The best beers to try with cake: taste tested

Step aside tea, coffee and sparkling wine, says expert Mark Dredge – beer can be just the thing for sipping with a slice of the sweet stuff. Try one of these picks with a slice of cake.

The best beers to try with cake: taste tested

Sure, you’re not immediately thinking about opening a beer to go with a slice of cake. I understand that. But hear me out, because while tea and coffee might be the first drinks that come to mind, their flavours are very similar to what you find in beer. Take tea, which is malty and floral – two of the most common beer descriptors. Then there’s coffee, with its roasted bitterness and flavours of fruit and chocolate, which is a lot like dark beers. And what about carbonation? Well, have you ever had a glass of champagne or sparkling wine with lemon cake? It’s a great combination.

When you next have a piece of cake, forget about putting the kettle on – look in the fridge and see what beers you have instead. Try dark, strong beer with cakes made with chocolate, coffee, banana or dried fruit. If you have carrot or ginger cake, try them with strong, hoppy beers. Match sweet and sharp lemon cake with fruit beers made with cherry or raspberry. You might be surprised at how well beer and cake can work together.

Baking with beer

You’ve probably heard of chocolate stout cake, but other classic recipes also use beer, including Irish porter cake, or dark ale in a malt loaf instead of using steeped black tea. You could also add coffee stout into a coffee and walnut cake.

The best beers for cake

Aldi Specially Selected Coffee Stout, England 5.2%
Coffee stout is a great match for a banana loaf or a blueberry muffin. Try this version, brewed by Hall & Woodhouse in Dorset – it has a sweet coffee and dark chocolate depth. £1.79 for 500ml, available from Aldi

Samuel Smith Organic Raspberry Fruit Beer, England 5.1%
This Yorkshire-brewed organic beer tastes like fresh, sweet raspberries, and it’s wonderful with lemon drizzle cake. £2.65 for 355ml, available from Trembling Madness

Delirium Red, Belgium 8.5%
With flavours of sweet cherry, almond and marzipan, this strong Belgian cherry beer makes for a real treat with simnel cake this Easter, or with any classic fruit cake. £3.98 for 330ml, available from Beer Merchants

Vocation Naughty & Nice Chocolate Stout, England 5.9%
It’s chocolate on chocolate with this indulgent stout from West Yorkshire, which – unsurprisingly – is great with a slice of chocolate cake. £3 for 440ml, available from Vocation Brewery

Buxton Brewery King Slayer, England 8%
The citrussy hops of a Double IPA, as found in this one brewed in the Peak District, pair perfectly with the citrus and ginger flavours of a spiced carrot cake. £4 for 440ml, available from Tesco

Check out the rest of Mark’s tried and tested beer recommendations

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