Starting in September there are local Oktoberfest celebrations that you will find all over. Some town events have already taken place by the time you read this, but there are still many around for you to enjoy. Harvard Square Oktoberfest celebration is in early October and is usually a huge event, Cape Cod Beer puts on a big celebration in Hyannis in a few weeks, and I have heard that Newburyport has a fun event planned. Most Oktoberfest celebrations include authentic German food, music, games such as eating contests, and races.
Nothing, however, can compete with the original Oktoberfest, celebrated from late September through early October when close to 6 million revelers crowd Munich and surrounding towns, to celebrate Bavarian culture. Touted as the largest beer celebration in the world, it is accompanied by a huge feast of German food such hot soft pretzels, many kinds of sausages, homemade sauerkraut made the original way in crocks, and many desserts that have their origin in the old cities of Bavaria, such as strudels, beautiful tortes, rum balls, and much more.
I discovered that coffee cakes were one of the first “sweets” to be served at breakfast, with muffins coming in a close second. The coffee cake below is an old German recipe that blends plenty of spices, nuts, and dates with beer. If you want to use a German beer, look for Lowenbraugh brand, Ayinger, or Beck’s.
Prettily baked in a tube or Bundt pan and generously sprinkled with powdered sugar, you will enjoy a small “piece” of Bavarian culture in your own home.
German Beer Coffee Cake
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups chopped dates