Basically this is the best chocolate cake I have ever had in my life. And basically that’s all you need to know, so just go ahead and scroll on down to the recipe if you want, and I will completely understand.
But (if you’re still with me) here’s a little more background. I don’t like beer. In fact, I kind of despise beer. Gerrit loves beer. He has a whole little beer scrapbook (sorry, that’s probably not the right man-ish word) that he pastes labels of all the beers he has tried in to, a collection of sorts (mostly because after college, I would no longer let him keep all of the bottles lined up on the top of the bookshelf). He tries to talk me into trying beer sometimes–“this one is light! and fruity! you’ll like it!”–but it never works.
When I saw this stout cake floating around on the internet, it mostly just sounded intriguing. And my thought was that it looked really good, but I probably would think it tasted weird because it had beer in it, but at the very least it would be a fun experiment and other people would like it.
And then when I poured 2 cups of Guinness into a saucepan to melt with 4 sticks of butter, and then mixed the batter all together and tasted it, I just knew that I was going to be right, that it wouldn’t be my cake of choice.
And then I pulled it out of the oven and oh boy was I wrong.
My little brother is turning 21 this coming weekend, and, as I am visiting home right now, we went down to Auburn for the football game this past weekend plus a little birthday celebration of sorts. And as this cake is a beer cake, I thought it was appropriate. My family basically did the most intense tailgate ever this weekend: my father towed a huge smoker down there and got up at 4 on Saturday morning to start smoking ribs and chicken. So I made this cake in the midst of the chaos that is my family preparing not only to go out of town, but to take a bunch of food out of town with them. I iced the cake on my brother’s kitchen table at about 11:00 the night before the game while my dad took up the entirety of the counter spreading out ribs and rubbing them with I don’t even know what. And then we all sat down and ate the scraps of the cake dipped in the leftover icing, and then I think I complained about how long we were going to have to wait until we got to eat the cake the next day (14 whole hours?!).
Here are some key points about the cake, and then I won’t keep you any longer because I know all you really need is the recipe.
1) It is a super moist cake, that stays moist for several days (although I’m not sure exactly how long because we finished it before we could test that). I’m pretty sure this is from the beer and the sour cream. But I also froze the layers once they were cooled, and I think this made a big difference.
2) The killer of this cake is the icing. Just really good chocolate melted with heavy cream. I thought about doing a different kind of filling, like sweetened whipped cream, and just coating the outside with the chocolate. But don’t do it! That chocolate icing is all you need.
And I think this cake is all I will ever need. At least as far as chocolate cakes go.
In Other News-We’re Moving!–After a little over a year in Texas, missing our families, missing North Alabama, missing all four season, etc. etc., we are moving back to Huntsville! We really could not be more excited, as we will now regularly get to see our families and hang out with our friends that we have missed so much. So if you notice a change in the color of my counter tops over the next few weeks and months, that explains it.
Chocolate Stout Cake
adapted from epicurious.com
Prep Time: 1 hour (30 minutes for the cake, 30 minutes for the icing)
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Wait Time: 4 hours
2 cups stout (Guinness)
2 cups (4 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
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 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)*
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 8-inch cake pans, and line with parchment paper, then butter the parchment paper. (Or you can butter and flour the cake pans.)
2. In a medium-sized sauce pan heat butter and Guiness together over medium heat. When butter is melted, bring the mixture to a simmer, still over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sour cream together. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla, beating until fully combined. Slowly add the flour/sugar mixture, beating at low speed just until it is combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold the batter, making sure that everything is incorporated.
5. Divide the batter evenly among the three cake pans. Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove cakes from oven and allow the to cool for 10 minutes in the cake pans on wire cooling racks. Then remove the cake from the pans and allow the cake to cool on wire racks completely, 1-2 hours. Once they are cool, this is a great time to wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and freeze them if you want to wait a day to two before you ice the cake.
6. To make the icing, combine chocolate and heavy cream in a heat proof bowl and place the bowl over a pot of simmering water (to create a double boiler). Heat slowly, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the icing, stirring frequently, for about 2 hours, until the icing is spreadable.
7. If necessary, cut the top of the cake layers horizontally with a serrated knife to make the top of each one even. Place one cake layer on a cake plate and spread a layer of icing over the top. Then top with the second layer, spread another layer of icing, and top with the third layer. Spread the remaining icing smoothly over the top and sides of the cake. Store the cake in the refrigerator.
*I used a combination of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate, and we all thought it was perfect.