Earlier in the day Lauren sent me a picture of herself eating just about the biggest piece of cake I’d ever seen, along with an excited message saying that she’d found the Hummingbird bakery. Of course, I quickly tapped my reply and told her to buy me something. When she got home, just as I was about to open a bottle of Kernel Export Stout, she pulled a cupcake from her bag and set it down excitedly on the table. “Oh-my-god-Mark-the-cakes-were-amaaaaaaazing!!!”
I opened the beer first. Based on a recipe from 1890, it’s 7.8%, dark and topped with the sort of foam you need a spoon to enjoy; it’s dark chocolate, coffee and cocoa with a little wisp of smoke; a full body, more dark chocolate, some distant fruity berries and dried fruit, an earthy-leathery depth and just a hint of smoke and salt. Delicious, interesting and different with each sip, it’s another great beer from Kernel (there's currently some available from Beermerchants who also have a jaw-dropping number of Mikkeller bottles).
The cake was top heavy with the kind of vanilla butter icing to make your knees go weak while the sponge was impossibly light and airy. Together the intense, dark flavours in the beer matched the icing with neither overpowering the other, while the fullness of the body made it work, lifting the sweet sponge and icing and giving it a chocolatey kick on the way down.
An impromptu FABPOW and this one taking two London craft products sold at the opposite edges of the city and putting them together in harmony. And it gives me an idea... what about a London Market Brewery which takes inspirations from what’s on the stalls, independent shops or uses leftover market ingredients. Maybe a collaboration with different stalls: so a cupcake beer or beer cupcakes with Hummingbird; a chocolate beer with a chocolate stall; fruit and veg beers; a beer to go with particular foods and jointly branded...
Beer and cake can be hard to get right but when you nail it it's brilliant. Carrot cake and US IPA is a winner, so is kriek and a gooey brownie and then a cupcake and a rich, deeply delicious stout. Any other beer and cake recommendations?