I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like chocolate cake. It’s the first thing my husband requests when I’m trying to squeeze dessert inspiration out of him. It’s a staple I don’t think we never not had in our pantry growing up – my Father, whom did all the grocery shopping was a wise man. And, it’s something I have yet to ever see someone wrinkle their nose at and pass up given the chance. But, not all chocolate cake was created equal. Oh no my friends, it was not. And this chocolate cake, well it might very well be my new favorite and I may just have to dare you to find me a recipe you like better.
You see, I was on the hunt for a very specific cake recipe as per requested by my Father-In-Law for his birthday. In similar fashion to my dear husband – and a clear indicator they are very much related – I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday. Of which he responded: chocolate. That’s it. Just chocolate. Not exactly much to go off of, am I right? But you see, no one really just wants a chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking on the delicious possibilities of chocolate on chocolate, but we can do better people. You see, I know for a fact my FIL is admittedly not the biggest sweets fan. I also know he’s a recreational drinking fan (and I mean that in the nicest way possible because, well, who isn’t??). As is such, armed with that knowledge, inspiration started to form.
You see, icing in of itself is very, very sweet. A naked cake is truly the perfect solution to those who classify themselves as ‘not the biggest sweets fan’. Also, booze can be a truly wonderful flavor accompaniment and this cake includes both chocolate stout and my favorite bourbon. The beauty of this particular recipe is that it allows the cake to truly shine. A deep, rich chocolate flavor with both the slightest hint of vanilla and almond it is both as moist as you could possibly imagine but light in a way only cakes made with just cocoa powder can be. If you’re, at this point not yet convinced that
right now/today, this weekend’s baking agenda is now set then I don’t think we can still be friends. As they say, the loss my friend is truly yours.
*recipe adapted from Style Sweet CA blog
For the Cake
1 cup of your favorite Chocolate Stout (or Guinness in a pinch) beer
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup sour cream
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used 1/2 cup regular and 1/2 cup black to get the cake it’s color)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
For the Espresso Buttercream
1/2 cup large egg whites (about 3 eggs)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temp
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons espresso
For the Bourbon Coffee Glaze
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso (I use regular ground espresso and it’s lovely)
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2-3 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
For the Cake
- Pre heat oven to 350 degrees and prepare baking pans.
- Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
- Combine stout and butter in a medium-large sauce pan. Heat until butter is melted.
- Meanwhile, combine sour cream, eggs, and extract. Set aside.
- Over medium heat, whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar until combined.
- Remove from heat and stir in sour cream mixture.
- Whisk in dry ingredients until smooth.
- Pour into prepared baking pans.
- Bake until centers are done (about 22-24 minutes)
For the Buttercream
- Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk them together by hand to combine. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place it over medium-high heat. Place the mixer bowl on the top of the saucepan to create a double boiler. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.
- Whisking intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it registers 160 degrees F on a candy thermometer or no longer feels ‘grainy’ to the touch. Once done, carefully fit the mixing bowl onto the stand mixer.
- With the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on high speed for 8-10 minutes, until it holds medium-stiff peaks. When done, the outside of the mixer bowl should return to room temperature and no residual heat should be escaping the meringue out of the top of the bowl. Stop the mixer and swap out for the paddle attachment.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, then the vanilla. Mix 2 tablespoons espresso powder with 1/4 cup warm water and slowly pour into icing and mix. Once incorporated, turn up the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the buttercream is silky smooth, 3-5 minutes.
For the Bourbon Coffee Glaze
- Place cream, corn syrup, cocoa powder, and espresso powder in a small sauce pan.
- Heat over medium-low heat until creams begins to steam and powders begin to dissolve. Stir to combine.
- Remove from heat and add in the chopped chocolate. Let stand 30 seconds.
- Whisk to combine in melted chocolate.
- Add in the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.
- Let glaze come to room temperature (about 10 minutes) before drizzling over cake.
For the assembly, I filled each layer of cake with the buttercream, as well as adding a layer to the top of the cake. I kept the outside “naked” but made sure to fill in any major gaps between layers so the glaze could nicely drip down.