Monday, September 10, 2012

Epicuriosity #1: Chocolate Stout Cake and Will's 26th Birthday

Today we celebrated my husband's 26th birthday.

This is exciting for a lot of reasons.

1. All birthdays are exciting. Period.

2. This is my first time celebrating the birthday of a husband that's all mine, so that's pretty monumental.

3. I am one month older than Will, so we lovingly call the month between my birthday and his birthday "The Month of the Cougar" ... and so today ends The Month of the Cougar 2012.

4. I am making me him chocolate stout cake to celebrate.

For the wedding, he asked for Chocolate Guinness cake for the groom's cake. I told him it was unlikely that I'd find a bakery that had that available, and I was already over-extended planning the wedding & looking for a job. I asked the bakery of our wedding cake if they'd consider baking a cake using a recipe I submitted, and they said they'd make a test batch to see if it was realistic.

I submitted a recipe found on a favorite cooking blog of mine, smitten kitchen, and it was a huge success! In fact, one of the few things we remember about our reception is demolishing tasting the groom's cake.

So I decided to make it for him again, but this time with ganache on top... because that's what Smitten Kitchen told me to do.

Chocolate Stout Cake
found here

Ingredients (for cake):
1 cup stout (I used Guinness)
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cup all purpose flour
2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs

(for ganache):
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
6 tbsp heavy cream
3/4 tsp instant coffee granules

Preheat the oven to 350*. 

Spray a bundt pan, or do as I do, and coat the inside with butter.

*Side note: this recipe was adapted from another recipe that would fill 2 round cake pans... just double the recipe, and you're all set for a lovely layered cake!

This was Will's bundt pan from the pre-marriage era. Makes very pretty cakes, but those contours are asking for sticking situations-- go butter go! Or, since I'm in New England, go buttah go!

This is how I jam when baking-- iTunes blasting my latest downloads with the instructions at the ready. This is not your grandmother's kitchen.

In a saucepan, combine stout and buttah.

Bring stout and buttah to a simmah simmer. Stir in cocoa and set aside to cool. Move on towards your wet and dry ingredients. 

Take a little taste of this delicious conconction. PSYCH. It tastes horrific. Learn from my mistakes.

Combine eggs and sour cream in the mixer (or you can use a bowl and a handheld electric mixer... or you can just whisk it together by hand, but truly, who has the patience for that...)

Very slowly add your chocolate mixture to the egg/dairy mix. You don't want to dump it in all at once because that will scramble the eggs.

Add slowly. Your patience will be rewarded... by the absence of scrambled eggs in your batter

In a separate bowl, add flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Whisk together.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mix, one scoop at a time. I had my KitchenAide set on "stir" for this bit... reduces flour pouffing* all over your counter.

*not a real culinary term. 

See, no pouffage*

*still not a real term

Stir the batter with the spatula and pour into your buttahed buttered cake pan.

I do recommend tasting this batter... sweet and deep flavor

Bake for 35-45 minutes. I'm still learning my oven, so I started at 30 minutes and checked on the cake every 5 minutes after that. The grand total time was 45 minutes of baking until the knife I inserted came out clean.

My husband is the 2nd face on the top row. Seriously, how could I deny that face an out-of-this-world birthday cake?

The recipe only calls for 1 cup of stout... but these cans hold greater than 1 cup... Waste not, want not. PSYCH AGAIN. I don't dig stouts.

Let cake cool completely before turning it upside down on a cooling rack. After cake has completely cooled, get goin' on that ganache!

By this time, our whole apartment smells of chocolate cake. Maybe our whole building. You're welcome, neighbors.

After it's cooled completely, turn it upside down on a cooling rack. If you're smart like me, you'll put wax paper beneath the cooling rack prior for the ganache drizzle.

Looks like the biggest, most decadent donut you've laid your eyes upon

To make the ganache, you'll need 6 oz of chocolate chips, 6 Tbsp of heavy cream, and 3/4 tsp of instant coffee. I think I actually used closer to 1tsp for a richer flavor.

Coincidentally, 6 oz of chocolate is just under 1 cup, for those of you without a coffee nut husband who weighs his coffee beans daily scale.

The recipe calls for a double boiler, which we don't own (yet). I just used a large sauce pan with a smaller one inside of it. The point is just to heat up the ingredients with uniform heat without burning it. You can actually do this in the microwave, but you have to stop and stir it often.

Make it work, Killmer

Once you have this glossy sheen, whisk it a little to get a uniform texture.

 Mine was a little too thick to just drizzle, so I spooned it over my donut cake.

And the final product! The wax paper catches the little chocolate drizzles into these little ponds of lusciousness. This makes for easier clean up... or slightly more sanitary licking up the chocolate ponds. Slightly. Let the ganache and cake cool completely, then transfer to a serving dish for your guests and birthday boy to ooh and ahh over.

Marvel at your ability to follow written instructions, 
then taste the fruits of your messy kitchen labor.

I have 2 pictures of the birthday boy and some friends who came over to celebrate with us, but I am unable to find my camera cord, so I'll have to add those later. We really enjoyed the little gathering-- the first time we've had people over since our apartment has been "put together"! -- and the birthday boy enjoyed his decadent cake.

All in all, successful start to his 26th year.

1 comment:

  1. Great Chocolate choice!
    Ganache can be easily made by heating cream alone in microwave until bubbly then stirring in chocolate until smooth.
    If you find yourself baking this at high altitudes sub baking powder for baking soda or the cake will rise and fall!
    p.s. you look adorable in that apron!