Perfect for the coming colder months, this easy to make beer cake is low in fat & packed with flavour courtesy of the dates, walnuts, spices and stout.
It's now becoming noticeable that the days are shortening. Only a few weeks ago the sun shone from high in the sky at a time only known to the milkman, and now when we awaken from our slumber to the sound of the bedroom alarm the sun is struggling to climb above the horizon. Even the artificial sun of the streetlights, which the moths waltz and tango around, are being switched on earlier.
The change of season to the darker, colder months often sees us crave rib-sticking stews, slow cooked casseroles and fruity crumbles draped with custard. Not to mention moist, flavoursome, and filling rich fruit cakes.
Our first cake suitable for the fast approaching autumnal season came about after being contacted by Little Valley Brewery, who asked if we'd like to try one of their popular vegan and organic beers, Stoodley Stout, in a bake. Little Valley Brewery is a small family run brewery, established only a few years ago in 2005, located here in the Pennine hills of Yorkshire. Living in a vegetarian household, I was heartened when I learnt that every one of their numerous beers were suitable for vegans, meaning that finings like gelatin or isinglass (produced from the swim bladders of fish) aren't used to filter their beers. Not only that, the vast majority of their products are organic too. In addition, they have a raft of awards, having recently been awarded Best of Organic Market for their Vanilla Porter, which sounds as though it'd be amazing in a chocolate cake or pudding!
Being upfront, I'll openly admit that I'm not a beer, ale, lager or even stout drinker. In fact, I've never even tried a beer cake. So when Little Valley Brewery contacted me I was super keen to try out this dark and smooth stout in a bake, wondering what it would be like.
Happily, they even provided a fabulous beer cake recipe for me to try their stout in. Noticing that the stout included orange peel amongst its organic ingredients, I adapted the recipe slightly by including some orange zest to enhance that which is in the drink. I also used buckwheat flour given that I had some in the cupboard, but regular plain flour would work equally well. The recipe itself was straight forward to make and produced a loaf cake which was low in fat and packed with flavour. Sticky, naturally sweet dates. Crunchy, nutritious walnuts. Warming, aromatic spices. Dark, smooth, flavoursome stout.
Recalling the phrase 'don't judge a book by its cover', this beer cake may not be much of a looker from the outside, but once sliced into it begins to reveal its character. Being light, moist, with a sticky crust akin to gingerbread and rich in both colour and flavour, this beer cake certainly didn't disappoint. For those, like me, who may not be beer or stout drinkers, the distinctive stout taste is not over powering and mingles beautifully with the flavours of the cake ingredients. It's certainly one to try.
Let's get to it and bake!
Beer Cake with Stoodley Stout
Perfect for the colder months, this easy to make beer cake is low in fat and packed with flavour courtesy of the dates, walnuts, spices and stout.
1 x 900g / 2lb loaf tin (measuring approx 25cm x 11cm x 7cm)
DetailsHands-on time: 20-25Cook time: Yield: 1 large loaf cake
1 x 900g / 2lb loaf tin (measuring approx 25cm x 11cm x 7cm)
- 80g Halved Walnuts
- 300g Pitted Dates
- 100g Unsalted Butter, softened
- 200g Brown Sugar
- 1 Orange, zest of
- 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
- 200g Plain Flour or Buckwheat Flour
- pinch Salt
- 7g Baking Powder
- pinch Bicarbonate of Soda
- 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
- 250ml Little Valley Brewery's Stoodley Stout
1. Preheat the oven to 180 c / 160 Fan / Gas 42. Prepare the baking tin. Grease and fully line the baking tin with greaseproof paper.3. Prepare the ingredients. Chop each walnut half into about 6 pieces. Chop the dates, checking for rogue stones as you do so. Place the flour, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and the three spices into a bowl and stir to combine. Mix the walnuts and dates with 2 tablespoons of the measured spiced flour. Set aside. 4. Start to make the batter. Cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest either with a hand held electric beater or wooden spoon until it is soft, fluffy and paler in colour. Add the egg and beat again, scraping the mixture down from the side of the bowl with a spatula as necessary and beating again. Sieve around a third of the spiced flour into the batter. Use a metal spoon or spatula to fold this in. Pour about a third of the measured stout into the mixture and gently combine. Continue adding some flour then stout until it has all been incorporated into the batter.5. Add the walnuts and dates. Add the prepared walnuts and dates to the batter. Use the metal spoon or spatula to gently stir them into the mixture.6. Fill the loaf tin. Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin, using the back of the spoon to level it out.7. Bake. Place the loaf tin into the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake for 60 - 70 minutes. You may need to rotate the tin after 50 minutes of baking. The cake will be ready when a skewer or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.8. Cool. Remove the cake from the oven. Allow it to stand in the cake tin for about 15 minutes. Use the edges of the greaseproof paper to lift the beer cake from the tin and place it onto a cooling rack. Allow the cake to fully cool. 9. Wrap the cake. Once the cake has cooled fully, surround the cake in the greaseproof paper it was baked in and then wrap it thoroughly in tin foil. Set it aside somewhere cool for a day or two to allow the flavours to fully develop.10. Enjoy.
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* Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Little Valley Brewery. I received most of the ingredients to try this recipe. As always, all opinions are my own.
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