Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cooking with Beer: Guinness Cake

With time and money too short for brewing and road trips on the back burner, I decided I would start cooking with beer a bit more to sharpen my skills and see what I could create.

This recipe comes from the NPR website and goes like this:

1 cup Guinness (or other stout)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder*
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (make sure it's less than 6 months old for maximum leavening power)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, place a round of parchment paper on the bottom and butter it, then flour the pan.

Place the stout and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Whisk in cocoa powder until mixture is smooth.

Thoroughly combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in large bowl. In another bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream until well-blended. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed.

Finish mixing by folding batter with a spatula until completely combined. Pour batter in the springform pan and bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Place cake on a rack and cool for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan and cool completely.

Beat together the cream cheese and sugar. Add cream and vanilla and mix. Spread icing on top of cake to echo the appearance of a glass of Guinness and its head of foam.

Now a few notes...

  • The recipe didn't specify what variety of Guinness so I went with the more popular Guinness Draft from the can over the Guinness Extra Stout from the bottle.
  • My cake pan is nowhere near deep enough. I had extra batter and my cake still spilled a bit as it rose and then burned on the bottom of my oven.
  • There may be nothing so decadent as sticks of butter simmering in stout. Observe:

Overall, I'll call it a success. I am not a fan of cream cheese icing but it did turn out quite well. The wife and kids enjoyed it even more than I did. I'm a lousy baker but this turned out as well as could be expected.

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