Chocolate Stout Cake

Chocolate Stout CakeIt’s For The Kids
A friend of mine is holding a beer pong tournament this weekend. In fact, this will be the 6th Annual tournament and my husband and I will be there. Our attendance is remarkable for two reasons: 1. At the age of 46, I don’t really feel the need to relive the days of my ill-spent youth (it hurts too much). And, 2. As a general rule, I don’t like to drink beer.

The first reason is easily overcome because it is a fun night hanging out with friends and raising money for charity. The people-watching entertainment alone is pure gold. The second reason my attendance is strange is much more problematic.

There have been only a few occasions where I have purposefully ordered a beer and was satisfied with my choice. The bucket of ice-cold beer with lime I enjoyed while lounging on the beaches of Mazatlán 20 years ago was beyond perfect, both in setting and in thirst-quenching achievement. The winner for best beer I ever tasted in my life was the pint of Guinness I drank after taking the tour of the brewery in Dublin, Ireland with a pint of that same brew that I had in Boston being a very close second. Both pints were smooth like liquid chocolate and both were the best remedy for a very blustery cold day.

I doubt very seriously that the beer being poured into keg cups this weekend will be of the same quality. I’m pretty sure it will be a mix of the cheaper fraternity party favorites in the beginning with the better stuff only coming out as the competition gets tighter. My husband, a beer lover, has vowed to take one for the team and drink the beer for me ‘cause he’s a giver like that.

In a preemptive strike, I am planning on making this chocolate stout cake to bring to the party to help take the bitter cheap beer taste from everyone’s mouth while still sticking to the theme…

Chocolate Stout Cake
Yields 12 servings

For the cake
2 cups Guinness Stout
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened, Dutch-processed 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

For the icing
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Make the cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line the pans with parchment paper and butter the paper.

Bring the 2 cups of stout and 2 cups of butter to simmer in large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Allow the mixture o cool slightly.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1-1/2 teaspoons of the salt in a large bowl to blend.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add the stout-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine.

Add the flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until it is smooth and completely combined.

Divide the batter equally among the three prepared pans and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake the cake
Bake the cakes until a tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean (about 35 minutes).

Transfer the cake pans onto a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans by turning them out onto rack and cool completely.

Make the icing
Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium-sized heavy saucepan. Remove the cream from the heat. Add the chopped chocolate and whisk into the cream until melted and smooth.

Refrigerate the icing until it is spreadable, stirring frequently (about 2 hours).

Ice the cake
Place the first cake layer on a serving plate and line the edges with 2-inch wide strips of parchment paper tucking them under the edges of the cake. This will keep the serving plate clean of icing.

Spread 2/3 of a cup of icing over the first layer. Top with the second cake layer and spread another 2/3 of a cup of icing over it. Top with the third cake layer and spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake. When you are finished icing the cake, gently slide the parchment paper out from under the cake before serving.

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