Sunday, March 13, 2022

Leite's Culinaria: Chocolate Stout Cake

I've always been curious about this chocolate cake made with beer, so in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I decided why the heck not try it?  I am ever so glad that I did.  This may be one of my favorite chocolate cakes.  The cake itself is rich and almost fudgy, with a deep flavor that must be coming from the Guinness.  The icing is the perfect foil, sweet and creamy.  This may be chocolate cake nirvana.

Note: I baked it in a 13x9-inch pan and made double the icing.

Chocolate Stout Cake
By Leite's Culinaria

For the cake:
Cooking spray or butter for the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups dark stout such as Guinness, or strong coffee
1 stick (4 ounces) butter cubed, or ½ cup (4 ounces) mild vegetable oil
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus more for the pan
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

For the cream cheese frosting:
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
½ cup (4 ounces) cream cheese
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (optional)

Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray or butter a 9- to 10-inch springform pan or a 9x13-inch rectangular cake pan. If using the springform pan, line the bottom of the pan with a parchment circle, spray or butter the parchment, and then lightly dust with cocoa powder. Wrap the outside of the springform pan tightly in foil to prevent the thin cake batter from leaking through.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the stout or coffee with the butter cubes, stirring until the butter has completely melted. (If substituting vegetable oil, stir with the stout or coffee over medium heat until warm.) Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Whisk the cocoa powder and sugar into the liquid mixture until well-combined. Using caution in case the mixture bubbles up, slowly add the vinegar, followed by the flour mixture, and stir until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. The batter may look foamy but it will settle as it bakes. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let the cake cool completely. Once cooled, remove the sides of the springform pan, if using.

Make the cream cheese frosting:
In a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, swirling occasionally as it begins to boil and crackle. Continue cooking and gently swirling until the butter turns a light golden color and releases a nutty aroma, 4 to 8 minutes. Pour the butter into a large heatproof bowl and let it cool completely. (You can pop it in the fridge to help speed things up.)

When the butter has cooled, use a whisk or electric hand mixer to blend in the cream cheese. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, beating until the frosting is smooth and thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract, salt, and lemon juice, if using. (If the frosting is too soft, chill it until thick enough to use.)

Spread a single layer of the frosting atop the cooled cake. Use an offset spatula or butter knife to make small, decorative swirls.

If using a springform pan, transfer the cake to a serving plate, if desired. Slice generously and serve, preferably with a cup of tea or a tall glass of cold milk. The cake will keep for several days, covered, in the refrigerator.

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