Chocolate Stout Cake

Yesterday, June 17th, was most wonderful boyfriend’s 21st birthday! I decided weeks ago I was going to bake him a cake (isn’t that the highlight of a birthday? Free baked goods?!), but it was not until last week that I realized I had never made a homemade cake before! I do not know how that’s possible, but it is. Therefore, my week began with the search for the perfect cake, and this is what I found.

Anything with three tiers and homemade icing can be somewhat of a process to make, yet considering that, this cake really was straight forward and hassle free. I baked the cakes the night before, and whipped together the icing the next morning. I allowed the icing to cool in my refrigerator all day while I was at work, and then assembled the cake just before dinner. The recipe only calls for the icing to be refrigerated for about two hours (stirring frequently), however in my little rented kitchen we have a pretty weak refrigerator that struggles to do it’s job well, so the extra chill time was beneficial in my case.

In the end the cake looked beautiful with chocolate curls on top, the birthday boy was very happy, and I was so excited to share my first homemade cake recipe with you all. Here’s to blowing out the birthday candles, surprises, and trying new things. I hope you all enjoy!

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups Chocolate Stout*
  • ½ cup strong black coffee
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream

Icing Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 pound semisweet chocolate chips

Directions for the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides by buttering them, lining them with parchment paper, and then buttering the parchment paper. (Make sure to use a piece of parchment paper that is big enough to cover the entire bottom and the sides!)
  2. In a heavy and large saucepan bring stout, coffee, and butter to a simmer over medium heat.
  3. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is completely blended and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  5. In a separate large bowl beat the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream with an electric mixer.
  6. Add the coco-stout mixture to the eggs and beat just until combined. You want to make sure the stout, coffee, butter, and coco mixture has had enough time to cool so that it will not cook the eggs!
  7. Now add the flour mixture to the chocolate-egg combination and beat on a low speed until completely blended.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the three circle pans and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center of the cake and cleanly removed.
  9. Place cakes on a cooling rack for about ten minutes.  Once the cakes are slightly cooler, turn them out on the rack to cool completely.

Directions for the Icing:

  1. In a heavy saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Remove the cream from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Quickly whisk together until the chocolate has been completely melted and the combination is smooth.
  3. Transfer the icing into a bowl and refrigerate until the icing is spreadable. Let chill for at least 2 hours, stirring frequently.*
  4. Place one of the circle cake layers on a plate or cake stand and spread the top with 2/3 cup of icing.
  5. Place the second layer on top of the first and again, spread the top with another 2/3 cup icing.
  6. Place the third tier on top and spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake.
  7. Top with chocolate curls* and enjoy.

 

Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: about 12 servings
  • If you cannot find a chocolate stout, a regular stout such as Guiness will work fine.
  • The key to the icing is letting it chill long enough to a point where it is spreadable. I let the icing chill for several hours before using it and it turned out just fine. If the icing gets too hard, place the bowl inside another bowl with hot water in it- that will allow the chocolate mixture to slowly and evenly warm up until it is spreadable.
  • I suggest letting your cake chill again after icing it to allow the icing to completely set up, however you may want to remove the cake from the refrigerator about 20 minutes prior to serving it if you want a more room temperature cake.
  • Cake is best served the day it is made, but will keep in a sealed refrigerator container for a few days.
  • This cake was found on the food blog, ‘My baking addiction’ but was originally adapted from epicurious.com.
  • Check out the blog post “How to Make Chocolate Curls” for additional decoration. They’re easy to make, decorative, and delicious!

How to: Chocolate Curls

Chocolate curls can add a touch of decadence to a dish, yet are extremely simple to make. I used them recently to top off the Chocolate Stout cake,* and they provided both a decorative touch as well as a sweet crumbled topping to the cake. Follow these simple steps below to create your own chocolate curls, and feel free to use them to top of cupcakes, cakes, ice cream dishes, dessert plates, etc. In my opinion, you can never go wrong with more chocolate!

Ingredients:

  • Chocolate
  • Shortening

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent the chocolate from getting overcooked. Once melted, remove the chocolate from the heat.
  2. For every 4 ounces of chocolate used, mix in two tablespoons of shortening with a fork, stirring well until the shortening has melted in.
  3. Invert a metal cooking sheet so that the side used for baking on is upside down. Slowly pour the melted chocolate onto the bottom of the cookie sheet (which is now the top!) and spread thin with a spatula.
  4. Place the pan in the refrigerator for five to ten minutes, until the chocolate is solid.
  5. Using a thin metal spatula, slowly scrape the chocolate off of the baking sheet. Place the curls in a container and store in the freezer until needed.*

Notes and Tips:

  • I used 8 ounces of chocolate when making curls for the Chocolate Stout cake and had plenty, with some left over.
  • When selecting a baking sheet to use, make sure to use one that does not have a Teflon coating on the bottom that could be scraped off!
  • Chocolate curls are something that can be made several days in advance and kept in a sealed container in the freezer.
  • If the chocolate begins to flake and not curl, then the chocolate is too hard. Leave the baking sheet out at room temperature for a few minutes and try again. Also, if the chocolate gets too soft it will stop curling. Pay attention to the temperature of the chocolate- at the right temperatures it will curl easily. A few minutes out on the counter or back in the refrigerator will solve the problem!
  • This how-to was originally adapted from food blog ‘goodLife {eats}’