chocolate stout cake

chocolate stout cake 6

We celebrated my friend’s 40th birthday by eating meat and drinking beer. He’s a hunter with friends who are hunters, so we had two types of venison, Barbary sheep, rabbit, quail, partridge, and dove. We also compared ten different stouts. It was a nice manly birthday party.

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Obviously chocolate stout cake is the perfect birthday cake for Game and Stout Night. (And just wait until I tell you about the perfect ice cream for Game and Stout Night.) For one thing, a glazed bundt cake is simple to put together compared to a layered, filled, iced, and decorated cake, which was good because I also contributed baguettes, ravioli filled with homemade venison sausage, and ice cream.

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Small slices of bundt cake are also easier to handle than a triple-layer wedge of cake when you’ve been eating meat and drinking heavy beer all night. But there’s a lot of flavor packed into a small serving, with lots of rich chocolate and a hint of bitterness from the stout and the espresso powder in the glaze. I left the leftovers with the hosts, and I was so annoyed the next morning when I didn’t have any cake to eat with my coffee, but at least it was the perfect cake for Game and Stout Night.

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Printer Friendly Recipe
Chocolate Stout Cake (via Bon Appetit via Smitten Kitchen)

2 cups (9.6 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 large eggs, room temperature
⅔ cup sour cream

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons heavy cream
¾ teaspoon espresso powder

1. For the cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with baking spray, or spray with cooking spray and then dust with flour. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the stout and butter together until the mixture comes to a simmer; add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth; set aside to cool slightly.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sour cream until smooth. Slowly whisk in the stout mixture. Add the flour mixture; using a rubber spatula, fold the flour into the batter until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool the cake on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto the rack to cool completely.

5. For the glaze: In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan containing 1 inch of simmering water, melt the chocolate, cream, and espresso powder until smooth and glossy. Drizzle over cooled cake.

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  1. Every time I’ve made this recipe (twice?), it’s exploded on me — literally, the batter has risen to great heights before falling spectacularly and kind of exploding all over my oven. Yours is so beautiful that you’re obviously doing everything right, so maybe you don’t know…but do you have any idea what could be causing my problem? I am at altitude…could that be it? Could I be overmixing?

    Thanks for sharing this, by the way — you may have inspired me to try again 🙂 Don’t even ask me about the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes I tried…similarly exploded. Maybe it is the Guinness and my heavy mixing hand.

  2. Linda says:

    I find baking at high altitude takes practice. Cutting down the baking soda to 1 teaspoon and the butter by 1/4 cup will help. Just think, it will have fewer calories too.

  3. Kate – It probably is the altitude. I don’t think overmixing would cause that to happen. Have you had issues with other cakes? High altitude causes cakes to rise too much (because there’s less air pressure), but then the cake structure can’t support all the air bubbles, so the cake collapses. It’s possible that the carbonation in the beer is making the problem even worse. You might try simmering the beer mixture for a few extra minutes to cook out the carbonation, and like Linda (my mom; the altitude at her house is over 5200 feet) said, decrease the leavener. It does take some trial and error, unfortunately, but anything is better than cake exploding all over your oven. 🙂

  4. Happy Birthday my dear!!!! Definitely a milepost that I passed long ago. Sniff. No, I like my age now. What a wonderful party!!!! I am a wine drinker myself, so I would probably have a wine tasting. But tastings are fine. What I love about this cake is literally how dark it is. Kind of intriguing in an inviting way. Of course there is no doubt that it was/is delicious—-why else would you have chosen this recipe for such an important birthday!!!!!

  5. Bridget — Usually it’s just the ones with stout, and the cupcakes were particularly bad. So the carbonation theory makes sense. I’ll boil it a bit longer…I bet you’re absolutely right. The only thing with beer/stout that has worked is beer bread, but that dough is a lot less delicate. Thank you so much!

    Linda — I will definitely try your suggestions. Thanks so much — still a relatively recent transplant to my area, and I’m finding that some recipes just don’t want to work correctly at 5,200 feet. Sigh. Thanks again!

  6. treewhisperer says:

    But what is the perfect ice cream to go with this cake…you’re leaving us hanging!!!! 😉

  7. treewhisperer – You know I’m slow these days! It’ll be up next week sometime. I will tell you that it probably isn’t one that you personally will love. 🙂