Sunday, September 22, 2013

Beer + Cake = Love

A looming VAT return deadline that I’m procrastinating on and a sudden revisit from the summer weather nudged me to finally get back into posting words on this blog. I have just the bind-blow to share with you. Check your judgments at the door. Wait for it… Cake and beer. I’ll let that pairing linger in your brain for a moment. Allow your reaction to gradually shift from, “Huh? That’ll never work,” to “Huh! Who knew that could work?!”

I’m here to tell you that it works. With special attention paid to the prominent and subtle flavours and textures of cakes, and the prominent, subtle, and lingering flavours and fizziness of quality craft beer, you can experience a rarely visited taste combination. And a tasty combination it is.

Photo courtesy of Sharon Gunter of

Caryna’s Cakes hosted a Cake + Beer tasting event way back in the summer. The lovely gentlemen of Beoir; John of The Beer Nut and Reuben of A Tale of Ale were kind enough to consult on pairings in advance of the night, and guide the tasting at the event. Their expertise on the brewing process, of Irish craft breweries and tasting delicious beers really elevated the event from, “This tastes good,” to “that is very interesting. This tastes good. I’m learning and drinking beer and eating 5 pieces cake at the same time. Being an adult isn’t that much of a bummer after all.”
Photo courtesy of Sharon Gunter of

Lime Coconut Macaroon cake was paired with Dungarvan Helvic Gold & Thyme Infused "Clara con Limón" (which is a spritzer)
I knew what variety or cakes I wanted to bake, although left the final recipes fairly loose until I knew exactly which beers we would be serving. I knew for sure that I wanted to serve nothing less than Irish craft beer. I am in deep love with Irish craft beer. Fittingly, I am also in deep love with cake. It turns out no career would suit me better.

Baked vanilla bean cheesecake was paired with White Gyspy Dubbel 

There were slim pickings on the Google to guide me on how exactly to pair beer and cake. But I knew it could be done. Cuilan and Sally from White Gypsy Brewery in Tipperary showed me that it could be done. It was a taste of his Belgian Dubbel paired with a chocolate raspberry cheesecake that set me off in the first place. It seemed that Caryna’s Cakes and Beoir would be hosting Ireland’s very first ever in the country on the planet Irish Craft Beer and Cake Tasting event. Ever.

Peanut caramel brownie was paired with Dungarvan Copper Ale

The general rule for tasting pairings is to go with either flavor matching (from example, the caramely notes in the Dungarvan Copper Ale complimented the caramel coating on the Peanut caramel brownies) and/or opposites. Here’s what we served:

Thyme-infused "Clara con Limón" with Dungarvan Helvic Gold & Lime coconut macaroon cake

O'Hara's Leann Follaín & Chili chocolate tart

Dungarvan Copper Ale & Peanut caramel brownie

Mac's apple cider & French crepes served with rhubarb apple compote

White Gyspy Dubbel & Baked vanilla bean cheesecake

As my grandfather Gica would say, "It was DELICIOUS." (Food love is in my blood)

Give (a) piece (of cake with beer) a chance.
I'm not one bit ashamed of that.


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