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Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting by Hannah

 

Pumpkin Porter Spice Cake with Cream Ale Cream Cheese Frosting

New Republic Brewing

College Station, TX

Sweet Potato Porter

ABV: 6.6%

IBUs: 17

Packaging: Draft, 12oz. cans

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beer-chronicle-houston-craft-beer-new-republic-windlass-pint

Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company

Houston, TX

Cream Ale

ABV: 5.8%

IBUs: 13

Packaging: Draft, 12oz. cans

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Y’all ever get that itch to bake? You know the one, where you have an insatiable desire to craft something sweet, delicious, and oh so fattening? Well here I am, attempting to merge my love of craft beer and baking, all into one.

Each month I will feature a completely new recipe aimed to blow your mind and please your tastebuds (bonus points for allowing my alcoholism to remain masked as a love for the culinary arts). While I’ve been known to gripe about oktoberfests already hitting shelves, this month’s recipe also flashes forward to the fall/holiday season for a treat you can woo your family with for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Chanukkah, or whatever you celebrate!

Just imagine the look on Aunt Susy’s face when you stroll in with a homemade dessert, rather than your usual store-bought dinner rolls. And dang, won’t it be nice to finally one up your annoying cousin Chad, who year after year contributes the same lame pecan pie?

Keeping with Beer Chronicle tradition, this recipe, and those to come, will only highlight Houston (and select surrounding areas’) craft beer. With so many awesome breweries in H Town, there’s no reason to look elsewhere. You might need to think outside the box on which beer would work best for any certain recipe, but trust me, it most definitely exists amongst the local offerings.

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Buffalo Bayou Sam’s Daily Cream Ale pours a light, golden yellow with a thin, white head. It smells moderately grainy and malty, thanks to the flaked corn malt, and a slight bit hoppy, veering toward grassy and floral tones.

Accordingly, it has a creamy, light body that makes it a go-to for beating the Texas heat. Fellow writer, Tam, previously reviewed Buffalo Bayou Sam’s Daily, saying it “would go well during a slow day of football or even a slow smoking (grill) session”. It tastes like a sweet biscuit with very mild hop bitterness that finishes smooth and crisp.

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On the other hand, however, New Republic Windlass Sweet Potato Porter is a decadent dessert in itself. Hailing from College Station, Texas, New Republic can proudly say they’ve been around the block for almost seven years. Run by current and former Aggies, they offer a variety of solid, staple, year round beers and a couple seasonal brews like Windlass.

As it’s name suggests, Windlass Sweet Potato Porter was truly brewed with over “500 pounds of roasted pureed sweet potatoes” which gives it a unique mouthfeel and taste. Some of the accounts I read online about the beer mention getting it on tap in an unfiltered fashion. These folks mention small chunks of sweet potato suspended in their glass, which created a not so delightful drinking experience…but hey, now I’m wishing I hadn’t had the canned version!

Windlass pours a dark brown, debatably black tone, with a thick, longstanding, creamy, tan head. It smells of malty grains, molasses, and spiced cinnamon. It accomplishes a very rich, robust taste without adding an unnecessary thickness.

While the addition of the sweet potatoes likely increased the body, it’s still a medium mouthfeel with little carbonation, that could lend itself to sipping on a balmy afternoon in July or during the “cooler” Texas holiday months.

While rich in flavors such as cocoa, caramel, and roasted potatoes, it finishes a bit drier and more bitter than I expected, but according to New Republic, this is due to “a combination of English hop varietals and Black patent malt”.

Pumpkin Porter Spice Cake Ingredients:

  • 1- 12oz New Republic Windlass Sweet Potato Porter
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butter (or margarine if you’re watching your figure)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

Cream Ale Cream Cheese Ingredients:

  • 1/2 oz Buffalo Bayou Sam’s Daily Cream Ale
  • 4 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (or more, depending on how thick you prefer your icing)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1- 6 pack of the above beers (You’ve GOT to have something to sip on while working hard in the kitchen!)

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I had a majority of ingredients in my pantry, even the pumpkin pie spice, oddly enough. Buffalo Bayou Sam’s Daily should be relatively easy to find in most liquor or grocery stores, but New Republic Windlass may be a bit more difficult. My favorite tried and true mainstay, D&Q Beer Station, came through with New Republic.

Also, a slight forewarning: many of the glorious pictures you are about to view feature my sad AF oven circa the 1950s. Seriously, it looks like June Cleaver would use this thing to whip up kitchen miracles in minutes, but it’s all my teeny tiny apartment in Montrose can manage. It’s also kind of dirty. Sorry not sorry.

Alright, let’s get to the fun stuff: BAKING!!

Pumpkin Porter Spice Cake Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375º.
  2. Grease a large bread pan with butter to keep the cake from sticking.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients- flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar- into a large bowl until completely mixed.
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  4. Add pumpkin puree and New Republic Windlass Sweet Potato Porter. Stir just enough to integrate all ingredients smoothly.beer-chronicle-houston-craft-beer-new-republic-windlass-can
  5. Pour batter into greased bread pan. Top with butter.beer-chronicle-houston-craft-beer-cake-pan
  6. Bake in oven for 55 minutes to an hour, or until the top is golden brown and middle is no longer wet. Check the middle with a toothpick closer to 50 minutes to see if it has baked all the way through.
  7. While the cake is baking, move ahead to the instructions for the cream ale cream cheese icing. Multitasking is SO in right now.
  8. Remove from oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before spreading icing.

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Cream Ale Cream Cheese Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together. If you’re fancy, I’d recommend using an electric mixer. If you’re broke like me, a spoon and brute strength will have to do.
  2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time (otherwise you will have a serious mess on your hands).
  3. Mix in the vanilla extract and Buffalo Bayou Sam’s Daily Cream Ale.
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  4. Once it reaches the consistency you prefer, slather up the top of your cooled off pumpkin porter spice cake.
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  5. Cut cake into pieces and add more frosting if you desire (I think we both know you’re going to add more).
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  6. Laugh hysterically as your dog gazes longingly at your delectable masterpiece*
  7. Finally, praise the Craft Beer Gods for providing such a bounty, and then enjoy!!*This cake is not dog-friendly. DO NOT share with your canine (or feline) friends!

If you’re not normally the type to bake, consider giving this scrumptious Pumpkin Porter Spice Cake a try! It isn’t very time consuming and there are no tricky techniques involved. I’ve used Sam’s Daily before for chocolate chip beer cookies, but this was my first attempt at an icing. The creaminess and light sweetness of Sam’s Daily perfectly compliments the powdered sugar.

Maybe I’m biased, but this really satiates my sweet tooth. What did you think of the pumpkin porter spice cake with cream ale cream cheese frosting? Is it getting you into the mood for the holiday season, or will you just stick to drinking the brews?  Holla at me below to let me know either way. I’ll be back next month with another recipe to hopefully blow your mind. Beers to you, Houston!

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Hannah
hannah@beerchronicle.com
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