Chocolate-Guinness Cake & Black Velvet Cocktails

This is the last cake I’ll be making for a while. No, it’s not what you’re thinking. I didn’t have a baking disaster that ended in tears. Quite the contrary. I enjoyed making this cake very much. The recipe was easy to follow, the ingredients simple, and I even got to drink the leftover stout while it was baking. No, the reason I won’t be making any more cakes for a while is that when we returned home last night from our corned beef eating-frenzy at my parents’ house, my two naughty cats had gotten into the dish drainer and chewed my silicone baking pan. Little holes are now all over the bottom and sides of the poor thing. Their intentions I’ll never know, but anyway I’m quite pissed about it. Now that I’ve vented to you about my pan, I must turn to the cake. It kicks ass. The Guinness Stout gives it a wonderful depth of flavor, sort of nutty and caramely. I’m usually not a fan of the ultra rich, death-by-chocolate sort of cakes, so this one was a nice surprise. Its complex flavor was pleasing both to my brother’s palate (the chocolate lover) and mine. Instead of the icing in the original recipe, I decided to finish it off with a dusting of powdered sugar in order to highlight the flavor of the cake itself. I should also note that the recipe below (halved from the original) fits in a 9-inch circle cake pan, but not my silicone one anymore, thanks to Arius and Jonas!

Chocolate-Guinness Cake

(From Smitten Kitchen, which was adapted from the September 2002 Bon Appetit. Original recipe from the Barrington Brewery in Barrington, MA)

1 cup Guinness (or other stout)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (I always use salted)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan and set aside.
  • Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to a simmer in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt until combined.
  • Using electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat until just combined. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on low speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer cake to rack; cool completely in the pan, then turn cake out onto serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with Black Velvets:

Black Velvets

If you’ve never heard of a Black Velvet, it’s worth trying, even if it’s just for the oddity of the sound of it. It’s a very intriguing combination of Guinness (or other stout) and sparkling wine (or champagne) which you’ll find to be both rich and effervescent. If you are patient and carefully poor the sparkling wine over the back of a spoon, you can get it to sit on top of the stout. If being the key word. We were too excited to dig into the cake to perfect the method! A little research taught me that this cocktail originated at the Brooks Club in London. It was served in 1861 when people were mourning the passing of Prince Albert.

Guinness Stout
Sparkling Wine

  • Fill a champagne flute half way with Guinness.
    • Gently pour the champagne over the back of a spoon so it runs down the sides of the glass and doesn’t mix with the beer. If it doesn’t work, don’t worry. Just enjoy the drink as it is!

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