This year, we took our time with the cake, and actually made it according to the recipe. Last year, we got into a bit of pinch in terms of timing, and we needed to ice the cake before it had properly cooled. As you can see from last year's photo, this resulted in gloppy (but delicious) icing.
Behold this year's cake:
Isn't it pretty?
Don't you just want to eat it up?
Well, in full disclosure, this is the second Chocolate Stout Cake we made for this meal.
One of us not be named Word Biters (his name rhymes with "splay") was in charge of mixing up the cake.
It was all coming together beautifully. The cake pans had been lined. The batter had been poured. The cake was oven-ready.
And then we tasted some of the batter in the bowl.
It was . . . inedible.
It seems we had left out the sugar.
Decision time: try to incorporate sugar at this late stage or start over?
We opted for the latter and quickly dispatched Cake 1.0 to the trash, and whipped up a second cake. (It was merely the latest in our recent troubled history with chocolate cakes.)
The result of the second attempt?
We knew from last year that our cake stand was not large enough to hold three tiers of this cake, but we weren't quite brave enough to try to make two-thirds of the recipe, so we once again had an extra third tier. Since we were making this cake a day ahead of our dinner party, the third tier came in handy for snacking & sampling for hungry cooks.
We don't have a lot of experience baking chocolate cakes, but we have eaten our fare share.
If chocolate cake is your thing, you need to make Chocolate Stout Cake this weekend.
Just don't forget the sugar.
2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
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
2 cups whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups 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 1 1/2 teaspoons 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. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.
Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.