Friday, 11 October 2013

Cooking With Booze: The Boozy Baker's Plum Biercake

When your best friend who lives 10,000 miles away sends you a book (out of the blue) called The Boozy Baker, you know it's a life-long friendship. That said, most of my friends would also associate me with booze (specifically wine) and cooking, so I am pleased to have received a gift which pretty much sums me up!

The Boozy Baker, by Lucy Baker (destined for a culinary career?) is a collection of recipes for cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, and cocktails, all of which contain a healthy dose of alcohol. A food writer and critic, her introductory message is that 'baking with booze is fun - plain and simple'. She goes on to say that 'infusing desserts with different alcohols is an easy way for "weekend foodies" to add a "saucy" twist to what they bake...People have always looked for consolation in the bottle - and in the cookie jar. Why not combine the two in one?'

It's also a great way to use up half bottles of random spirits now gathering dust in your drinks cabinet...remember that bottle of Frangelico you bought for that party last year? What I do also love about the book is that she's included 25 cocktail recipes, which use the same spirits and liqueurs as the baking recipes - talk about being thrifty! Better still, they're cocktails you could potentially serve with the baked goods...pinch me, I'm dreaming!

You're probably already itching to google where you can get this from - don't worry, we've done the work for you. If you want to get your paws on this amazing read, head over to Foyles where you can pick up The Boozy Baker for £8.57. If you like booze, and tasty food, and combining the two... well, you won't regret it.

So excited was I to receive this book, I headed straight to the kitchen. Having no half bottles of spirits gathering dust in my house (sadly, it all gets drunk!), I chose my recipe guided by the price of the ingredients, and settled on this Plum Biercake, which uses (you guessed it) beer. Specifically a German doppelbok, but as my local supermarket didn't have one, I substituted for a stout.

From the Hook Norton Brewery and handcrafted in the Cotswold Hills, their Double Stout is a blend of malts which gives it a character all of its own. Black malt enriches the colour and teases the palate with an unmistakable ‘toast’ flavour. Brown malt gives it the dryness.
Available by 500ml bottles at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Majestic and by case of 12 from their site online, it's readily available, and a great price.

Plum Biercake


2 cups self-raising flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup muscavado sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons molasses
1 cup Hook Norton Brewery Double Stout
4 medium plums, halved, pitted and cut into wedges


1. Preheat oven to approx. 180 celcius and grease a round baking pan with butter and dust with flour.
2. In a medium bowl mix the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
3. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and molasses.
4. Alternatively add the flour mixture and the beer to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until just combined and smooth.
5. Pour the batter into the pan then arrange the plum wedges in rows on top of the batter.
6. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick through the centre comes out clean.
7. Cool on a wire rack while the spicy smell tempts you to indulge!

A grown-up version of gingerbread, the Plum Biercake cake comes together quickly and keeps for a few days, well wrapped. The author recommends leaving a knife nearby for easy snacking - I agree, it's just too hard to resist!

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