This incredibly moist and rich cake gets its dark color and interesting finish from the stout.
- 2 cups stout or dark beer, such as Guinness
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
- 4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8” or two 9” cake pans, and line them with parchment paper circles.
- Be sure your 9” pans are at least 2” deep.
- Place the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan, and heat until the butter melts.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cocoa powder. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream.
- Add the stout-cocoa mixture, mixing to combine.
- Add the flour mixture and mix together at slow speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 1 minute.
- Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans.
- Bake the layers for 35 minutes for 8” pans, or 45 to 50 minutes for 9” pans, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans and returning to the rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.
- Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.
- Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the mixture is completely smooth.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- Refrigerate until the icing is spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.
- Trim one cake layer to have a flat top, if necessary (otherwise the layer will crack when you place it upside down on your cake plate).
- Line the edges of a serving plate with parchment or waxed paper to keep it clean, and then place the layer upside down on top.
- Spread 2/3 cup of the icing over just the top of the layer.
- Top with another cake layer, top side down, and repeat the process. If you baked three layers, add that one also.
- Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. Remove the parchment or waxed paper. Sprinkle with shamrock sugar decorations, if you have them.
Note: For a somewhat less imposing (smaller) cake, downsize the ingredients as follows: 1 1/2 cups each beer and butter; 1 cup cocoa; 3 cups each flour and sugar; 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder; 1 teaspoon salt; 3 large eggs; 2/3 cup sour cream. Bake in two 9” round pans, at 350°F, for 35 minutes. Frost with Super-Simple Chocolate Frosting, with the optional espresso powder added. This downsized version also makes 30 standard-size cupcakes; bake them for 18 to 22 minutes, then remove from the oven, cool, and frost.
Recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour