Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chocolate Stout Cake

Oh, people. Oh, oh, oh, people. If you love chocolate, or if you love people who love chocolate and you have ANY excuse to bake a cake for them soon, this is your cake.

Yesterday was HH's birthday and since it was going to be the day before St. Patty's Day, I'd singled out an irish-like dessert for his b-day. As in, a cake that calls for Guinness beer in the batter. And irish cream ice cream to accompany it.

First, you need to know that this cake is HUGE. What you're seeing in the pictures is a half-recipe (with a full recipe of frosting). The recipe comes from a restaurant; the blog I found the recipe on estimated that it would serve 25. I'd probably say even more than that because I can barely eat a super-thin slice of the one I made.

Secondly, you should know that this is not a sweet cake. It's extremely rich and the stout gives it a very deep (though not bitter) flavor. ... but in no sense is it one of those "pucker-your mouth-it's-so-sweet" cakes. I brought my boss a slice and he is a real chocolate cake connisseur, and he gave it a thumbs-up. The cake is very dense and holds its shape and flavor well (note that you're supposed to let it sit for a day or two for the flavors to mature!).

Thirdly, go make this cake!

And since I want to make it super easy for you, here's the recipe (also available at Epicurious.com):

  • 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

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

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. 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.

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