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Red Ale Carrot Cake Loaf

Recipe Info

Difficulty: Easy
Mess Level: Low
Yield: 1 Loaf
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 50 min



  • 1 ⅔ Cups AP Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Coarse Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Cardamom


  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Peeled & Grated Apple or Apple Sauce
  • 2 Eggs
  • ⅓ Cup Neutral Oil
  • ⅓ Cup Red Ale


  • 1 Cup Finely Grated Fresh Carrot
  • 1 Tablespoon Softened Butter
  • ¼ Cup Pumpkin Seeds or Nuts (Optional)
  • ¼ Cup Dried Cranberries (Optional)



Note: You may use the red ale as is and drink the rest or you may reduce 12oz of red ale down to ⅓ cup which will enhance the flavor, but add some prep time. I’ve tried both ways and they are delicious.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
  2. In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and ground cardamom. Sift again, then whisk in the salt.
  3. If using shredded apple, combine the apple and sugar in a food processor and process till mixed. If using apple sauce you may simply use a whisk and a bowl. Add the eggs, oil, and red ale, and combine.
  4. Add the shredded carrot to the flour mixture and toss to coat the carrot in flour. Add the pumpkin seeds and cranberries and coat them in flour as well.
  5. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  6. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x5 loaf pan and pour in the batter. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the top is springy and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for up to an hour before removing it from the pan.

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Make It...

  1. Dairy Free: Grease the pan with oil instead of butter to make this recipe dairy-free.
  2. Vegetarian: Yes! This dish is naturally vegetarian.
  3. Meal Prep: Follow these steps if you want to prep ahead of time:

    1. Complete this recipe through step 5 and store the batter with plastic wrap pressed to the surface for up to 24 hours. Alternatively, bake the loaf and hold for 2-3 days, wrapped well once it’s cooled.

Savannah Says...

  1. How do I go about reducing the ale?

    1. Think of it as a toddler and babysit it closely or it will boil over on you. Bring to a low simmer and stir frequently in the beginning. Remove from the heat and stir briskly if it threatens to climb out of the pot. Stop when there’s approximately ⅓ cup left.
  2. Can I skip the sifting?

    1. Best not, when you’re adding beer to bread it will be very dense if you don’t sift. The sifting allows the flour to trap air more easily, yielding a light and fluffy loaf.
  3. Can I swap the cardamom for cinnamon or nutmeg?

    1. You can but the common spices can easily drown out the flavor of the red ale so I’d recommend that if you must substitute something, use just a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg.
  4. What about the frosting?!

    1. Yeah, I made all kinds of frosting for this. Brown butter, goat cheese, cream cheese, red ale glaze. And the conclusion I came to every single time is this loaf is better on its own.

Ramblings of a Line Cook

Red ale and carrots; Sweet and salty, earthy and malty, like salt and pepper they ought to have a spot together at the table. Half of cooking well is dumb luck, the other half is failing enough times you know exactly what not to do, and just when you’re ready to throw your flour-covered hands up in frustration the path to success finally presents itself by sore process of elimination; in the form of fallen loaves, scoured pots, and spilled salt.

Baking with beer is a gamble. There’s always a moment when you bite your lip with hesitant anticipation and pour in the foaming, yeasty brew. There’s no going back, all you can do is stick it in the oven and wait to see if it will be a success or a barely edible opportunity for growth.

Butter for the edges, oil for the crumb, red ale for flavor, baking powder for lift, salt for luck. Sift, sift, stir. Don’t overmix and pretend like you’re sure. A finger in the batter for a final taste check. Peer through the oven door and wait for it to rise.

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