Ok I know what you are all thinking – gee, didn’t Amelia just tell us that she was on a diet….and now she’s baking cake. Well. I must admit. I am weak – that’s for sure! But this cake is for my husband…I like to bake items for him and last night when I told him I wanted to bake something and was he craving anything – he said chocolate cake – so here it is! I usually bake Ina Garten’s chocolate cake recipe, but decided to switch it up with this recipe I’ve adapted from Bon Appetit.
Resisting the temptation to eat the cake isn’t that hard for me….after spending the time to make the cake and icing – plus cleaning up after it – it just isn’t that much fun to eat it!
The idea of a Chocolate Stout cake sounded so good to me – and perfect for New Year’s Eve!!
Alrighty – on we go to baking the cake. First things first….mix together the dry ingredients. I’ve learned that mixing these together in a separate bowl prior to incorporating into the wet ingredients is actually pretty important – by mixing them beforehand you avoid lumps and inconsistency in the batter.
After you get the dry ingredients mixed together – put them off to the side while you get the wet ingredients ready. Make sure that you have coffee available – either brew it, buy it, or mix it (if you’re using powder). Let it cool down. After you do that, now work on the chocolate. I used dark chocolate chips and melted them in the microwave for 30 seconds, gave them a stir, and put in the microwave for another 30 seconds, until the chocolate was melted. You can use the double-boiler method – but that takes too long…..I like using the microwave instead. Plus, Ina does it – so how bad can that be!
Ok, now that the chocolate and coffee are cooling down – grab your butter – which needs to be at room temp. – and beat that for 2-3 minutes on medium high-speed in your mixer. You want to make sure that you beat the butter until it becomes nice and fluffy prior to adding in the sugar.
After it gets lighter in color and fluffy – add in your sugar to the butter and continue to beat for an additional 3 minutes – or until completely fluffy and mixed together. Here’s what it should look like:
I needed the chocolate and coffee to cool down still – so while I wait for those to cool, I decided to work on the eggs. Separate the 3 eggs – in a large glass bowl place the 3 egg whites and little bit of sugar, and with the mixer still running, incorporate the egg yolks 1 at a time into the sugar/butter mixture. Now it’s time to focus on the egg whites again – beat them at high-speed until they form stiff peaks – but not dry. This is what they start out like – and what they turn into – basically a meringue! Yummy!
Now that the chocolate and coffee are cool – with the mixer running on low-speed, add in the chocolate, coffee, and stout. The mixture looks pretty messy….but that’s ok. Once that’s mixed together its time to add the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients slowly to the mixture and mix only until incorporated.
Final step for the cake batter – take 1/2 of the egg white mixture and fold that into the chocolate batter. What I do is take a large spatula and use that over and over in the mixture – starting in the middle of the bowl and slicing through the mixture – until the egg whites are completely incorporated. Do the other 1/2 of the mixture and this is what it should look like when it’s almost done….a few striations of the egg white mixture that needs to be incorporated better.
Pour into the 9″ cake pans – which I have sprayed with cooking spray and floured. You can add in the circles of parchment paper on to the bottom as well – but I don’t feel that necessary – especially since I find parchment paper annoying to work with!
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes at 350 degrees – but I always check it much sooner than that because my oven isn’t that great. I check with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean, and as soon as it does I take them out of the oven – there’s nothing worse than a dry cake – so try not to over bake!
Allow the cakes to cool – and now it’s time to start the icing! This is the hard part for me – to resist “tasting” the icing while I am making it….but those freaking calories add up….so I must resist grabbing tastes while I am making the icing!
Buttercream is super easy to make – cream together the room temperature butter, melted chocolate, and confectioners sugar until the right consistency. Add in heavy cream, by the tablespoon, if it needs to be thinned out.
Once the cakes have cooled and the icing has been made – it’s time to ice the cake! Invert the cake out of the pan and place the top side down onto the bottom of the dish you wish to use.
Put the top layer ontop of the icing (top side down) and ice the rest of the cake. I recommend putting a giant dollop of the icing ontop of the cake and spreading it down the sides – it’s easier than trying to ice the sides and then the top.
- 3 ounces dark chocolate chips
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp.
- 1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup Guinness – or other stout
- 2/3 cup freshly brewed strong coffee
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 3-3.5 cups confectioners sugar
- 3 T. whipping cream
- 1 T. strong coffee
- 1 t. vanilla
Preheat to 350°F. Spray with cooking spray and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and put chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and heat again for 30 seconds. Stir until all chocolate is melted – and allow to cool down.
Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and 11/4 cups sugar in large bowl until fluffy and pale yellow, about 2 minutes.
While the chocolate and coffee is cooling – start working on the egg whites. Beat egg whites and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry.
Back to the butter mixture, add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in lukewarm melted chocolate, then stout and coffee. Beat flour mixture into chocolate mixture until incorporated.
Fold 1/2 of egg whites into cake batter to lighten, then fold in remaining egg whites. Divide batter between prepared cake pans and smooth out tops.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer cakes to racks and cool in pans 20 minutes.
To make the icing: beat the butter in the mixer until light and fluffy. While butter is mixing – melt the chocolate in the microwave using the same technique as above. Once the butter is light and fluffy and the chocolate has cooled down, add the chocolate – with the mixer on – to the butter. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar – a half cup at a time. While the mixer is still on, add in the coffee, whipping cream, and vanilla. If you’re not happy with the consistency – add in more sugar to make it thicker – if it’s too thick, add in a little more heavy cream – just a very little at a time.
Ok, now it’s time to ice the cake – invert the cakes onto a platter and use 1/3 of the icing in the middle layer. Put the top layer on the cake and continue to ice the rest of the cake. Cut and serve.