Halloween is not just for kids. Some of my adult friends are clearly more into Halloween than their children. A few couples in particular reliably dazzle neighbors and friends with their well thought out, elaborate, and creative costumes. My husband and I are not that couple. Don’t get me wrong: when required, we can put forth some effort. But we’re often unwilling to take a costume to the next level. I have accepted this. But I admire others who push the envelope. This Halloween recipe is for grown-ups who want to get their Halloween on this year.
This is a chocolate stout cake. Yes, it’s made with beer. Stout is a dark brew that includes roasted malts, barley, hops, water and yeast, and typically (though not always) has 7-8% alcohol content. In the world of stouts, there are a few variations: e.g. baltic, milk, and imperial. The most familiar and well-known stout is a dry one: Guinness.
Stouts date back to the late 1670’s. The dark color and strong flavor came from using roasted malts. The popularity of stouts later led to varying strengths, the stronger of which were labeled “stout porters” (also known as “sweet stouts” or “cream stouts”). From my understanding, while a lot is written online about this subject, there is no real difference between stout and porter. Or at least, no significant difference.
Brewing companies typically differentiate their stout offerings though the use of the words “extra,” “double,” and “imperial.” In modern times, “dry stouts” refer to the stout that is made with barley that is roasted (not unlike coffee), given the drink a rich, dark, definitive bitter note.
That’s a lot of stout history, but I find this stuff interesting. What many don’t know is that stout can make a cake moist, rich and delicious, much like olive oil can. Because it’s Halloween, I decided to make my stout cake a bit more fancy–not that this is required. Made as is, this stout cake is easy to make and frost, and should impress for Halloween (or any other gathering with friends and family). If you want to tackle the fun spider web decoration, check out this link, it’s much easier than you would imagine. Have a safe, happy and sweet Halloween.
Chocolate Stout Cake
- For the Cake:
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup good quality cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 cup good stout beer
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- dash of salt
- For the Frosting:
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened slightly
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened slightly
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Lightly oil the parchment and sides of the pan. Set aside.
- Step 2 For the Cake: In a large mixing bowl add the melted butter both sugars and the sifted cocoa. Whisk well to blend. Add the stout and mix.
- Step 3 In a second small bowl add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla and blend to incorporate. Add the egg-mixture to the stout-mixture and mix well.
- Step 4 Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix the batter until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Place in the oven and bake until firm, about 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Step 5 For the Frosting: Using a kitchen mixer, such as a Cusinart, fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and beat on high until smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat on high to incorporate, scrapping down the sides as needed. Reduce the speed to low, and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract. Mix well to blend.
- Step 6 To Assemble: Once the cake has cooled completely, remove it from the springform pan and place on a serving platter.
- Step 7 Using an offset spatula, generously frost the cake top only. Note: If making the spider wed design, see link above for instructions. Store the cake in the refrigerator until serving.