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Peanut Butter & Brownstone Ale Cake

Friday marked the birthday of brewer Pete, and we managed to surprise him by baking this cake right under his nose. (Or over it, as the new kitchen is directly above the brewery.) I was looking around for chocolate that morning, maybe some leftover bars from a visit by the Mast Brothers. I thought some dark chocolate would go well with a stout-flavored cake, or perhaps one with peanut butter. Or both? But when none turned up, and the only dark beer on tap that day was Sixpoint’s Brownstone Ale, it was a brown ale and peanut butter cake instead.

This was serendipitous, because peanut butter and brown ale go together amazingly, it turns out. The Brownstone, which has been brewed at Sixpoint for almost all its seven years, is so roasty and chocolately on its own. It has a slight hop bitterness, but none less appealing in a dessert than that of bittersweet cocoa. With peanut butter, it becomes nutty and rounder, and the effervescence of the beer helps leaven the cake. It’s definitely a new classic combo, over here.

IMG_1659Sixpoint’s Brownstone Ale

IMG_1673adding drops of reduced beer to the frosting

The cake batter incorporates both peanut butter and the ale. And since the peanut butter was so present in it, I made a buttercream frosting of just butter, powdered sugar, and a few drops of ultra-condensed Brownstone syrup.

It was the icing on the cake, you could say. The recipe, which was partly cobbled together from online recipes for stout cake, but mostly improvised using Brownstone (especially in the frosting), is below. A cake to celebrate, birthdays or not.

Peanut Butter & Brownstone Cake

(makes 8″ double-layer cake)

1 stick and 2 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup Sixpoint Brownstone Ale (or another brown ale, or a stout)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
pinch of salt
for the frosting:
1 stick butter, softened
about 1 – 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 cups Brownstone Ale, reduced to about 1 tablespoon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, bring the beer for the cake to a boil and add the 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons butter. Heat until melted through. Let cool slightly. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Sift the f