Step 1Have the beer at room temperature. In a small saute pan, lightly heat 2 tablespoons of the beer plus the mustard seeds. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Step 2Place the sugar and ginger in a 2-quart risotto pan. Open the vanilla bean pod and scrap out the seeds. Add the pod and seeds to the sugar and ginger. Add a bit of water (about 2 tablespoons) to moisten until the sugar mixture is the consistency of wet sand.
Step 3On high heat, cook the sugar mixture until it is a medium caramel color, tilting and swirling the pan to ensure even color. Once a medium caramel color is reached, take the mixture off the heat and carefully add the rest of the beer. Return to high heat, and cook to melt the sugar.
Step 4When the sugar has melted and the mixture begins to boil, start adding dried fruit one at a time, beginning with the firmest first and cooking each until slightly fork-tender, stirring carefully and making sure that each time a fruit is added to the pan, the mixture is returned to a boil before another is added. After all the fruit has been added, remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Remove the ginger and the vanilla bean pod. Add the mustard seed and the beer in which they were steeped. Set aside.
Step 1Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cocoa powder and sugar into a medium bowl. Make a well in the center.
Step 2In a separate bowl, whisk together half a cup of the butter, plus the molasses, coffee extract, brown sugar, milk, buttermilk and egg. Pour the wet ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients, and whisk together, starting from the center and working your way out, until smooth.
Step 3Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Using small fluted brioche molds (or substitute muffin tins), lightly brush each with the remaining melted butter. Using a one-third cup measure, fill each mold with cake batter. Place the filled molds on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet to ensure even baking. When the cakes are done, allow them to cool in the molds, and then simply tap them out of their molds.
Step 4Serve hot with fruit compote and creme fraiche.