Baking is often only associated with women. The mum in the kitchen baking cupcakes for her children, a girls night in with lots of brownies and Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream, Blair Waldorf eating macaroons in her bathtub,… Basically everything that involves sugar, chocolate or frosting is considered to be “Ladies Only” territory. I guess men prefer savory snacks because it is often deemed more masculine and butchy, whereas sweet desserts are looked upon as too dainty, too soft, too feminine.
I can’t really blame them, though. It is a behaviour pattern as old as food itself. Women eat sweet and men eat salty. It is practically a biological and evolutionary distinction!
However, I like to think out of the box. Behavioural patterns are there to be broken once and awhile. Just like Jamie Oliver who once created a “proper blokes’ pasta dish”, I decided it was about time to bake the ultimate blokes’ cake. This cake is based on a combo all men tend to love: beer and salty nuts. Adding these ingredients to a cake batter, however, creates a whole other dimension. Suddenly the beer turns the cake into a succulent brownie, while the salted peanuts provide that lovely crunch. Just when you think that things can’t get any better than this, I even conjured up the most amazing beer toffee sauce to go with it!
This is possibly the best cake to bake on Father’s Day: gutsy, blokey and full of hearty flavours. And I can assure you that all us ladies will love it as well!
Chocolate and Belgian Beer brownies with salted peanut crumble
For the brownie:
• 125gr butter or soy spread
• 1.25 dl Belgian dark ale
• 40gr cocoa powder
• 200gr caster sugar
• 1 egg
• 0,7 dl milk
• 140gr plain flour
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• ¼ tsp baking powder
For the peanut crumble:
• 15gr butter
• 25gr plain flour
• 15gr caster sugar
• 35gr roasted and salted peanuts, chopped
For the beer toffee sauce
• 1,5dl dark ale
• 7 tbsp muscovado sugar
• 1 tbsp runny honey
• Splash of double cream
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a baking tin with baking parchment.
2. For the brownie, pour the beer into a saucepan and add the butter. Gently heat until it has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder and sugar.
3. Mix together the egg and milk and pour the liquid into the contents of the pan.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and stir in the chocolate-beer mixture from the pan.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin.
6. For the crumble, rub the flour and butter together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and peanuts. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top of the brownie batter and bake into the oven for 20-25 minutes.
7. Allow to cool completely before cutting it into squares.
8. To make the beer toffee sauce, heat the beer gently into a saucepan until it comes to the boil. Add the muscovado sugar and honey and let it simmer for at least 15 minutes on a low heat until the liquid had reduced and flavour has intensified. Add a splash of cream to tone down the richness of the sauce. Pour the sauce into a small can and serve with the lovely brownies.