March 7, 2011

Dark-Chocolate-Guinness-Stout Cake

You can seduce husbands with Beer. 

And chocolate.

And cake. 

So... it only makes sense that a dark chocolate, rich, stout beer cake = the Ultimate Enticement.

To be perfectly honest, for the past few months, I haven't been seductive or sultry.   Not even a little bit.

I have been in sort of a self imposed hibernation and a self-pitying funk... living in flannel pajama bottoms, reading trashy romance novels and watching movies like Beowulf and Doomsday while eating cheesy poofs on the couch.  I've not been charming or fun.  I haven't been pretty or light hearted to say the least.  I've even had cheesy poof powder stuck in my hair at times.   For a while, I felt like Jaba The Hut with a case of the Mean Reds.

But my quietly heroic, Subtly Amazing husband has remained steadfast and kind through even my worst days.  He's listened to me snuffle and whine about the injustices of the world this winter.   He took me to the movies and told me I was beautiful even when I wasn't.  He made me tea, told me bad jokes to help me remember how to smile, and covered me with a blanket when I went to bed at night. 

I'm telling you, I am married to Fantasy Husband.

And my Subtly Amazing Fantasy Husband deserves a medal.

Or at least a cake.

This one is absolutely sumptuous and sinful.  It is the King of Cakes.  The scent of it will make everyone in the household swoon and want to camp out in the kitchen and lick the bowl after you've whipped up the pillowy cream frosting.  It is unbelievably dense, and tastes heavenly when it's warm out of the oven (but you will catch yourself sneaking bites of cake deep into the night).

Don't worry, you don't actually taste the beer in the cake, it simply adds a depth of coffee/chocolaty flavor as well as making it extremely moist.

... and if you buy a big bottle of Guinness, you can sip the left-overs while you whisk and bake.

The Recipe: Chocolate Stout Cake

1 cup and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup Stout beer
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa, sifted
2 plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups sugar
2 medium eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup softened, whipped cream cheese
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the frosting:
1 plus 1/3 cup cream cheese, room temperature 
1 plus 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2/3 cup heavy cream, whipped

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Prepare a 10" spring form pan by liberally buttering it, placing parchment paper on the bottom, buttering again, and dusting with cocoa power to "flour" it.

Add butter, cocoa, and stout to a saucepan.  Warm over a medium heat and stir until melted.  Set aside for 5-10 minutes to cool slightly.
Add flour, baking soda, and sugar to a large mixing bowl and mix together.  Pour in the Stout/cocoa powder/butter mixture, lightly combine.  Then add the vanilla, eggs and whipped cream cheese and beat everything together until well combined.  The batter should be thick.
Pour into prepared pan and bake in oven for roughly 1 hour.  Since all ovens bake differently, be sure to check your cake often.  I always start checking well before the recommended time, just to be safe.  When the cake feels firm and a toothpick comes out clean, it's done. There may be a few crumbs that stick to it.  Do not overbake.  This is a very moist cake, so use your best judgement with the toothpick test.
Let cool for 10-15 minutes, before removing from pan and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
To frost the cake, place the cream cheese into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk until the cream cheese is smooth and there are no big lumps remaining.
Gradually, add the sifted confectioners' sugar and beat gently to combine.  After 2-3 minutes, stop the machine, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on medium speed until lump free.
Remove bowl from mixer and gently fold in the whipped cream, mixing until fully combined.

Place cooled cake on a stand and spread the top with frosting.

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