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Cook the Book: Plum Biercake

"The cake was dark and spicy, and the unique flavors of the beer came through beautifully."

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

This Plum Biercake from The Boozy Baker by Lucy Baker is a dessert that brings together the summery flavors of sweet plums with the deep, wintry flavors of gingerbread. The thick batter is enriched with dark beer to make for an incredibly moist cake and an intriguing flavor that varies depending on the beer you use.

I tend to keep my fridge well-stocked with beer in the summer months, but when it came time to bake this, I realized I just had lighter-style lagers and pilsners on hand. But before heading out to my local beer store, I took one last look in the very back of the fridge and found a lone can of Monk's Blood that I had entirely forgotten about. This high-alcohol Belgian style dark ale is brewed with vanilla, Mission figs, and cinnamon and couldn't have been more ideally suited to this baking project.

The batter came together in just a few minutes and once the plum slices were elegantly arranged on top, I popped it into the oven and enjoyed the rest of the beer (that didn't find its way into the cake). When the cake was finished baking, the plum slices had sunk just slightly into the batter and the surface was quite similar to that of a tarte tatin. The cake was dark and spicy, and the unique flavors of the beer came through beautifully. My only regret was not having another can or two of the Monk's Blood to serve along with the cake since this sweet, strong beer would have been the ideal accompaniment.

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