Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chocolate Stout Cake

I've been cooking with beer and wine a lot, so this cake instantly caught my attention when I first saw it on the King Arthur Flour website. I've always enjoyed the combination of beer and chocolate, nothing goes better with a stout or porter than some nice dark chocolate - the bitter and the sweet flavors are naturally complementarity.
Now this is not your run of the mill chocolate cake, in fact, you can pretty much guarantee any recipe that starts off "add 16 oz of Guinness to 2 cups of melted butter" is going to be a heavy, intense special-occasion type cake.


  • 2 cups (16 oz) stout or dark beer, such as Guinness
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 (4 1/2 oz) cups Dutch-process cocoa
  • 4 (17 oz) cups unbleached all purpose flour.
  • 4 (1 lb. 12 oz) cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 (6oz) cup sour cream
For the frosting:

  • 1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A few notes:

A scale REALLY helps with this recipe, actually it helps with all baking, but this one especially because you can more accurately split the batter between the two cake pans.

Dutch Process cocoa can be bought online, or from Lunds or Byerly's locally, but it's expensive - like $10 for an 8oz box. You can also substitute for Dutch process using this ratio: Add 1/8th teaspoon of baking soda per 3 tablespoons of regular unsweetened cocoa. This is important because the pH. levels are different between the two, and it can affect the rise of the cake if you don't use the right one.

Melt butter over low heat, add beer and mix.

Add cocoa to mixture and whisk until smooth. Let cool.

Weigh and mix your dry ingredients.

In another bowl mix up the eggs and sour cream...

...and then add the cooled beer mixture to the egg mixture. Stir.

Add dry ingredients to wet, and stir until smooth.

Split batter between two 9" cake pans, make sure they're at least 2" deep.. cake pans with false bottoms will make your life a lot easier if you have them. Each pan should have 3 lbs (!) of batter in it. Again a scale helps here, along with an awesome rigged up weighing system.

Put in to bake for 45-50 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Check that it's cooked through with a toothpick in the centre of the cake, when it comes out clean, it's all done. After done, let cool for 20 minutes or so.

When done, carefully remove from cake pans and place bottom layer on parchment paper. Top will be domed, so you're going to need to cut off the dome to level off the top of the cake. If you don't do this the cake will rest unevenly, and will probably crack.

Frost the bottom layer, level off the second layer, and carefully slide on top. This can be done fairly easily by sliding it off a cutting board on to the bottom layer. The frosting will allow a bit of sliding, so you can line up the two layers.

Frost the rest as best you can. My frosting skills leave much to be desired, so I'm not going to give you any advice here.

Add sprinkles. Preferably animal shaped. I've chosen to go with the gorilla vs. sharks motif, but feel free to substitute elephants, dolphins or what have you.


I didn't take any pictures of this but it's fairly simple.
1. Heat cream until small bubbles rise up along side of sauce pan.

2. Chop chocolate, and when cream is heated pour it over chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Add vanilla and mix thoroughly. Don't overheat or boil the cream.

3. Place bowl in refrigerator, and let cool mixing every 20 minutes until the frosting is spreadable.

This cake weighs something like 7.5 lbs when fully assembled, and a little bit goes a long way. You could make this a 3 layer cake without changing the recipe by using 3x 8" cake pans instead of the 9" that I used.



Shaina said...

I will frost your cakes if I can have a piece after you cut them.

Anonymous said...

Bah! This is what I was going to call my blog, you bastard! :p Oh well...

Godlesscook said...

There can be only one