As I’ve mentioned on the blog before, Nathan is essentially indifferent to dessert…especially chocolate. He would always prefer a nice Belgian beer in lieu of dessert and only eats dessert a handful of times a year. Since I firmly believe that one of my wifely duties is making Nathan a birthday cake, his birthday is one day that I force him to eat dessert. I demand several days prior to the big day what he would like and wait expectantly with my apron and rubber spatula in hand. Challenge me. Last year, he was very specific about what he wanted (seen here.) This year, he left it up to me so I put my thinking cap on. If Nathan normally prefers beer instead of dessert what if I combined cake with beer?!? I know…brilliant!
Thus, the Chocolate Stout cake was born…a behemoth of fudgy goodness. It was a risk since Nathan isn’t a big chocolate fan but I felt the combination of chocolate and beer was too good an opportunity to pass up. I waited in breathless expectation as Nathan took his first bite…and he proclaimed it to be a darn good cake! Victory!! I wondered if the stout flavor would come through and it does, mostly in the form of a mocha-y depth of flavor that gives the cake a wonderful complexity. This recipe is truly worth a try! A note to the ladies: you will earn serious points with this one!
My favorite wine store happened to be having a tasting on Friday afternoon when I was browsing and this was one of the offerings. I liked the wine and was pleasantly surprised by the price (on sale for $5.99!) Since it has aromas of raspberry and strawberry and accents of cloves and cinnamon, It was a great compliment to the deep chocolate flavors of the cake.
Regardless of my usual dislike of stouts, this beer was pretty tasty. Even more so when I drank it with the cake that was baked with it as an ingredient! The chocolate and mocha flavors were prevalent with hints of coffee that made it perfect with a chocolate dessert! Coming in at a hefty 10% alcohol content you could certainly drink this beer as a dessert on its own but since Katryn made me a tasty cake I might as well enjoy both at the same time!
Chocolate Stout Cake:
For the cake:
1 cup stout (we used Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout and it was PERFECT!)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
For the frosting:
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules
For the vanilla drizzle:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or spray 2 8 in. cake pans; make sure the pans are well greased or the cake will stick! Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk sifted flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon 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. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cake to rack; cool completely in the pan, then turn cake out onto rack for frosting.
For the ganache, melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool so that the ganache thickens to a spreadable consistency. Spread frosting over one layer of the cake then top with the other layer and spread frosting over the whole cake.
In a small bowl, beat together butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt until light and fluffy. If frosting is too thick to drizzle, microwave it for a few seconds until it reaches the desired consistency. This makes more frosting than you’ll need for the drizzle so feel free to drizzle a bit on each piece!