Saturday, October 9, 2010

Beer-flavored cake

I have to start this post by apologizing to my brother Paul, the recipient of the first beer bottle cake I made.  Had I really thought things through, I would have made him a beer-flavored cake as well.  Sorry, time, really.

I made cupcakes and a groom's cake for a wedding reception last weekend.  When I asked what flavor they wanted, the groom said, "beer".  We moved on and the cupcakes were assorted vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet.  But I found several recipes online for Guinness beer cake to use for the groom's cake and decided to go with it.

For the cake, I used a Dark Chocolate cake mix and just replaced the liquid the instructions called for with the Guinness beer.  Before adding it, I reduced it on the stove by simmering it on low heat for about 15 minutes.  Then I mixed and baked the cake as directed on the box. 

When I taste-tested this, I couldn't really taste the beer.  The cake was very rich and moist...very chocolate.  No beer flavor that I could tell.  Not a bad thing, but the beer flavor was the whole point.

But that was just the beginning.   I reduced another two cups of the Guinness and used that to brush the cake like a simple syrup.  Then I made Guinness buttercream frosting.  This was very touch and go, since I couldn't find much for a recipe.  Poor Lowell had to taste test it for me three times (what.  I don't have the slightest interest in tasting frosting that is not perfectly sweet--what if it ruined frosting for me?  Also, the smell of stout at 10 am simmering on the stove was making me slightly queasy) before I decided it was just time to put it on the cake and call it good. Even then, he said he really couldn't taste anything but "frosting". But there is only so much liquid you can add to frosting before it becomes glaze, and that was not what I needed.

Guinness Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Approximately 5-6 Tablespoons Guinness

I doubled the cake and frosting recipes to make the double layer 9 inch cake and used the Guinness frosting for the filling and the crumb coat.  I covered the cake in fondant and sprayed it a gray-silver color to look sort of like a metal bucket.

Earlier in the week, I made a batch of poured sugar ice and a sugar beer bottle using my silicone mold.  The groom's favorite beer is Miller Lite, so I bought a six pack of the beer and soaked one of the bottles in the sink until the label peeled off easily.  I used that to create an edible image, and added that to the sugar bottle.

I might be willing to admit that I'm a little bit proud of how the bottle and the ice turned out. 

Just a little.
Ok, it was hard to actually just put the cake down on the table and walk away.  But I did.  And I also gave the groom the six pack of Miller Lite, label-less bottle and all.

The bride told me that they all loved the cake and it was very moist, but that she could really only taste the Guinness in the frosting.  She complimented the amount, though, and said it was detectable but not overwhelming.  Success!


  1. Oh my gosh - that cake looks AMAZINGLY real! Nicely done!

  2. Thanks, Steph! It was fun to make...maybe someday I will figure out a wine bottle...