It was two weeks before Thanksgiving, when the good folks at SPACES Magazine asked me if I would be interested in creating a "holiday" dish utilizing Boulevard's Nut Cracker Ale. I took on the challenge immediately, then realized that I had never tasted Nut Cracker Ale. I was going to get to do some experimental beer drinking and call it research. They didn't have to ask me twice. Done!
As soon as I tasted the toasted nuttiness and hint of peppery spice in Boulevard's Nut Cracker Ale, I immediately thought of a spice cake. I had been playing around with making my own Chai Tea at home by toasting and grinding my own spices, so I thought it would be fun to make a cake using Chai Spices instead of the more traditional holiday favorite Gingerbread cake. The cinnamon, cardamom and black pepper are key to differentiating the spice blend in this cake from gingerbread. The color of the cake comes from the molasses (I used mild molasses in mine) and the Nut Cracker Ale.
Finally, I included a recipe for vanilla whipped cream, but honestly this cake turned out so moist and flavorful, I've been enjoying it all week without the whipped cream with my morning cup of coffee. This jet-set version of spice cake would be a wonderful thing to have on hand during the holidays when you have family and friends over. Considering making mini versions or muffins to give away as homemade holiday treats or gifts to friends.
Here's the SPACES Magazine blog post with my final recipe and a few of my suggestions for surviving the holidays if you aren't a foodie. I have also posted the recipe for my Chai Spice Cake below.
P.S. In the interview for the SPACES Magazine blog post, I mention my go-to holiday appetizer is a traditional Brazilian recipe, Tastie's Daddy is Brazilian, called Pão de Queijo. HERE is the link to the recipe. It is a fantastically easy recipe, and gluten free. A bonus recipe for you to try over the holidays!
Chai Spice Cake & Vanilla Whipped Cream Made with Nutcracker Ale Cake
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup turbinado sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon of cardamom
1/4 teaspoon of finely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon finely ground anise or fennel seeds
1 cup molasses
1 cup Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting, serve with freshly whipped cream
Whipped cream Ingredients:
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
2-1/2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9-inch cake pan and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black pepper and fennel or anise.
In a third bowl, combine the molasses and beer and stir to dissolve. Add the dry ingredients and beer mixture alternately to the egg mixture, beating after the addition of each.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake until puffed and set, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack.
To make the whipped cream, pre-chill a stand mixer bowl. Pour cream, sugar and vanilla into the chilled bowl and begin whipping until soft peaks form.
Sprinkle cake with confectioner’s sugar, add a dollop of vanilla whipped cream and serve.