So much for Summer; for the last week we've had nothing but grey skies and rain. It has been properly gloomy, but SO uncomfortably humid; especially at night, when we all, including Ringo the dog, have been struggling to sleep. There has been so much rain in fact that there has even been quite a bit of flooding near my house... in Birmingham! The gloomy weather and lack of sleep called for cake, chocolate cake to be specific. Dark, dense and richly flavoured chocolate stout cake, topped with a thick layer of silky-smooth stout ganache; grown-up chocolate cake heaven.
You don't need to like stout to love this cake (I hate drinking stout, I'm more of a cider kind of girl), as it doesn't taste overtly of the stout, instead it provides a malty, slightly boozy tang which accentuates the richness of the chocolate; it also makes the cake incredibly moist and soft. It is the kind of cake that keeps really well in a tin, ready for you to slice a bit off whenever you need an energy boost. It also works well as a pudding, served with a scoop of ice cream.
The most well known type of stout is Guinness, but you certainly don't need to use that particular one (I didn't); I used it both in the cake and in the ganache, to which it also gives a delicious hint of malt and boozy backnote; so this definitely isn't a cake for children unless they happen to have very grown-up tastebuds!
Chocolate Stout Cake With Stout Ganache (Guinness Chocolate Cake)
- 250 g (1 cup + 1tbsp) butter, in thin slices
- 250 ml (1 cup) stout (Guinness)
- 275 g (2 + ¼ cups) plain flour
- 75 g (⅔ cup) cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 150 g (⅔ cup) full fat sour cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 200 g (1 cup + 2tbsp) light brown soft sugar
- 150 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
- 200 g (7oz) dark chocolate, chopped
- 100 ml (scant ½ cup) double (heavy) cream
- 100 ml (scant ½ cup) stout (Guinness)
- 15 g (1 tbsp) butter
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease a deep, 23cm/9in round tin and line with baking parchment.
- Place the butter and stout in a medium saucepan and heat gently until the butter is melted then remove from the heat.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract and sugars until very smooth. Fold ⅓rd of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, followed by ⅓rd of the stout mixture; repeat until all the ingredients are mixed together.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the cake feels firm and springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cover the cake loosely with tin foil part way through baking if the top starts to get too dark.
- Leave to cool in the tin for about half an hour then carefully turn it out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely (it is delicate when warn so be careful).
- To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream and stout together until just boiling then pour over the chocolate. Leave to stand for 5 minutes then stir until smooth; add the butter and stir until it has melted and the ganache is smooth.
- Leave the ganache to cool until it is thick and spreadable, then place the cake on a serving platter and spread the ganache in a thick layer over the top. Store in an airtight container.