— The Bake and Brew

The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to (virtually) converge on a single beer related topic, each bringing their own unique perspective. This month is hosted by Tasting Nitch, with our prompt being (in general): women & craft beer. 

I’m a little late on this month’s Session post, as I’ve been waiting for The Biercast to release their latest episode on Women & Beer, where another lady and I sit down with the hosts to talk about this very subject. I’m going to try to keep this entry brief, simply because trying to unpack this subject and do it justice is a daunting task in any format. However, I had a blast talking to Eric & Andrew from The Biercast (and special guest Whitney) about women & craft beer, and I highly recommend you give this a listen. But first…

What made sitting down with these guys to talk about what could be a touchy subject, and where we could all end up saying something regrettable was how open and forgiving we all were (save a few eyebrow raises amongst ourselves..shhh…just kidding…kind of). Talking about the engagement of women in any cultural/societal area is tough, and can be a hot issue. It’s really hard to hold the conversation in the first place, and on top of that, it can feel like the stakes are so high. It can feel as if you say the wrong thing (especially as a woman) then you’ll have a wave of backlash coming your way. But even before we started recording this episode we all pretty much agreed that it’s okay if that happens. It’s okay to voice an opinion we all still may be working out. It’s okay to let the conversation go down a hole, and have to dig ourselves out. It’s okay to get stuck. If we’re willing to hear constructive criticism, if we’re willing to let others figure out what they think, if we’re willing to admit we may have a flawed idea, then we can have a great talk. As long as we give each other the benefit of the doubt, as long as we’re kind and forgiving, then we can move our elbows a little bit and feel this subject out.

And if you’re similar to myself and haven’t had much resistance to participating in the craft beer community, and feel that this is a superficial topic, then I still want to write down this point:

Even though we started off talking about craft beer…we think about advertising, we think about marketing, we think about women’s roles and how women are portrayed in advertising. Okay, what does that mean for our society? What does that mean for our culture? What does that mean for how men view women? What does that mean for our interactions together? And what are the consequences in our interactions with each other?… If we want to go there, we can do that…we even touched on how women talk differently than men. Even though this is a relatively light subject, women speak differently. We have different ways of communicating, and that’s a very deep subject at the heart of when we think about feminism and gender roles. 

From this conversation tonight, at least in our experiences, if women in craft beer…if it’s not equally balanced…this is a great platform to start getting there.

So give it a listen, be kind to us as we move through the conversation, pick up a beer, and keep this going.

the session

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Because you’re a darling, I bring you this cake. Because you made it through Monday. Because it’s dark outside and winter is coming. Because you’re here I bring you this cake that will shoot sunshine directly into your kitchen.

This cake is the stuff of dreams. The lemon cake itself is light and more airy than you could believe, and it seems hardly real that something so soft can hold its shape. The raspberry filling is tart, splashed with lip-puckering raspberry ale, and the balance of the raspberry and lemon is beautiful. They bring out the best in each other, and then when you taste the lemon cream cheese frosting…well you’re just going to squint your eyes and smile.

Founders Rubaeus Raspberry Ale

Lemon Cake (also Lemon Lover Cupcakes)
(recipe from My Baking Addiction)
Yields one 9 inch round cake layer

zest from one lemon
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (it’s worth the money)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
4 large egg whites
yellow food coloring as needed

Italicized ingredients/measurements are those differing from the original recipe.

1. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt in small mixing bowl. Beat eggs and milk in a separate bowl.
2. In medium bowl, rub lemon zest and sugar together until the sugar is a uniform pale yellow and feels damp. Add butter, vanilla extract, and lemon extract, and cream until smooth.
3. Add 1/3 flour mixture, mix well. Add 1/2 wet mixture, mix well. Add 1/3 flour. Mix. Add remaining 1/2 wet. Mix. Add remaining 1/3 flour. Mix until just combined. Gently stir in food coloring until you reach your desired yellow.
4. Butter and line 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper. Batter will fill pan about halfway. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
5. Let cake cool completely, and cut layer in two halves horizontally.
6. Spread raspberry ale filling on bottom half generously. Assemble the top layer, and frost with lemon cream cheese frosting.

Lemon dream cake

Raspberry Ale Filling

One 10 oz bag frozen raspberries
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons Raspberry Ale (Founders Rübæus Raspberry Ale), flat

1. Let frozen raspberries thaw in a medium saucepan until soft.
2. Mix cornstarch, water, and beer together. Pour over raspberries.
3. Bring mixture to a boil slowly while crushing raspberries, and let boil for one minute. Mixture should change consistency to become thick.
4. Take off heat and let cool to room temperature.
5. Store extra filling in airtight container and use within 2-3 days.

Lemon dream cake

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups confectioners sugar

Beat all ingredients together until fluffy, but not too runny. You may need to put the frosting in the refrigerator to chill for just a few minutes halfway between mixing. Frost, and store in fridge after cake has been out for a few hours.

To store for longer periods of time, cut your cake into slices and seal with cling wrap. Freeze sealed pieces of cake, and put individual pieces in the refrigerator about 8 hours (or overnight) before enjoying.

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Thomas Creek Chocolate Orange IPA

All in all…
My first thoughts were “Chocolate? IPA? With Orange? This should be interesting.” When I grabbed this from Friendly Package I assumed it was a chocolate orange stout or porter, because who puts chocolate in an IPA right? Well these guys do, and it’s delicious. Never would I imagine chocolate being used for a pale ale, let alone an India Pale Ale. Black IPA? Maybe…but this…this works. The aroma is slightly light and citrusy, and this is a full-bodied, flavorful, and rich IPA. Now, the chocolate isn’t right at the forefront, but in my opinion it really deepens and builds out the flavor here. It’s almost like a Porter/IPA lovechild hit all the right branches of the beer family tree. I have to say, I am mighty impressed with this one.

I really really can’t get enough of this.

Bonus: Look out for a Chocolate Orange IPA Cake recipe soon…

Recommend to a friend?
Absolutely. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Lightweight-safe?
Nope. Not at 7.5% ABV

Plus one?
With this flavor? Yes please. With that ABV? No thank you.

Get a six pack?
I think these come in four packs, but yes, I would recommend grabbing a full pack of this.

The Hops
Thomas Creek Brewery - Greenville, SC
India Pale Ale

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Yesterday I spent the day in Paducah, Kentucky with my family, which has turned out to be such a neat downtown and great example of a community fully investing in itself to revitalize an area. Ten years ago apparently downtown Paducah was like many other contempoary downtowns – business draining as a shopping mall drew people and shoppers to the outskirts of town. However, the city and business owners deeply invested in the Artist Relocation Program, and the downtown has thrived. The riverfront walls protecting the city have been covered in murals depicting the city’s history, there is apparently a thriving music scene, and the several restaurants we went to yesterday were delicious. It was an active, eclectic, bustling area, and a delight to spend the day exploring. There was even an Octoberfest in full swing when we arrived, and I was all too content to spend some time in a thick sweater drinking a Smuttynose Brown Ale at lunch.

Anyways, as I’m up incredibly early (woke up at 6 am. on my own. on a Sunday…yep) I’ve been looking through some of my old film that hasn’t made it into blog posts yet, so go make a large pot of coffee and enjoy a few Sunday leftovers.

Strawberry Blonde

Anchor Steam

Sweet peppers

St. Charles Car Show

Saturday grilling

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pumpkin beer cake

Hello beautiful.

Get ready to have your house smell like fall and barely be able to resist opening up the oven every five minutes to eagerly check on this cake. This cake is the best of pumpkin pie, the best of light & airy cake batter, and the best of baking a cake with beer. This cake is best had in flannel PJs during a frosty morning, with a soft sweater on, and hot cinnamon coffee. This cake is best had before driving to an apple orchard, or with hot apple cider. This cake is best had, really, at all times.

I went home this past weekend and enjoyed some glorious weather, drank delicious coffee, and went to an apple orchard to eat apple donuts dunked in cinnamon sugar. I don’t think a bad weekend is possible when you have apple donuts involved, to be honest. I drove through cornfields with fog rising above the farms, and I drank good beer with good people. This weekend was kind, gentle, and filling.

Jacobs Farm

Pumpkin Beer Cake 
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Pumpkin Cupcakes

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/6 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch ground pepper
1 egg, room temperature
1/4 cup Schlafly pumpkin beer, flat
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1. Cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together in medium bowl. Mix in egg and vanilla.
2. Sift dry ingredients together in small bown (flour, powder, soda, and spices). Add half of dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
3. Mix in beer until incorporated. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Mix in pumpkin puree until smooth.
5. Butter one medium cake pan, and my advice? Cut a piece of parchment paper just smaller than the bottom of the pan, and place at the bottom. I also highly recommend cutting stripes to line the sides of the pan.
6. Pour in cake batter and spread evenly.
7. Bake for 15-17 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Let completely cool then frost!

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
again, slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen‘s frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/8 cup maple syrup

Beat all ingredients together until fluffy, but not too runny. You may need to put the frosting in the refrigerator to chill for just a few minutes halfway between mixing. Frost, and store in fridge after cake has been out for a few hours.

To store for longer periods of time, cut your cake into slices and seal with cling wrap. Freeze sealed pieces of cake, and put individual pieces in the refrigerator about 8 hours (or overnight) before enjoying.

*Unfortunately none of my pictures of this cake taken on film turned out at all. None. I got the shutter speed wrong for the white frosting, and the focus was all off. So this is brought to you by my iPhone and VSCOcam. Thanks for understanding.

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