Holy crapamoly. I’ll admit it: I was afraid of this cake.
White sugar, brown sugar, honey, honey beer — as a person with an abnormally high capacity to consume sweetness, normally I don’t balk at the thought of super sugary dessert, but I definitely was afraid that the sugar in this cake was going to be a bit too much.
Luckily for me, though, I took a last minute beer recommendation from a coworker: St. Peter’s Honey Porter. Before I always passed it over when trying new beers, because it’s nearly $5 for a little bottle — but I bought it, used it, and so glad I did!
The secret to making this beer cake taste great is, as usual, in the beer.
Try to pick a darker, more bitter beer instead of a light beer — this will balance the sweetness of the honey and sugar in the batter, and make for a delightfully rich and warm winter cake!
Honey Beer Spice Cake
*adapted from Booze Cakes
- 3 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup white sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup liquid honey
- juice and zest from 1 medium lemon
- zest from 1 medium orange
- 1 bottle of honey beer (12 oz or 341 ml)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup cream cheese, softened
- 3 & 1/2 cups icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon cream
- dash of vanilla extract
- pinch of cinnamon
- salted nuts; cashews, pecans, almonds, etc.
Preheat your oven to 325°F (or 163°C). Grease and line a 9 x 13 inch cake pan with parchment paper.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground spices (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves). Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy — or as “light and fluffy” as anything with dark brown sugar in it can possibly be. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.
Stir in orange zest, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir in liquid honey.
Add the flour + spice mixture and beer to the wet ingredients in three alternating additions, starting and ending with flour.
To break it down: add 1/3 of the flour (and stir), then 1/2 of the beer (and stir), then another 1/3 of flour (and stir), the remaining 1/2 of beer (and stir), then the remaining 1/3 of flour.
Mix together gently, until everything is just incorporated — it’s okay if your batter is still a bit lumpy.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 ~ 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before frosting!
Important information ahead!
When making cream cheese frosting, it’s imperative that your butter and cream cheese be at the same temperature. For cream cheese, this usually means letting it sit out overnight (don’t worry, you won’t get food poisoning). For butter, it usually takes about 3 hours outside of the fridge to soften.
Cream your butter and cream cheese together. Beat until smooth.
Add icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, then beat in vanilla, cream, and cinnamon. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
So, in the end, this cake wasn’t overly sweet at all!
I totally thank the dark honey porter for saving the day — a light ale or lager just wouldn’t have done the trick.
This cake, full of warm spices and sweet honey, with rich cream cheese frosting and the salted nuts on the top, is dense and moist and super satisfying. I wrapped mine in plastic wrap and kept it overnight so that its spice and flavours developed even more! Yum!