October 17, 2012 by jenniebean10
When I think of birthday cake, I think of chocolate cake. It’s not that I’ve ever particularly wanted chocolate cake on my birthday, but that’s just the first thing that comes to mind when I think of birthday cakes. Well, other people’s birthday cakes. Personally, the only cake I genuinely crave on my birthday is a weird little processed box mix flavor called Cherry Chip. It costs $1.50 at the grocery store, turns out kinda pink, and I like it with white frosting that’s been dyed pink. Don’t get me wrong — I love other kinds of cakes. But this is just what I always want on my birthday. For some reason, nobody else was ever very excited to eat my birthday cake…
Last Saturday, we celebrated the German’s birthday; of course, I had to bake something special for my dear kamerad. Not to worry, it WASN’T cherry chip cake. You probably saw the pumpkin cream puffs I made for the party, but I also made his birthday cake. Since he’s quite popular, I knew there would be a good number of people at his shindig, and that the cake-slicing birthday boy would be imbibing significant quantities of beer (come on — he’s German, after all!), so I focused on bundt cake recipes. Aesthetically pleasing with little effort (as long as the pan is properly greased and floured!), but more importantly….easy to slice and divvy up. Seriously. I hate few things more than I do slicing a cake when the frosting gets all stuck to the knife and people are making special requests for different sizes of slices of cake. Plus, when you’ve had several drinks, trying to cut across an entire cake is a NIGHTMARE!
I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks, saw booze as an ingredient, (HALLO, GERMAN) and just had to make it. I think it’s the prettiest cake I ever did make. When I tried the batter, I got that…can’t-eat, can’t-sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over-the-fence, World Series kind of feeling. It was seriously THAT tasty. The beer gets reduced before you mix it into the batter, so this cake doesn’t taste like beer. It adds a really nice rich flavor to the cake, though. Furthermore, this cake isn’t too sweet – most of my friends here aren’t used to ultra-sugary American baked goods, so this cake was well-received.
If you’re morally opposed to putting beer in cake, who ARE you and how did you find my blog?? Just kidding! You could substitute with a cup of strong coffee. In fact, I didn’t have a huge bottle of stout, so I supplemented with some coffee. You’re also not limited to using a coffee flavored stout like I did. Heidi’s original recipe calls for a chocolate porter or stout, but she says you can use any porter or stout that’s not too hoppy, or even Guinness. I adore brown ales, so next time I make this (oh yes), I might try using (and serving with) Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale. Or maybe the Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar, which I *still* haven’t tried. Mmmmm…. Okay, okay, shut up, Jennie. Just share the recipe with us!
Chocolate Java Stout Cake
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
2 cups / 475 ml coffee porter or stout beer (read entry for more substitutions)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup / 75g cocoa powder (non-dutched is preferable)
1 cup / 140 g whole wheat flour
1 cup / 125 g all-purpose flour
1 cup / 120 g dark brown sugar, OR cane sugar + 1 T blackstrap molasses
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups / 355 ml whole plain yogurt
3/4 cup / 180 ml pure maple syrup (don’t you DARE use Aunt Jemima’s/corn syrup)
3/4 cup / 75 g powdered sugar
1/4 cup / 25g cocoa powder (non-dutched is preferable)
2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
flaky sea salt, to serve
Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C, with a rack in the center.
Generously and carefully butter and flour a 11 or 12-cup capacity bundt pan (or equivalent). (From 101cookbooks: You can bake this in other cake pans, just be mindful to avoid filling the pan(s) more than 2/3 – 3/4 full. Adjust the baking time as well – baking until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, and the center tests clean when you insert a knife.)
In a medium saucepan, simmer the beer down to 1 cup / 240 ml. Remove from heat, then add the butter and stir until melted. Sift and stir in the cocoa powder, mixing until smooth, then setaside to cool, stirring occasionally to let off heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, and maple syrup. Whisk well, until nicely blended and uniform in appearance. Gradually add the (cooled) stout mixture, stirring all the while, until well blended. Add the flour mixture, folding until just blended, using as few strokes as possible.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 35 – 45 minutes if using the bundt pan, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Don’t over bake this cake – let it be on the slightly moist side if anything. Remove from the oven, run a knife/toothpick/popsicle stick around the edges, and turn out onto a cooling rack after seven minutes.
In the meantime, make the icing by whisking together the powdered sugar, cocoa, and milk. The icing should end up smooth and creamy looking — you can adjust with a tiny bit of powdered sugar or a few extra drops (a little goes a LONG way) of milk if you want to tweak the consistency at all. When the cake is completely cool, run the icing around the top with a spatula and let it set.
Serve sprinkled with a bit of flaky sea salt on each slice. Really, it’s delicious – you should try it. You can sprinkle the salt on beforehand, while the icing isn’t set yet, but it will leave tiny marks on the top of your cake where it sits on the frosting.
A big thanks to Mari and Anna for sharing their photos with me to put in this post :] Gracias, danke, and hope to see you in Gettysburg again this year!