Long time no see! Sorry for not keeping you fulfilled on recipes. April was a busy month, I honestly did slack a bit, and then I went on a vacation to ITALY! Still in complete awe over the amazing two weeks I got to experience. I will be posting all about it with pictures and my favorite eats in the next post or two so keep an eye out for that.
I know as a person who has stated they are #teampie over cake, I will state that I still enjoy cake! I'm not here to be the bad guy, we all are gonna love something more than another, but I'm no monster, I enjoy a delicious cake from time to time. This culprit right here is one of those cakes that I can't say no to. My delicious chocolate stout cake piled on one another and covered in a cocoa buttercream is a winner in my book.
This is something I make when I really want to treat myself, if I'm having a phenomenal week, I need to celebrate something, or when I do crave chocolate and candy won't cut it, but do you really need a reason to make chocolate cake? I'll let you decide that.
Why stout though? My two lovely friends Conrad and Dorien have gotten into their own home brewing and gifted me a couple bottles of a super delicious and dark stout. The first idea that popped into my head was C-A-K-E!
So with this cake being chocolate AND stout, this cake will be as dark as...well as dark as the night during the battle of Winterfell. I mean I had to rewatch that battle a few times cause it was super dark to see what was all going on, I was on the edge of my seat, just like I'll be while I wait for these cakes to cool.
Cocoa powder comes in a few varieties, dutch vs natural. You're gonna find the natural more in the big grocery stores, it's a very light brown color (Hershey's for example). But dutch cocoa powder will be a lot darker, it's washed to neutralize it's acidity. I enjoy using dutch for that bold, dark color of chocolate. I kicked it up a notch and used black cocoa, for a more boldness and dark color to the cake.
I like to use sour cream in my cake to aid to all that intense flavor we're adding from the dark chocolate, the espresso powder, and the stout. Not only does it add a wonderful creaminess, it will help make sure the cake won't dry, each bite you take will be fluffy but connected.
Because we are using both baking soda and baking powder, you want to make sure once you've made this batter, that you don't let it sit out too long. Very important to have your ovens preheated and ready to go. So if you're oven can only fit two cake pans in at a time, you can bake two and also cut the cakes in half to turn into a four layer if you want to get crazy.
Very important step to cake decorating is to make sure these cakes COOL! I see a lot of people in classes or events get ready to stack warm cakes with their freshly made buttercream, that is the biggest no no! You need your cakes to cool a bit before you remove them from the cake pans, put those cakes on a cooling rack and let them sit at least an hour (I know waiting is hard, but we gotta do it). Sometimes I like to make my buttercream morning of or even night before, that way it has time to cool in the fridge. Putting it all in the pastry bag, easy to pull out and let sit on the counter for half an hour before I'm ready to decorate my cakes. Nobody wants soggy layer cakes here.
Chocolate Stout Layer Cake with Cocoa Buttercream
Makes: Three 8" cakes or Two 9" cakes
Stand mixer/hand mixer, medium offset spatula, cake stand, pastry bag, pastry tip, parchment paper
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup black cocoa powder (you can sub for dutch cocoa powder)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp espresso powder
- 1 1/2 cups dark stout (I was able to use a whole standard beer bottle)
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened + some butter to grease cake pans
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 cups butter, softened (4 sticks)
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or GOOD quality vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dutch cocoa powder
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Shaved chocolate for topping, optional
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease your cake pans with some unsalted butter rubbed all over the bottom and up the sides. Place a parchment round on the bottom and rub the top of that parchment with butter. Set aside.
- To make sure this cake is fluffy and smooth, I add an extra task of sifting my dry ingredients through a fine mesh sieve (I know I'm the worst, but I notice it has an extra nice texture to it vs not sifting). You'll add your flour, dutch cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sift into a medium bowl. Set aside.
- I pour my stout into a Pyrex measuring 2 cup, add vanilla extract and espresso powder. Running espresso powder through a sifter can leave a lot of it behind so I prefer stirring it in with the stout to pair the flavors together. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle or large bowl with a hand mixer, drop your softened butter and granulated sugar in and cream together. Occasionally scrape down the bowl to make sure everything is evenly mixing in. Continue until no longer clumpy, smooth and creamy.
- Mixer on low speed, crack one egg at a time, wait for the egg to mix in before adding another.
- Add in your sour cream on a medium low speed until mixed in completely.
- Reduce mixing speed to low. Add a small portion of your dry in, followed by a small portion of your wet stout mix. We are adding a little after the other so I eyeball about a third at a time (no need to be exact, just don't dump everything in at a time. Mix until no dry streaks or wet puddles, smooth batter.
- Pour evenly into your cake pans. Put cake pans into your oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or when a toothpick comes out clean.
- Pull cakes out of oven once done and put cake pans on cooling racks and leave alone for 20 minutes or until the cake pan is cool to touch.
- Use a butter knife and ring around the edge of the cake to ensure it loosens. Place a large enough plate or cutting board over the top of the cake and flip over to release the cake and put onto the cooling rack until they are COMPLETELY cool.
- To make the buttercream, bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or hand mixer, mix your butter and vanilla bean paste on medium speed until smooth.
- Add your cocoa powder in two portions to the butter mixture.
- Gradually add your powdered sugar and mix until no dry ingredients are shown in the bowl (check the bottom of the bowl).
- Put a small little dollop of buttercream in the middle of your cake stand, this is the glue to hold your cake so it won't move around while you decorate it. You can also square off the edges of your cake stand by having parchment paper strips so you won't have a messy cake stand when done.
- Take your first cooled cake and flip that cake upside down and center it on that dollop of buttercream. You want the dome top to be on the bottom so you have the flat bottom of the cake on top to even your cake.
- Using a medium offset spatula, put a hefty dollop of buttercream on top of your first cake and spread all over the top (Don't worry about making it perfect).
- Take your second cooled cake and flip that upside down and place on top of your buttercream topped cake and repeat with more buttercream. If you have more cake, repeat this step again.
- Once all cakes are stacked, Take a small dollop of buttercream and slab it over your in between layers on the side (kinda like filling holes in the wall to ensure you get your deposit money back).
- Once all the lines are filled with buttercream, start spreading generous amounts of buttercream onto the cake and spreading. Don't be afraid of putting too much on in the beginning, easy to take it off if there is too much. You will not be using all your buttercream!
- Once the cake has a filled first layer and you can't see any naked cake, you can call it a day with dabbing on rustic designs with the remaining buttercream OR you can put this in the fridge for half an hour to cool this "crumb coat".
- Putting remainder of buttercream in a pastry bag with a pastry tip of choice (I used Wilton open star tip #22) you can take your cake out and do designs of your choice to finish it.
- Share with others, or do your best at hiding this from others because this will get demolished.