Can o' Beer Cake

Believe it or not, the light bitterness of an American-style lager, like Budweiser, Coors or Miller High Life, transforms boxed cake mix into a sophisticated, yeasty dessert. For more flavor, it's topped with a beer syrup and glaze, and also cherries, cooked in even more beer. For a stronger beer flavor, use a dark ale, lager or IPA.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 15 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 16 to 20 servings
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Nonstick baking spray, for preparing the pan

One 15-ounce box yellow cake mix

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

One 12-ounce can lager, such as Budweiser or Sam Adams

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

One 12-ounce bag frozen cherries, thawed

Whipped cream for serving, optional


Special equipment:
a 10-cup plain Bundt pan
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 10-cup plain Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray.
  2. Whisk the cake mix, oil, eggs and 1 cup beer in a large bowl until smooth and well-combined, at least 30 seconds. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula, then bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, pour 2 tablespoons beer in a heatproof glass bowl and microwave until hot, about 30 seconds. Stir in 2 tablespoons granulated sugar until dissolved.
  4. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert it onto a cooling rack. Using a toothpick, poke several holes over the cake, then drizzle the beer syrup evenly over the cake until it soaks in. Let the cake cool completely.
  5. Stir the confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons beer together in a bowl until smooth. Add more beer, 1 teaspoon at a time, as needed to form a thick glaze. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the cake and let stand until set, about 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, combine the remaining beer and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar with the cherries in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the cherries are warmed through and the liquid is reduced to a thick syrup, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cherries to a bowl and let cool completely.
  7. Serve cake slices with the cherries on the side and a dollop of whipped cream, if using.
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