Friday, June 17, 2011

Booze and Baked Goods

Father's Day is coming up.  You know this already.  I know you've got your card and your fancy tie/fishing lures/season tickets wrapped and ready to give to your daddo on Sunday.  Good for you for being so prepared.

I love my dad dearly.  I think I'm probably more like my dad than my mom - I love art, I'm usually willing to try something new, I procrastinate like nobody's business.  Just like my dad.  Of course I'm also neurotic like my mother...anyway.  For Mother's and Father's Days I typically pay for dinner and an activity, and I give gifts on birthdays.  This year my dad and I are going out for Indian food and then watching a film at the Tivoli (an indie theater, for those non-Denverites).  I also baked him the Beer and Honey Spice Cake from Joy the Baker's blog, because we both love beer and spice cake and I REALLY love Joy the Baker.  Once again, for better or worse, I tinkered with the recipe.  Here's Joy's original:

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon all-spice
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup honey
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) pale ale beer or honey beer
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9x13-inch (don't use anything smaller, seriously) pan and set aside.
I a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugars, spices and lemon zest. Mixture may look crumbly, but mix for about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.
Beat in the lemon juice and honey.
Add the flour mixture and beer. Alternating. First add a third of the flour mixture, mix. Add half of the beer, mix. Add the second third of flour, the rest of the beer. Mix. Then finally add the last third of the flour. Beat the batter on high speed for 30 seconds. The batter will be loose and smooth.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake in the upper third of the oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

I basically followed the recipe, but I used about a cup and a half of whole wheat flour (I love the texture but some people might prefer white whole wheat) and reduced the sugar a bit: only a quarter cup white sugar, about two tablespoons less brown sugar, and maybe two to three tablespoons less honey (this last one was an accident though - I ran out).  

Oh, and I used a Double-Wide IPA from Boulevard Brewing, which is a really hoppy beer.  That's important to me.  The beer, I mean.

I think it turned out pretty good, sweetness-wise, but I might keep all the honey if possible next time. Oops.  It's a teensy bit dry, too, probably because of the honey and also probably because I don't have a 9x13 inch cake pan so I used a 9x9 and a loaf pan.  Also oops.  You can't really taste the beer, but Joy's right - it rounds out the flavor and you get that hoppiness in the finish.  I love hops.  Just saying.

Still debating whether to frost this thing, and still debating whether or not I should make my dear old dad a card.  Or buy him a tiny gift (his birthday's in August).  I am LOVING my basil plant, so maybe that?  After all, who doesn't love basil?  Communists, that's who.  Mine is coming along nicely and smells soooo good.

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