Who says beer is just for drinking? How about cooking? How about sweet cooking? How about cake? Here’s a great dessert which could be whipped up fairly quickly, maybe even in time to be offered during Super Bowl festivities.

Lager Cake

Nonstick baking spray, for preparing the pan

One 15-oz. box yellow cake mix

1/3 c. canola oil

3 large eggs

One 12-oz. can lager beer

1/4 c granulated sugar

1 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar, sifted

One 12-oz. bag frozen cherries, thawed

Whipped cream for serving, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 10-cup plain Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray.

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, about 45 to 50 minutes.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

Serve cake slices with the cherries on the side, a dollop of whipped cream, if using, and of course, another lager to wet your whistle.

Check out Stephen Kitt’s Naughty Oak Brewing Company, now open at 165 S. Broadway St., Suite 102, in Orcutt. How did Kitts come up with the name Naughty Oak? According to Kitts, the “oak” portion of the name symbolizes the Central Coast, where oak trees are abundant. The “naughty” part represents his mischievous approach to brewing — by making beer however he wants to make it.

Pair this delicious beer-soaked yellow cake with Naughty Oak’s Chela Roja Amber Mexican lager, a refreshing beer brewed with a balanced malt body and clean finish. Coming in at 5.3% ABV and 22 IBUs, this easy drinking lager should pair well with the cake, especially if you used Chela Roja in the recipe.

Que bueno!

John David Finley is a freelance writer and author of the cookbook, "Sacred Meals from our Family Table," which features Santa Barbara County wines. He can be reached at sacredmeals@comcast.net.

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