Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dad's 70th Birthday Cake, or Chocolate Stout Cake

For my Dads 70th dinner this year, I was put in charge of the cake.  His only request was chocolate, (unlike last year, when he asked me to make my brothers black forest cake....) so the search began for a chocolate cake.  It had to be unique, and it had to be good, like, REALLY GOOD.  The first runner up was a Chocolate Whiskey Bundt Cake(I do love a Bundt cake!) from Orangette, which sounded divine, but after reading that she was a wee bit woozy from one piece, and the boys were going to be eating it, I figured something with a little less alcohol may be called for.  When I found the recipe for Chocolate Stout Cake on Smitten Kitchen, and got to the Ganache topping, I knew it was the one.  It did not fail to please.  What a fine chocolate cake.  The chocolate flavour is enhanced by the beer, but don't let that intimidate you if you are not a stout fan (I am not!)  You can't taste the beer itself; it just brings a new dimension to the batter.  The flavours meld in perfect harmony, giving a cake with a beautiful moist crumb, and a big bold chocolate taste, without being overly sweet.  The Ganache is literally, the icing on the cake.  Sublime, divine-- a chocolate lovers dream.  Happy Birthday Dad!  I hope you enjoy the cake!

The cake originally called for Guinness Stout, but after reading the comments underneath the recipe on her site, I decided to try a different beer.   My beer connisure/ foodie friend  Ken picked me up two bottles of Sinha stout,  which is brewed in Sri Lanka, and has chocolate, coffee and toffee flavours, perfect for this cake.  He brought two bottles, which gave me enough to make another cake.  But, if I make another one, I don’t think I will share....
Chocolate Stout Cake, originally posted on Smitten Kitchen

1 Cup Stout (I used Sinha, SK used Guinness, feel free to substitute the stout of your choice)
1 cup Unsalted butter (2 sticks)
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (SK recommends Dutch process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
2 large eggs
10 tbsp sour cream
6 oz good semisweet chocolate chips (I  use PC Decadent semi sweet chocolate chips, they are awesome!)
6 Tbsp heavy cream
¾ tsp instant coffee granules (i used the new Starbucks instant packets, about 1/2 of the packet will do)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Thoroughly grease your Bundt pan.  I melted butter and used my baster to get every nook and cranny.  Don't scrimp on this step, if you miss even the smallest bit, your cake may stick.  You can also use a spray, or butter on a bit of paper towel or waxed paper, just make sure to cover the ENTIRE PAN!!

Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to a simmer in a large pot with a heavy bottom over medium heat. 

Sift in cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.  (I am not sure the sifting is necessary, but I usually sift my cocoa to eliminate any chance of lumps)

Cool Slightly (I set it outside on my railing, it was easier than clearing a spot in my fridge, and it was about 2degrees C outside.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and ¾ tsp salt in a large bowl to blend.   Set aside.

Using a hand or stand mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in large bowl, till blended. 

Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture, and again, beat until just blended. 

Add flour mixture, and mix briefly on low, just to bring ingredients together, (to get mine to this stage took about 30 seconds)

Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined, being careful not to over-mix.

Pour into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven until tester inserted comes out clean, 35-45 minutes.  ( I think mine took closer to 50, but start checking around 35 minutes, you don't want to over or under bake)

Transfer cake to a cooling rack, STILL IN THE PAN, and let it cool completely.  Leaving it in the pan helps it to release perfectly. As you see in the picture, I cooled it on my railing as well, I should have taken a picture of my dog, on the inside of the door, drooling at the cake, just out of reach...) When the cake is completely cool, turn out of pan and plate it. 


Melt the chocolate, cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler. 

If, like me you don't have a double boiler, place a glass bowl above simmering water (be sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl) and proceed.

Stir occasionally until warm and smooth. 

Drizzle over the cooled cake, and enjoy!

I had to include a picture of the salmon that my brother made for Dad's birthday dinner, it was awesome!  Sorry, no recipe, for that you will have to contact my brother!

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