Australian Beer Cake, 1965 – A Vintage Recipe Test

Posted on Aug 16 2017 - 4:41am by RetroRuth

So, this week we are doing a pity recipe. If you read last week’s post, you know I recently had some jaw surgery. Which wasn’t fun. At all. So I decided to make myself some cake.

And I picked a beer cake, because nothing goes better with pity than beer.


This is Australian Beer Cake!

4.7 from 3 reviews
Australian Beer Cake
  • 1 cup beer of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • Topping:
  • ¾ cup unsifted all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  1. Combine beer, soda and cream of tartar in medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat sugar and eggs together until combined. Add butter, flour and beer mixture, beating until ingredients are combined and batter is smooth.
  3. Turn into a greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with Streusel Topping and bake in preheated 375 degree oven 45 minutes or until cake tests done.
  4. Streusel Topping:
  5. Combine flour, sugar and butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Sprinkle over cake batter.

Australian Beer Cake

Now, an actual legit reason for doing this recipe was that this was the first beer cake recipe I’ve seen that wasn’t A) Chocolate or B) Made from a Cake Mix. I was totally intrigued.


Plus, Tom’s parents had just visited and brought us some fun Wisconsin beer. We decided on this porter from The Door County Brewing Company because it had a nutty flavor that Tom thought would go well in cake.


Quick PSA: Make sure that when you add your baking soda to your beer, you do it in a pretty good sized bowl or cup. I had beer volcano on my hands when I did it in a one-cup measuring cup.


Mmmmm…crumble topping.


It looked totally gorgeous out of the oven.


Tom enjoying the scent of beer cake.



“Is it good?”

“It is. It’s really good. It has a really interesting flavor.”

The Verdict: Really Good

From The Tasting Notes –

This cake was very interesting, and we thought it was also very good. It was rich with a very moist crumb. It was very buttery, which it should be because it had a whole cup of butter in it. The texture was very light but not crumbly. It didn’t really need anything wussy like frosting. It was great on its own. The flavor was sweet, but not overly so. There was a definite flavor of hops and the nutty flavor of the beer really came through. I’d be interested to see what other beers taste like in this cake, and how much the flavor changes. This would be a very fun addition to a cheese board, or good with brunch. Tom enjoyed just scarfing it straight down as dessert. Yum.

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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8 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Kate from Iowa August 16, 2017 at 8:01 am - Reply

    I can definitely get behind this kind of sweet. It looks so simple, and sounds like any good beer would work for it, in many variations. It looks more like a snack cake than anything else though, Ruth. Would you say it eats more like a snack cake or more like a dessert cake or coffee cake?

    • RetroRuth August 16, 2017 at 10:57 am - Reply

      I would say it’s more of a coffee cake. It is moist and has a fine crumb, is just sweet enough, but it doesn’t keep for very long. By the next day it had dried out. It was still edible, but just not as good!

      • Kate from Iowa August 16, 2017 at 5:10 pm - Reply

        Good to know, thank you!

  2. Carrie August 16, 2017 at 9:16 am - Reply

    This looks great! I’m not a baker at all but I think I could manage this one. 🙂

  3. Barbara August 16, 2017 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    Love your blog and website. Have gone through every catagory . Brings back some great memories. Love you put in original recipes and how they were written up on cards. I still have some very old cookbooks from my mom. Thank you.

  4. Lindsey August 18, 2017 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    My mouth is just watering thinking about this cake, especially when you added the crumble on top of it! Looks like perfection! I wonder how it would taste with an apple ale? What with fall approaching I might just have to try it with that! Thank you for this recipe!

  5. Marty August 19, 2017 at 11:27 am - Reply

    That looks so good! I hope you’re feeling much, much better! 🙂

    I’m thinking a little ice cream might help with the dryness — if there’s any cake left, that is. 😉

  6. Lindsey August 22, 2017 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    This looks amazing! It would be awesome to try it with an apple ale!

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