Chocolate Stout Cake

The week of my twenty-first birthday I excitedly celebrated the legality of my American right to drink by buying my first alcoholic beverage--a case of beer. To put in a cake. Yes, not to drink, but to use.
(I also like being carded. I have a tendency of looking a lot younger than I am (I blame my short stature), a fact that I will appreciate when I'm 30 and still carded.)

I think I had come across this recipe a couple weeks before turning the big two-one and knew that I was going to make it the minute I could buy beer. The recipe calls for stout beer, and luckily Guinness was suggested otherwise I would have been standing in the chill box of the grocery store shivering & staring at cases of beer and would have eventually asked somebody for identification of this so-called 'stout beer.' With the excess beer this has also made me partial to stout beer (not that I've tried much else).

Since then I've made this cake about three times (it's not exactly your everyday chocolate cake . . . the denseness is only for the serious of serious chocoholics) and has declared it be my absolute favorite chocolate cake in the world. 

I wasn't kidding about this being for avid chocolate fans. Three (tall! The cakes rose to the top of each pan!) layers of moist cake separated by an abundant layer of chocolate ganache. This cake is really best after it's been chilled (I chill mine overnight and usually don't eat it until later the next day), because the layers have had time to sit and compact to allow for a density to form. It's not too sweet, and the beer lends for a subtle hint of roasted coffee-like taste. Unless you know the taste of stout beer, the beer is completely overlooked. This beer is definitely not physically stout; I measured it and it assembled to be an impressive 10 inches. Thinly slice the cake or you'll end up sharing more than you'd like.

Chocolate Stout Cake
makes one 8-inch layer cake
2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch processed)
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

2 cups whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 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 large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another 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. 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. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely. 

For Icing:
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. 

Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over layer. Top with second layer. Spread 2/3 icing over second layer. Top with third layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving. 

1 comment:

  1. I remember this one...interesting how the color of the frosting and the cake blend into each other, and the only difference is in texture!

    Childish Gambino fow-EV-ah.