I'm playing around with some cake recipe ideas, and would like to swap out the milk in a recipe for beer. The milk is apparently slightly more acidic than the beer (according to what I've read, fresh beer has a pH of 4, and milk's pH is closer to 7). Do you think this difference would have a negative affect on the cake? In a situation like this, are there any ways to slightly increase the alkalinity of a cake batter? I know I could add lemon juice, vinegar, etc. for acid, but not sure about alkaline ingredients. Or am I just overthinking the whole thing? Entirely possible. :)



avimom January 7, 2011
There's a wine cake recipe in Great Good Food by Julee Rosso. It's my go-to cake b/c I always have the ingredients on hand. Perhaps a pale beer could sub?
campagnes January 5, 2011
Well, the flavor was great, but texture-wise, it was a heavy, oily flop. :-) Live and learn! I'm trying for a non-chocolate beer cake, so I'll keep playing and will post a recipe when (if?) I finally nail it. Thanks a bunch, everyone.

And ooh, yes, chocolate cake using stout.. I LOVE it! my absolute favorite is smitten kitchen's car bomb cupcakes: http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/01/car-bomb-cupcakes/
mrslarkin January 5, 2011
I use Guinness Stout (and espresso) in my chocolate cakes. It's a great combo.
avimom January 5, 2011
Verdigris is right. pH 7 is actually neutral. Higher than 7 you've got a base, lower than 7 you've got an acid. I'm positive the pH of beer will vary by type of beer and alcohol content, however. Perhaps it's best not to over think it.
nutcakes January 5, 2011
I've made Guiness Chocolate Cake from Suzanne Goins Sunday Suppers at Luques. It has molasses with increases acidity.
2 cups all-purpose .our
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened
Guinness ice cream (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sift the dry ingredients together.

Whisk beer and molasses in a medium pot, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the baking soda. Mixture will foam up.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and both sugars. Whisk in the oil, and then the beer mixture.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the liquids, whisking slowly until just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix or the cake will be tough.

Pour the batter into a lightly buttered Bundt pan and bake 30 minutes. The
cake is done when it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and the topsurface is just starting to crack. When you insert a skewer into the center,
it should come out mostly clean. To keep the cake moist, cover it with a dry
kitchen towel as it cools. After 30 minutes, invert the cake onto a platter.

She serves it with Guiness Ice Cream. I was able to find some B&J's Black and Tan at the 99cent store one year. Delicious.

campagnes January 5, 2011
haha.. see, this is why I need other sets of eyes. :-) Thanks for all the imput and suggestions.. I'm gonna play around and see what happens. I'll report back! even if it sucks! :)
Verdigris January 5, 2011
If your numbers are correct you have interpreted the scale incorrectly. The beer is more acidic than the milk. If subbing beer for milk you need to add 1/2 tsp of baking soda for each cup of milk replaced by beer and reduce the baking powder by 1/2 tsp for each cup of milk replaced by beer.
KaffeeAndKuchen January 5, 2011
I've added a nice stout to cake batter recipes, and had it work out just fine. You could try a pub ale (like boddington's or old speckled hen). And then like Kayb says, you'll need to make up for the butterfat. Try tasting the batter at the end, and if it needs a better mouth feel, add in a little melted butter or sour cream or creme fraiche.
Kayb January 5, 2011
Baking soda will, of course, increase the alkalinity. But I'm not sure alkalinity will have much to do with the overall result. I'd be more concerned about upping whatever fat you use, to make up for the lack of butterfat in the beer.
drbabs January 5, 2011
Interesting! Buttermilk also has a pH of 4-4.5, so you could us a recipe that calls for buttermilk and just swap out the buttermilk for the beer, if it's only pH that you're concerned about. I think the milk solids probably also play a role, but there are cake recipes that don't use milk at all. Have fun and let us know how it turns out!
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