Year after year, I struggle along with adoreable shaped pans, making hideous shaped cakes. These pans are made for a standard pound cake or cake-mix cake, but try anything with a little flair or pizazz, and I guarantee it will stick, to the pan, and make a ^&*(%$! mess on your wall where you throw the pan with the cake gummed inside. I'm amazed my husband hasn't stolen the pans under cover of night and secreted them to the dump, given how many times he's heard me swear "I will never make another cake in these again!" as I tear around the kitchen trying to salvage whatever I can for whatever event I'm doubtlessly on my way to.
Recently, I'd saved the recipe for what is called "Honey Spice Beer Cake" from the Booze Cakes cookbook as it appeared in The Washington Post. I love spice cake anyway, and it seemed a seasonally-appropriate selection for my girlfriend gathering. What better way to holiday-it-up than to bake it in a snowman pan!?!
The cake is sticky from the honey, and really should have been made - as the directions call for - in a 9x13" pan (or a half-recipe in an 8" square pan, because it makes a lot) lined with parchment. The cake itself is delightful, moist, with a carmelized crust and a sweetness that is mellowed by the spices. I figured I could cover the rips and tears in the snowman's head and arms with frosting, but the frosting called for by the recipe - while also delicious (and the place where the beer in the recipe really comes through with a surprising and addictive flavor) - is definitely more a glaze than a frosting, as you can see from the significant "melting" my snowman was experiencing around the edges. Let's just say Seattle isn't known for our white christmases. But I will definitely make this again for a filling, satisfying, snack cake. I think it could work well in a straight-sided tube pan where the glaze drizzled over and some candied fruits would make an attractive serving.
Note: I was unable to find the beer referenced in the recipe, but look instead for a sweeter, spicier, weiss. I found a German weiss beer at Central Market which had tasting notes saying it had cinnamon and nutmeg tones (veering away from the varieties described as citrusy).