Saturday, Kevin and I visited the Oyster Bay Brewing Company in Oyster Bay, New York. We had set up a time to interview the owner, Ryan, and enjoyed a couple of beers while we were there.
I knew, of course, that I wanted to get a growler to bring home with us, but we needed to see what brew would be best for baking. Their Honey Ale immediately jumped out, and Ryan agreed that it was probably the best of their selection for a delicious dessert. Kevin had been enjoying that during the interview and agreed--I was sold.
We grabbed a 16oz growler and had it filled with their famous Honey Ale. As is our process, Kevin and I discussed what the best baked good would be for the honey flavor of the ale. We went back and forth a few times. I, of course, wanted something like shortbread cookies or cupcakes. Kevin would have none of that. I think he's sick of cupcakes (but I don't care--cupcakes FTW!). But then Kevin hit the nail on the head: a Honey Ale Pound Cake. Even in my cupcake hypnosis, I had to admit it was a great idea and would likely be the perfect pairing for the Oyster Bay Honey Ale.
Now, my sister makes a fantastic honey pound cake, and she was gracious enough to send over the recipe for me to adopt with the addition of the Oyster Bay Honey Ale. As with all baking with beer, it's a delicate balance for replacing wet ingredients and fats to still achieve the right consistency--something that is crucial, especially for something like a pound cake. I only had one tiny growler of the brew, so I had to get it right the first time. I mean, I certainly can't be wasting beer, right?
I'll be honest: there were a few times throughout the baking process that got me a little nervous. Was it too soupy? Why was it rising so strangely in the oven? As a paranoid person, I'm always worried that something terrible will go wrong with my kitchen experiments. (Not enough to not do them, though). The result? A fluffy, smooth interior with a slight crust surrounding. I likely could have added less Honey Ale, but I wanted to make sure you tasted the craft beer in the recipe--and you do. What's the point of experimenting with beer in recipes if you don't really taste it in the end? Sure, I would end up with pound cake, still, but that's not really what I'm going for. We want this to be creative!
This Honey Ale Pound Cake recipe leaves you with a buttery, honey, ale center. It's somehow smooth, dense, and light at the same time. Just like pound cake should be. All of the butter in the recipe does make the outer edges almost crispy, but I like it that way. If you don't, you may want to play around with the recipe a bit--maybe replace some more of the butter with honey ale and see what happens! (If you do, please let me know. I'd love to see the results.)
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go enjoy a slice of Honey Ale Pound Cake with the rest of the growler of Oyster Bay Brewing Co Honey Ale.