for her Shop Local challenge which highlights the use of local produce.

Equipment: 1 7in (18cm) cake tin (I used my Lakeland deep fancy tin), electric whisk/beaters


8oz (225g) Self-raising wholemeal flour
½ tsp (2.5ml) Baking powder
4oz (110g) Unsalted butter, softened or baking spread
4oz (110g) Demerara sugar
1tsp (5ml) Mixed spice
Zest of 1 Lemon
¼ Pint (150ml) Beer (Real Ale)
2 Large eggs
12oz (350g) Mixed dried fruit (including citrus peel)


1. Prepare the tin by greasing it.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/Gas mark 3.
3. In a large bowl put all the ingredients except for the dried fruit and beat well using an electric whisk or beaters.
4. Stir in the dried fruit and then transfer the mixture to the tin.
5. Cook for 45 minutes and then check to see if the top is cooking too quickly. Cover with greaseproof paper if it is.
6. Cook for a further 45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
7. Leave to cool in the tin before turning out.

This cake is best left a few days to mature if you can bear to leave it. Just make sure it is covered with foil or greaseproof paper and stored in an air-tight tin.


  1. This looks great baked in the fancy tin and the flavours sound very festive, perfect for cake club :)

  2. I LOVE beer in baking and imagine that this would be absolutely delectable! Thanks so much for adding it to Tea Time Treats! Karen

  3. This is just the sort of post I love for the #ShopLocal challenge - thank you for sharing it! Your cake sounds superb and I love the sound (and name) of the beer you used, and the fact you highlighted the makers so well in your post. Sorry it's taken so long to pop around to comment - it's been a busy month for me!

  4. What a gorgeous looking festive cake. So pretty it needs no decoration, just eating!

    1. I think Lakeland have discontinued that tin now which is a shame. It's great for making cakes that do taste great but look a bit dull far more interesting.


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