Friday, March 9, 2012
Chocolate Stout Cake
Finally. I am saying that to describe two things, the first being spring break. I finally got to take that really long nap I had been so looking forward to. This week was just rough. So many midterms to study for, so many papers to write, and so many Roman architecture flashcards to memorize. But it's finally over! At least until finals roll around in like a month and a half...but I'm not going to think about that right now. I need to celebrate this tiny little victory that is a whole week off from school to do nothing. Except bake, of course; let's not be that ridiculous and pretend like that wasn't going to happen. In any case, I was beyond ready for break, it was about time!
I also am saying finally about this cake. I'm finally sharing with you this absolutely amazing chocolate stout cake, and let me tell you, it actually might just be my new favorite chocolate cake. It's definitely up there with my other favorite chocolate cake, which is one that my mom makes for my birthday that gets soaked in amaretto for several days before it's finally "ready" to be eaten. But I don't know. This cake was just as good. I'm just going to say that they're both tied for first place. In any case, my dad reallyyyy loved this cake, which I found so surprising, since he isn't really a cake/sweets kind of person. I brought this cake for my friends on my floor and in studio to try and they loved it, and my dad ended up getting upset that I left so little for him to have on his own. Looks like I'm making more chocolate-stout cake this break!
One of the best parts about this recipe I think is that it can be perfectly divided in half. I just love when that happens. It's so much more convenient to have that option to simply make half the recipe if you don't want to have an ENTIRE 8-inch chocolate cake covered in chocolate ganache sitting on your kitchen counter. I mean, we actually all want that, but don't really want that, if you know what I mean. The only thing that doesn't divide perfectly in half is the sour cream, but that's not a big deal; just eyeball where the halfway point is in your 1/3 cup measuring cup, or a little over 2.5 tablespoons. I think I'm going to use the eyeball method when I remake this cake for my dad this weekend. Looking forward to getting to try this again!
The cake is a breeze to put together. It starts like any other cake where you grease and line your pans, put all your dry ingredients together in a bowl, and beat your eggs with sour cream in an electric mixer. You make a quick chocolate sauce over the stove, combining butter, chocolate stout, cocoa powder, and coffee, just like when you make a batch of fudgy chocolate brownies. Simple so far! Let the sauce cool a bit, and then add the flour and chocolate sauce mixture in alternately to the eggs, beating until just incorporated, divide into your pans, and bake! That's it! Nothing too crazy behind this cake, but it does come out crazy good. It's a perfect chocolate cake with a nice hint of stout at the end. Deeeelish.
Obviously, I need to talk about this ganache-icing that is covering the entire cake. This might have been my favorite part, which is a big deal considering that I am one of those die-hard pro-plain cake kind of people. I don't know, I just found the combination of this rich chocolate ganache and chocolate cake irresistible. I've always loved chocolate ganache, so I was excited to use it to finish off the cake with, since I had never actually made a chocolate ganache for a cake before. I think chocolate ganache and whipped cream (like in my Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes) are my favorite ways to top off cakes and cupcakes. Mmmm, so delicious!
This cake is definitely one recipe that you can't just read over and not make...you HAVE to try this out!
Chocolate Stout Cake
recipe from My Baking Addiction
For the Cake
1 1/2 cups Chocolate Stout
1/2 cup strong black coffee
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups sour cream
For the Icing
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the cake, begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 8-inch round cake pans (with high sides) with baking spray, and line the bottoms with waxed paper.
In a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the chocolate stout, coffee, and butter to a simmer. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth; remove from the heat, and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a standard electric mixer, beat the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream.
Add the flour mixture and chocolate-stout mixture to the egg mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Be sure that the chocolate-stout mixture has cooled enough, so that it won't scramble the eggs! Beat on low speed just until incorporated. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.
Bake the cakes in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Set the cake pans on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out of the pans and allow to cool completely.
To prepare the icing, bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Once hot, remove the cream from the heat, and add the chopped chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Add in the vanilla extract, and whisk until incorporated. Pour the ganache into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until the ganache has set and become spreadable, around 2 hours.
To assemble the cake, place the first layer on a cake pedestal or plate, and slide a few pieces of waxed paper underneath to protect your cake plate from getting icing all over it. Spread about 2/3 cup of the ganache icing over the cake in an even layer, and top with the second cake layer. Spread another 2/3 cup of ganache icing in an even layer, and top off with the last cake layer. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaning icing. Remove the strips of waxed paper, and decorate the top and sides of the cake with chocolate curls, if desired.