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I peer down into the metal cauldron of my KitchenAid stand mixer, admiring the soft peaks of creamed butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs.
It’s beautiful, really — a simple base that can be used to make an endless array of cookies, cakes and baked goods. It could be the beginning of a red velvet cake with tufts of cream cheese frosting, a batch of slightly melty, ooey gooey chocolate chip cookies, a dozen blueberry lemon ricotta muffins with crumb topping or, if it’s Father’s Day…
… a beer cake.
I take a dismissive sniff of the licorice-colored stout and shake my head with dismay.
Beer. Such a shame, I think as I stir in the honey with the whisk attachment, and then follow it with the acrid beer.
The batter cringes in response – separating into unsightly chunks as the foaming stout bubbles and boils in the bowl. Clearly the batter is trying to get as far away from the toxic ale as possible.
“I know.” I apologize to the cake batter, wincing in sympathy.
But I forge on. Because it’s not Daughter’s Day. And with bikini season coming, it’s really better that I make a cake I won’t actually want to eat.
“It’s all for you, Dad,” I’ll say with a sly smile, hacking off a papa-sized slice for him to enjoy for breakfast.
I’ll wait until I return to the kitchen to gag in revulsion.
My nose remains poised in the air as I add the lemon zest and milk, whisk in the flour and dry ingredients, and finish it off with a healthy smattering of toasted walnuts.
“Huh,” I think again, as I remove it from the oven approximately 45 minutes later. “It doesn’t smell that bad.”
“Hmm,” I think, as I pluck a warm, delicately spiced, not too sweet crumb and coddle it on my tongue. “It doesn’t taste that bad either.”
I cut a papa-sized piece.
I take a bite.
I take another.
“A beer cake we can enjoy together on Father’s Day!” I’ll tell Dad, as guilty crumbs tumble from my lips.
Beer Cake for Dad
With beer in it, we thought this would be the perfect for cake for Dad on Father’s Day, and because it’s called a “coffee cake alternative,” it lets Dad have beer for breakfast.
Beer Cake Ingredients
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, softened
¾ cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
7 ounces (¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons) dark beer, such as stout
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ cup honey
2 2/3 cups cake flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch grated nutmeg
½ cup chopped walnuts
Beer Cake Directions:
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9½-inch springform or cake pan.
2. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each, until fully incorporated. Beat in the milk, beer and lemon zest, then whisk in the honey. The batter will look separated at this point, but will come together when the dry ingredients are added.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and nutmeg, then whisk into the wet ingredients.
4. Gently fold in the nuts and lightly spoon the batter into the pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes if using a regular cake pan, or 45 to 50 minutes if using a springform, until dark golden and a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. Leave in the pan to cool for 10 minutes before turning out.
Recipe adapted from the Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2008.
Total time: 1½ hours