Seattle has seen one of the most dreary winters since I moved here, but Spring is coming – slowly but surely. In the mean time, gotta keep our spirits up with some sweet, rich chocolate cake.
I have not baked since the Holidays last year, trying to be “healthier”, but for St. Patty’s Day – I wanted to flex my baking muscles again and get to some new recipes. I reviewed a bunch of chocolate stout recipes and decided to use Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate Stout Cake as a guide. I could have used good ol’ Guinness, but living in Seattle means having a lot of unique beers at hand. Because I’m such a coffee addict, I was super excited to use this Elysian Espresso Stout. Whisked the butter (sooooooo much butteerrrrrrrr!) with the stout and cocoa powder. This makes your kitchen smell amazaballs. Separately mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt) into the mixed liquids (egg and sour cream). Then lastly, mix the stout mixture (after cooling a bit) into the batter. Fold gently with a spatula. For my recipe, I poured it into a 9 in. springform pan. Smitten Kitchen uses a bundt cake pan, but mine was too small and I wanted to make more of a simple round cake.
I’ve made the recipe twice now and for some reason 35 minutes from the original blog is not enough, I would recommend an additional 10-15 minutes. It came out super dense, rich, and deeply chocolatey. The stout gives it a nutty and creamy taste, unlike the traditional sweet light chocolate cake.
Part 2! As the cake cools on the rack, it’s time to make the ganache! I’m excited, but nervous because I don’t have a lot of experience making this. I had to carefully improvise since I do not have a double boiler, I used a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water….eekkks! I stirred everything very carefully until it became a smooth chocolate sauce.
With the cake on a cooling rack, place a sheet or large plate underneath to catch the excess ganache. Take the ganache and pour it on to the middle of the cake, using a flat knife/spatula – spread the ganache over the sides and let it drip off the sides.
The ganache cools and starts to solidify pretty quickly, so work without hesitation (even if you’ve never done this before). Smooth out the sides and the top with your knife while the ganache is still malleable, this will ensure a lovely smooth finish on the cake.
As you can see, I still need some practice and I found out there were still some chocolate chunks in the ganache. Hey, this just means I need to make more chocolate cakes huh?