Beer Cake

beer cake with caramel icing

The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 12 to 16 servings
Yield: 1 cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
378 Calories
18g Fat
51g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 16
Amount per serving
Calories 378
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 9g 44%
Cholesterol 59mg 20%
Sodium 212mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 19%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 34g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 43mg 3%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 143mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Beer is the secret ingredient in this flavorful, tender spiced Bundt cake. The beer adds moisture, tenderness, and depth of flavor, and its carbonation adds a little natural leavening. There's no need for baking powder in this recipe, but the baking soda helps to neutralize the beer's acidity and provides some lift. Whether you enjoy drinking beer or don't, you will love the wonderful flavor and texture this caramel-iced beer cake offers!

The beer flavor in the cake can be pretty subtle to robust—it depends on the type of beer you choose. Amber and brown ales have a slightly nutty flavor and bring out caramel notes, while a lager or wheat beer goes well with warm spices. Experiment with beers you enjoy. A craft beer, fruity IPA, or sour beer could be outstanding in this cake, or try making it with a darker beer, such as a stout or porter with coffee and chocolate notes.

The cake includes dates and pecans for extra texture, but you may choose another kind of dried fruit or nut. While you could choose another icing or glaze for the cake, the caramel icing marries perfectly with the spices. If you want to make it a show-stopper, sprinkle the icing with some chopped toasted pecans or walnuts before it hardens. This is an excellent cake for the game-day crowd, a birthday party, neighborhood cookout, or potluck.

“This cake is wonderfully moist and the spices will make your home smell delicious while it’s baking. I loved the unexpected crunch and sweetness from the addition of the dates and nuts. A slice was perfect with a cup of coffee!” —Julia Hartbeck


Beer Cake/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Cake

  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, more for the pan

  • 2 1/2 cups (320 grams) all-purpose flour, divided, more for the pan

  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted dates

  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans, or walnuts

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 1/2 cups (320 grams) packed brown sugar, light or dark

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 1/4 cups beer of choice, room temperature

For the Caramel Icing

  • 1/2 cup (105 grams) packed brown sugar, light or dark

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or whipping cream, more as needed

  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • 1 pinch fine salt

  • 1 cup (115 grams) confectioners' sugar, sifted, more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

Make the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make beer cake with caramel icing

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F. Grease and flour a 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan.

    greased and floured bundt pan

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  3. Toss the dates and pecans together in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of the flour. Set aside.

    dates and pecans tossed with flour in a bowl

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  4. Combine the remaining flour, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice, salt, and cloves in a bowl. Whisk to blend and set aside.

    flour mixed with spices in a bowl

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  5. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

    creamed butter and brown sugar in a bowl with a hand mixer

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition, and then beat in the vanilla.

    creamed beer cake batter in a bowl with a hand mixer

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  7. With the mixer on low speed, beat in about 1/3 of the flour-spice mixture with about half of the beer. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour-spice mixture and the remaining beer. Beat in the remaining flour-spice mixture until just combined. 

    beer cake batter in a bowl with a hand mixer

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  8. Fold in the floured dates and nuts with a silicone spatula.

    beer cake batter with folded nuts and dates in a bowl

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  9. Scrape the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake until a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes.

    baked beer cake in a bundt pan

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  10. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.

    beer cake cooling on a wire rack

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Prepare the Caramel Icing

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make caramel icing

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  2. Combine the brown sugar, heavy cream, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. 

    butter, sugar, and cream heating in a sauce pan

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  3. Bring the mixture to a boil. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

    caramel mixture coming to a boil in a saucepan

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  4. Whisk in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla to make a smooth glaze. If too thin, add more confectioners' sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. If too thick, add more cream 1 teaspoon at a time.

    caramel icing in a saucepan with a metal whisk

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Ice the Cake

  1. With the cake still on the cooling rack, set the cooling rack on top of a piece of parchment paper.

    beer cake on a wire rack with parchment paper underneath

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  2. Spoon the caramel icing over the cake, allowing it to run down the sides.

    beer cake with caramel icing on top of a wire rack

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  3. Let set for 10 minutes before cutting the cake and enjoying.

    beer cake with caramel icing

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck


  • A brown ale, with its nutty, caramel flavor, is an excellent choice, or make it with a lager, which marries nicely with the spices. A fruity sour or IPA could work as well—try making the cake with a beer you enjoy drinking.
  • If serving this cake to a mixed group, make sure to let everyone know there is alcohol in it.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the chopped dates with raisins, dried apricots, dried cherries, or chopped prunes.
  • Sprinkle chopped toasted pecans over the icing before it hardens.
  • Replace the individual spices with 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of apple pie spice.
  • Omit the icing, dust the cake with confectioners' sugar, and serve it with caramel sauce, a scoop of ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream.
  • Instead of caramel icing, finish the beer cake with vanilla icing.
  • You may bake the cake in a 9 x 13-inch rectangular cake pan, but reduce the baking time to 30 to 35 minutes.

How to Store

  • Cover the beer cake and store it at room temperature for up to 2 days, or store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • To freeze the cake, wrap slices in plastic and foil and put them in a resealable freezer bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Thaw frozen beer cake slices at room temperature or in the refrigerator for several hours.