Our vanilla porter cake is a moist dense cake recipe, with a warm spiced flavor that evokes winter holiday feelings. One of South Shore Kitchens most critical testers said, “it tastes like Christmas smells”. We couldn’t agree more. It is the perfect cake for a holiday get together or to enjoy on a cozy afternoon, with a cup of tea and some great conversation. A cake I imagine my grandma would have served when
she invited her sisters to come gossip over a cup of coffee. Of course, it was never called gossip back then, it was a “visit” and only a small slice of cake would be accepted because they were “watching their figure” but actually they would spend the entire afternoon nibbling away, sneaking small slices every chance they got.
This little gem came to us tucked away in an old box of recipes we picked up at a barn sale. For us, finding an old recipe box bursting at the seams is the holy grail of long forgotten dusty treasures. Combing through our new pile of recipes we had a bit of a laugh because most of the recipes were illegibly scrawled lists of ingredients without instructions, cook times, temperatures, or even a recipe name. Feeling like we weren’t in Kansas anymore, but we kept on the path and out popped a recipe for beer cake. A real full recipe. It has a title, list of ingredients, temperatures and instructions. Score!
Out of the Blue, Something New!
The introduction for the original recipe states, “you will want to try this unusual recipe”. Heck yeah, we do! There is nothing we love more at South Shore Kitchen than to try something new, an ingredient, technique or a whole entire recipe
Going over the list of ingredients, we knew the perfect style of beer to pair with this recipe is a vanilla porter. Not only is it my favorite style of beer but the malty, sweet, roast flavor of a vanilla porter is a fantastic compliment to the other flavors in the cake. Driving to the store we were a little nervous about trying to buy a winter seasonal style of beer in August thanks to Wiseguys and Breckenridge Brewery for coming through.
We had zero expectations for this recipe. It sounded fun so we decided to give it a go and not really care how it turned out. Imagine our surprise when we LOVED it!
Spicing It Up
Here are a few changes we made to the original recipe, the recipe called for dried dates, we used dried figs for no other reason than we had a whole jar of them that needed to get used. We loved it with the figs and would use them again, but it would be good either way.
Mrs. Wilkinson used margarine in her recipe. We were trying to be authentic and stick with the original recipe, but margarine is a hard no for us. It’s not something we keep in the kitchen, so we went with butter. If anyone knows the merits of using margarine in this recipe, please comment down below. We would love to learn about it.
1 ½ cups of unspecified nuts, to us walnuts or pecans would be the default choices. We think either one would be great however we settled on pecans because we had them in stock. We did cheat a little and only used one cup of pecans seeing as our stock was a little low.
There you have it! Mrs. Wm. O. Wilkinson and Mrs. Harvey F. Rostiser’s beer cake recipe with a South Shore Kitchen twist. Let us know what you think in the comments down below or tag us on social media and show us what’s in your kitchen.Print
Vanilla Porter Spice Cake
- Cook Time: 60
- Total Time: 60
- Method: Baking
- 2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- One cup butter, room temperature, cut into chunks
- 1 ½ cups dried figs, chopped
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups beer, vanilla porter
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tsp. all spice
- 1 tsp. clove
- tube pan, greased & floured
- Frosting Ingredients:
- ¼ to ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1–2 tbsp. milk
- Few drops of vanilla
- Preheat oven to 300° F
- Sift Flour and spices together and set aside.
- In a medium bowl add sugar, banking soda, and butter. Mix on medium speed until creamed.
- Continue mixing and add eggs one at a time until beat to a smooth texture. Next, alternate adding fruit, nuts and beer until incorporated.
- Add flour mixture to your batter and mix well.
- Pour batter into greased and floured tube pan. Bake for about 60 minutes. Once removed from oven invert pan and let cool.
- Once cake is cooled, mix frosting ingredients together adding enough liquids until frosting is thin enough to drizzle over cake.
- Run a thin knife around the inside edges of tube pan, remove cake, and drizzle frosting over the top.
- Cut, serve, and enjoy!
- Note on bake time – The original recipe calls for a 90-minute bake time. For us that was way too long. Our cake was completely done at 60 minutes. Take care not to overbake.