Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Beer and Gingerbread

O.k., I know I haven’t been here for a while, and I don’t really have much of an excuse, but I promise you dear readers that I will do my best to be faithful, and maybe even a little witty, from now until...well, from now on. Please forgive me.

When people ask me if I cook with beer or wine, I can’t help but want to blurt a little silliness, “Sure! And sometimes I even put it in the food!” But in reality, I do like to cook with booze on occasion. There’s the ol’ reliable slow cooker pot roast, with either a healthy slug of beer or wine depending on the end result, or whatever I feel like finishing off with a glass on my own. There’s beer bread and even savory cheddar beer soup, which my mother adored. There are silky sauces to be made from classy bottles of Italian Barolo. Then there’s deglazing, and marinating, grilling, and zesty batters. So many options! But in all my experience as a cook, I’ve never heard of using beer, especially very stout beer, for baking a cake. The very thought of it makes my face do funny things and strange noises come out of my mouth.

This month’s issue of Southern Living magazine has devoted an entire set of recipes to cooking with beer. Oh, I can understand the connection, what with it being October and all, but sometimes I think you can take a thing too far. The very first recipe is a Gingerbread and Beer Cake with Stout Buttercream. Not only do you put beer in the cake batter, you add it to the icing too! Ugh. But Southern Living’s test kitchen “has given it their highest rating,” so I’m off to give it a try, mostly out of sheer curiosity.


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