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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. :)

asked by campagnes over 6 years ago
10 answers 1075 views
E4b7660b f3f6 4873 bd6d 2130a16403fb  img 1088

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 6 years ago

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!

B0f2c3df 9bf7 43fc 8544 eb75ba85a60e  kay at lake
added over 6 years ago

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.

C3a93e24 bb6e 4075 a380 726a92603de0  jamie
added over 6 years ago

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.

B6a74962 31fc 4e50 b866 0ea34483cfb8  fb avatar
added over 6 years ago

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.

8e94e86b faa9 42ae 93f9 c243369e2b3f  cakecake
added over 6 years ago

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! :)

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 6 years ago

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.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 6 years ago

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.

22b9ddc9 fc61 48a3 949e dee341974288  liz and dad
added over 6 years ago

I use Guinness Stout (and espresso) in my chocolate cakes. It's a great combo.

8e94e86b faa9 42ae 93f9 c243369e2b3f  cakecake
added over 6 years ago

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...

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 6 years ago

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?

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