Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chocolate Stout Cake from Smitten Kitchen

I'd had my eye on a couple recipes for a chocolate stout cake for a while.  I wanted to make something like this for St. Patrick's Day, but the timing has never been right.  But this year, we ended up celebrating my cousin's birthday on St. Patrick's Day, so I whipped up this decadent treat for the occasion.

After perusing the different recipes I'd uncovered over the past couple years, I settled on the version from Smitten Kitchen.  From the reactions of everyone involved in tasting this cake, I think it's a keeper.

My husband particularly liked the ganache.

You can use any kind of stout beer you like in this recipe.  I originally planned to use Guinness, but Murphy's ended up being on sale.  Not being much of a beer connoisseur, I trusted the husband's judgment in purchasing said stout.

So, to begin, combine a cup of stout and a cup of butter (that's two sticks) to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat.  Then add 3/4 cup of cocoa powder and whisk it all together into what amounts a lovely smooth chocolate sauce. Set it aside to cool a little bit while you get the rest of the cake ingredients going.

Next, in a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt.

In an electric mixer, beat together 2 large eggs and 2/3 cup sour cream. Then add the stout-chocolate mixture and beat just until combined.

Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed for about a minute. Then use a rubber spatula to fold the batter together completely.

Butter or grease a bundt pan, or do what I did and use some Wilton Bake Easy spray.  Perfect for getting into all the nooks of the pan.  Then pour in the batter and bake on 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, depending on your oven.  I had to go with 45 minutes before my cake tester came out clean.

When done baking, let it cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes - longer is better - then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Now you can move on to making the ganache!

In a double boiler over simmering water, melt 6 ounces of good semi-sweet chocolate (I sprang for Ghiradelli) together with 6 tablespoons heavy cream and 3/4 teaspoon of instant coffee granules.  Stir occasionally until smooth.

Position the cake on a circular rack set into a baking sheet to catch the drips (and there will be drips).  Then evenly spoon the ganache over the cooled cake.  If you are very nice, you will let your husband scoop up all the drips from the baking sheet when you're done.

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