Beer + Chocolate = Cake

Remember my last post? Of course you do! After all, you check my blog religiously, right? Anways, I wrote about how adding vermouth to gravy took the dish to a whole different level. They say that alcohol makes everything better. While I’m not entirely sure who “they” are, I’m gonna have to agree. At least when it comes to cooking. Whether it’s the theatrics of flambéing a dish or for the purposes of sorbet making, alcohol is an important part of every kitchen. And not just hard liquor like rum or Vodka. I’ve found that stout beer has a magical effect on chocolaty baked goods. Chocolate and Guinness stout beer go together like peanut butter and jelly. Frankly, I don’t like the taste of stout on its own, but when combined with chocolate, it’s truly delightful.

So onto the main course: Chocolate Stout Cake. I’ve made a lot of chocolate cakes in my day, but this one takes the… no, I’m not gonna make that joke. But the cake is really good. I get bored with those super sweet chocolate cakes; this one has an intense bittersweet chocolate flavor. The cake is moist and stays moist for days.

The fudgy ganache frosting is good, but one of these days I might replace it with a fluffy buttercream. The ganache has that same bittersweet chocolate flavor as well, and for some people that’s just too much.

Something to consider about this recipe—it’s huge. It fills three 8-inch cake pans. I’ll often make a dozen mini cupcakes and one (13×9) sheet cake. You could always make all three cake layers and freeze one for later. Cakes do freeze well, but you can’t freeze a frosted cake.

Chocolate Stout Cake (adapted from Barrington Brewery via Bon Appetit, September 2002)

Ingredients for the Cake

2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)

4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream

Ingredients for the Ganache

2 cups whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used chocolate chips, and that worked fine)

Directions for the cake

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and then line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper. Bring 2 cups stout and the 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in a large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Make sure not to overbeat at any point, as overbeating leads to a tougher cake. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. (If you’re doing cupcakes, keep in mind that they take less time, maybe all of 20 minutes) Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

Directions for ganache

Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.

Putting it all together

Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.

3 Responses to Beer + Chocolate = Cake

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