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!
low in fat and packed with flavour courtesy of the dates, walnuts,
spices and stout.
Hands-on time: 20-25 mins Cook time: 60-70 mins 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
* 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.