Chocolate Stout Cake

I first spotted the recipe for this fabulous chocolate stout cake on epicurious.  The reviews on epicurious are unanimous—over and over again, reviewers said that this was the best chocolate cake they had ever eaten.  One person said that after eating the cake she had a “religious experience”!

A couple of people said that even though they don’t like or drink beer, they regularly keep cans of Guinness on hand to make this cake.  (Ditto what they said!)  I must say that this intensely dark, dense, and moist chocolate cake is one of the best I have ever had as well.  When it comes time to rank the top 10 chocolate cakes I’ve made in my life, if this doesn’t end up No. 1, it will certainly be in the top three.  And I can’t wait to try the other two contenders!

The Irish stout does something wonderful to the texture and flavor of the cake.  I don’t care for the taste of beer; and, if you had asked me what secret ingredient was in the cake, I would have been hard pressed to guess what it was.

Despite the two cups of sugar, the cake is not overly sweet.  The first time I made the cake (before I became a blogger), I used 6 oz. each of the chocolate chips and cream to make the ganache and drizzled it over the cake.  After tasting it, everyone in the family agreed it needed more chocolate ganache.  The next time I made it, I doubled the ganache (12 oz. each of chocolate/cream) and then I cut the bundt cake into three layers and frosted between each and drizzled ganache over the top.  I thought that turned out to be a little too much and took away from the cake itself.

2nd time with double the ganache and a little coffee drizzle, too!

This third time, I decided to use 9 oz. each of the chocolate and cream for the ganache and frost the entire cake without splitting the cake.  I thought this was just the right amount of ganache.  I will confess, however, to a tactical error.  Have you ever frosted an entire bundt cake?  What was I thinking?!  All those curves and crevices were a pain in the butt to frost.  Next time I will bake the cake in a 10” angel food cake pan and make it easier on myself.

Get ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this frantastic chocolate cake.  Pick up some Guinness and make sure you have some milk on hand to enjoy with this decadently chocolate cake.

Chocolate Stout Cake

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Ingredients for Cake

  • 1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Ingredients for Ganache

  • 9 oz. good semisweet chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli)
  • 9 tbl. heavy cream (1/2 cup plus 1 tbl.)
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee granules

Directions for Cake

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter or spray a bundt pan well; make sure you get in all of the crevices to prevent the cake from sticking.  In addition, when I am ready to get the cake out of the pan, I always run a butter knife around the edges sliding it down as far as I can get it.

Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.  Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth.  Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend.  Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend.  Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine.  Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed.  Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.

Transfer cake to rack; cool completely in the pan, then turn cake out onto rack for drizzling ganache.

Directions for Ganache

For the ganache, melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee in the microwave following the directions for microwaving on the package of chocolate until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.  You can either drizzle over the top and down the sides of the cooled cake or you can let the ganache cool and thicken, then spread with spatula over cake (you won’t lose as much ganache this way as you will drizzling).

Fran’s Notes

This recipe is half of the original recipe on epicurious which called for making a layer cake using three 8” round cake pans.  After reading pages and pages of reviews, the overwhelming consensus was that the amount of batter was too much for the three 8” pans.  Some reviewers said that it was too much even for three 9” pans.  I’ve made this cake several times, and half the recipe as I have listed above is the perfect size for a bundt pan.

Source:   Adapted from an epicurious recipe with a jog from Smitten Kitchen

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