Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stout chocolate cake 2.0

After my success with the first version of the stout chocolate cake, I made another one last weekend. Unfortunately, contrary to the first one the second cake came out bland and soggy. I scratched my head --- what had gone wrong? Did I underbake it? For the second cake I had completely followed Heidi’s recipe but for the first one I had improvised and added my own tweaks. So, how to recreate my original version? After some thorough analysis and inspecting the photos for additional clues I was able to recreate the cake.

Changes: I had added a few ingredients to bring out the chocolate flour, such as espresso powder. It is also important to simmer the beer, butter, cacao powder and espresso powder together on very low for about 15min. I do not reduce the mixture to half of the original 2 cups of stout, but with all ingredients, including butter and chocolate, I still have 2 cups of liquid. To make up for the extra liquid, I add an extra 1/2 cup of flour. Also, I only use all-purpose flour since it just rises better than whole wheat in my experience. Instead of 340ml yogurt, I only use 170ml (1 container). I also add molasses and vanilla extract. This time I followed my original recipe, and the cakes were rising well in the oven, and the texture is light, yet moist, again and only lightly sweet but chocolate-ly taste is back. I am always amazed that slight changes can make such huge differences in flavor and texture, when baking. It is an art and a science.

So, here it is, stout chocolate cake, 2.0. Enjoy!


Stout chocolate cake, 2.0


  • 2 cups St. Pete’s cream stout beer, reduced only to 1 1/2 cups of stout
  • 8 tablespoons/1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Dagoba authentic cocoa powder
  • 1 TB instant Megdalia d’oro espresso powder
  • 2 1/2 cup King Arthur Flour all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 140 ml Brown Cow Maple cream top yogurt (1 container)
  • 3/4 cup Maine maple syrup (I use the whole foods brand and Stonewall kitchen)
  • 1/2 TB vanilla extract
  • 1/2 TB organic black strap molasses

Chocolate Buttermilk Icing:

  • 3/4 cup / 2.75 oz / 75 g powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup / 25g natural cocoa powder (non-dutched)
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • flaky sea salt, to serve

Preheat oven to 360F, with a rack in the center. Spray a regular sized and a small bundt cake pan with baking spray. If you use another cake pans, just make sure 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 saucepan simmer the 2 cups of beer down to 1 1/2 cup. Add in the stick of butter cut into pieces, and whisk in the chocolate powder and the espresso powder. Continue simmering on very low for another 15 min. The mixture develops a strong, rich chocolate aroma (make sure to not to scorch it by simmering on too high). Remove from heat, measure that it makes 2 cups, and let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a standmixer with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, yogurt, and maple syrup. Mix until nicely blended and uniform in appearance. Gradually add the (cooled) stout mixture, while still mixing. Add the flour mixture, tablespoon by tablespoon/

Transfer the batter to the prepared pans and bake for 45 minutes if using the bundt pan. You really don't want to over bake this cake - err on the slightly moist side if anything. Remove from the oven, and turn out onto a cooling rack after seven minutes.
Once the cake is completely cooled, whisk the icing by combining the powdered sugar, cocoa, and buttermilk. The icing should end up smooth and creamy looking. Run the icing around the top with an offset spatula and let it set.


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