Saturday, 4 August 2012

Baking for...International Beer Day: Vanilla Beer Cake with Beer Caramel Sauce

Sunday is International Beer Day. When you love beer like I do, you just can't pass up the opportunity to make something special to mark the occasion. Awhile ago a friend gave me a vanilla cake mix in a jar.

I decided to finally crack it open and use it as the base for my Vanilla Beer Cake with Beer Caramel Sauce. The cake was really easy to make - just dump the dry ingredients from the jar into a bowl and stir in some eggs, oil, water and vanilla then bake.

Since the star of this recipe has to be beer, I substituted beer for some of the water. There are lots of really great craft beers out there that have hints of vanilla, which would go really nicely with the cake. Of course, I didn't have any, and today being one of the hottest days of the summer, I decided to use what I have, which happened to be Moosehead. One of my favourite beers to drink and pretty good in the beer bread I plan to bake tomorrow morning.

To give the cake a little something extra I decided to make some caramel sauce to serve with it. With beer of course. Now, here's the thing about caramel. I burn it. Always. This time was no exception (although at least it's still slightly edible, which doesn't often happen). But, for those of you who have better luck with things made on the stove top rather than in the oven, here's the recipe.
(Note: The ratio for caramel is 2 parts sugar to 1 part cream to 1 part butter, plus flavourings like the beer if desired. To make a wet caramel, just add 1 part water to the caramel. Knowing this, you can play with this caramel recipe to get a flavour that makes you happy. Just be sure not to add too much of the beer or your sauce won't set well.)

Beer Caramel Sauce
1/3  c  water
2/3  c  granulated sugar
1/3      T  heavy cream
3      T  beer
1       t   vanilla
1/3  c   butter

In a pot over medium-high heat, mix water and sugar. While this begins to heat up, measure out your other ingredients and set aside.
When the sugar and water mixture turns a nice shade of amber, add all of the other ingredients all at once.

Stir to combine then leave the mixture over the heat for a couple minutes until the colour and bubbling appear uniform.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Store in a jar until you're ready to serve your cake.
Just before serving, drizzle the caramel sauce either over the entire cake or over each individual piece if you'd like to make a plated dessert.

Happy International Beer Day!

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