Baking with Brightside Gluhbier

(Nigella, Delia or Mary *Part 3)
On my shelves at home I have approximately 1.5 million cookbooks – most of which I use regularly, however when I want to cook a classic, I grab my laptop and check in with The Guardian.
The third cake was due to be Delia’s, but with nothing to really set her recipe apart from Nigella’s and Mary’s, I bobbed over to see what Felicity Cloake had to say on the subject. As usual, she didn’t disappoint, with a new miscellany of dried fruits, and a lighter fruit to batter ratio.

Once again, I used enough Gluhbier to cover & soak the fruit overnight, keeping the extra juices that were left over the next day to feed my other cakes. It’s quickly turning into a nice little Christmas (weekend?!) tradition, feeding the cakes/ baking with the Gluhbier and then enjoying what’s left in the bottle!

What attracted me to her recipe initially was that Felicity uses figs, mixed peel and crystallised ginger, which is a lovely depart from the usual line-up. Fruit cakes lend themselves easily to experimentation, but for the purpose of the blog I wanted to stay true to the recipes in all else except the beer, so it was nice to find something a little different.

The problem with baking Christmas cakes every weekend is that you have many kilos of cake in the house, none of which you’re supposed to eat, so this time I decided to make us some mini-cake bars.

I wanted to see if I could cut out all the paper lining faff which is quite frankly a ball-ache! Fearing the worst but hoping for the best, I diligently lined all but one of my silicone bar moulds, and buttered the last. I filled them all, then baked them with a piece of parchment over the top to keep the colour a little lighter, and I’m happy to say they were a triumph! Best of all, the unlined mould worked perfectly well without burning or sticking which is probably down to the short baking time, whoop! Admittedly, you can’t beat the texture of a large cake cut into slices, but if you’re greedy like me and need enforced portion control, moulds are a good way to have a treat without eating the full cake!

Now, what to drink with the lovely little cake bars I hear you ask? Well, I have some suggestions:

  • Gluhbier – The obvious choice is of course Gluhbier, since we’ve made the cake with it! The mulled flavours and spices work really well with the Christmas cake, so if you’re looking for a mid-afternoon beer buzz, you can enjoy a festive nibble at the same time!
  • Fernando di Castillo Antique Pedro Ximinez sherry – no, not your grannie’s Bristol Cream!! This is a delicious sweet sherry, made from partially dried grapes and its luscious raisiny flavours work amazingly with the dried fruit in the cake. It’s a pairing for special occasions, when there are enough friends to share the bottle.
  • Earl Grey Tea – well, Christmas cake is fruit cake after all, and there’s no denying the sweet perfection of a cuppa and a slice of cake.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings this week, if I can think of another reason to bake next weekend there may be another blog to come! If not, there will definitely be one in the New Year to discuss the official tasting 🙂

Baking with Brightside Gluhbier. Image of a Christmas cake bar, used to illustrate baking with brightside Gluhbier, a spiced Christmas ale