Let Them Drink Cake

Innovation by | Oct 2014 | Issue #93

Like soups, sauces and bread, beer in cake is a classic combination—its flavor adds depth to many cake recipes. Which is why baker Misty Birchall blended her profession and her passion for craft beer and opened PubCakes, a San Diego bakery that created beer-based cakes and cupcakes.

It all started with an Irish car bomb birthday cake for a friend—Guinness-infused batter, Baileys Irish Cream frosting and Jameson Irish Whiskey ganache—and grew into a thriving bakery. But after losing her lease Birchall was inspired to change the PubCakes business plan.

“When I would make the batter for my shop, I would weigh out all of the dry ingredients first, and then add them to the wet ingredients,” she says. “So when the shop closed, I remembered that and realized that PubCakes could continue, just in a different way.”

PubCakes moved away from the brick-and-mortar model and turned to do-it-yourself dry cake mixes instead. They’re designed to be simple enough for anyone to make their own beer-infused cake or batch of cupcakes.

Available in four flavors (Chocolate Stout, Vanilla Ale, Belgian Spice and Cocoa Porter), the cake mixes allow bakers to choose a favorite beer for infusion and are comprised of recognizable ingredients; stuff you’d find in your own pantry. Home cooks can simply follow the instructions, adding beer, butter and an egg and baking as instructed, or they can mix things up, pun intended, by incorporating some of Birchall’s time-tested recipes, tips and tricks on PubCakes.com. Mixes, which yield one cake or a dozen cupcakes, sell for $7 a bag on the website.