Friday, March 15, 2013

Chocolate Stout Cake

I really enjoy Suzanne Goin's approach to food.  Her dishes are simple, rustic and satisfying.  She runs four acclaimed restaurants in Los Angeles.  At Tavern, there's an in-house bakery called Larder with lots of gorgeous stuff.  Her cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Lucques, won an award from the James Beard Foundation and the pastry recipes I've tried have all been delicious.  And since we're heading into Guinness and chocolate territory over the next several days, I thought I'd try her Chocolate Stout Cake.

The interesting thing about this cake is that the chocolate really takes a back seat to the bold flavor of molasses and the addition of lots of spice.  There are equal parts of ground cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, so there's no mistaking the fact that this cake has a gingerbread feel.  The Guinness bridges all these strong elements and rounds out the flavor beautifully.  The cake is made with oil so it's quick to mix and super moist.  I like it simply served with a dollop of whipped cream.  It would also be terrific with vanilla or caramel ice cream, of course!

Bench notes:
- I haven't tried this with any other brand of beer so I recommend you go with Guinness.
- I halved the recipe to bake in an 8" cake pan.  If you'd like to double the recipe and bake in a bundt pan as Suzanne does, use 3 whole eggs.
- Note that the baking soda is added to the molasses and beer rather than sifted with the dry ingredients.
- Use natural cocoa powder rather than dutched.
- The recipe doesn't include salt but I added a 1/4 teaspoon to the dry ingredients
- Store cake in an airtight container.

Chocolate Stout Cake
adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin
Serves 8

1 C flour
1/4 C + 2 T cocoa powder
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t cloves
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
[I added 1/4 t salt]
1/2 C Guinness stout
1/2 C molasses
3/4 t baking soda
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 C dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/2 C canola oil

powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease an 8" x 2" round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg [and salt, if using].

Place the beer and molasses in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the baking soda.  The mixture will rise and foam.

In another bowl, whisk the egg, egg yolk and both sugars until thoroughly combined.  Whisk in the oil and then add the beer mixture.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the well.  Whisk slowly just until the ingredients are incorporated.

Pour the batter in the prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out mostly clean when inserted in the middle, about 28 - 30 minutes.  Cool the cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert the cake and remove the parchment.  Invert the cake again and cool completely.  Dust with powdered sugar and serve.


Victoria said...

This really looks wonderful and how perfect for right now!

I actually have a can of chocolate stout in my pantry at home (I'm visiting friends in Atlanta, where, I might add, spring has sprung - daffodils, forsythia, cherry and pear trees galore) so when I get home on Sunday I might try this using that.

The Devil's Food Advocate said...

I am a real fan of Ms. Goin. We had dinner at AOC in Los Angeles last spring when we went to visit our son. As we walked up to the hostess's podium, there she was! Suzanne Goin, in person. She was a real presence that night; I watched as she directed her staff. The dinner was wonderful. Now I have to bake this cake.

pastry studio said...

Victoria, how wonderful to be among all those spring things!! I've never had chocolate stout but it must be perfect for this cake. Maybe you'll get more chocolate notes from it.

DFA, how wonderful to have dinner at AOC!! Suzanne is incredibly elegant and a terrific chef. I'm drooling here!! It's exciting to think of all the great chefs she's training in the process.

Beth said...

That's it, I want this cake with your orange spice ice cream for Easter dinner. Not Easter dinner dessert, Easter Dinner! This looks so good. I love the combination of spice cake and chocolate. Another winner bookmarked for post-Lent.

pastry studio said...

Beth! Oh wow, what a brilliant idea. I think it just might work beautifully. I say, go for it! In any case, you are worthy of whatever you wish for Easter. Which is what it's all about, right?


kelly @ kellybakes said...

What a stunner of a cake! Absolutely gorgeous. I love that this incorporates the bold flavor of molasses too. I've tasted far too many cakes claiming to be chocolate stout that taste more like a slightly off-tasting chocolate cake with no hint of stout.

saturday mike said...

Once again, I came to Pasty Studio looking for something to make for dessert for a St. Patrick's Day dinner of corned beef and cabbage, and landed on this cake!
It was amazing!!! Everyone raved about it. Couldn't have been simpler to put together, either. I agree that salt is needed to bring out all the flavors... and there are a lot! Really complex flaovr profile and with vanilla ice cream, it was about as perfect a dessert as you could ask for.


pastry studio said...

Thank you , Kelly!

saturday mike, your dinner sounds fabulous! So glad you and your guests enjoyed this cake. As you say, so easy and so flavorful.

Cheers to all!!

Bryan said...

I've tried more than a few chocolate stout cakes, with mixed results and everyone making excuses for their imperfect leavening and "rustic" sunken middles. Muh.

Finally! The chemistry here is solid. No sinking. The crumb is moist and great.
As good as it tastes tonight, I bet it'll be even better tomorrow night.

pastry studio said...

Bryan, I agree - this is a super tasty cake with a great crumb and very easy to make. The leavening is perfect even with all the acidic ingredients.