Although I may be shattering illusion with this admission, I don’t always cook with beer. I often create very sober meals with teetotaling side dishes, not a whisper of booze in sight.
However, over the years of carving out a niche in this corner of Craft Beer Land, I have found that beer is an essential and non-replaceable ingredient in several dishes, it just does the best job.
My Thanksgiving Turkey will always be brined with a brown ale, the meat tenderizing properties of beer have no match. If you want a juicy bird, it’s the best way to get there.
My dinner rolls will always be made with wheat beer, the leaving agents are just too good.
My steak will always be given a good soak in a dark craft beer, it gives the best results.
And my chocolate cake will always be made with a nice chocolate stout. The first recipe I ever made with beer was a stout cake, it was by far the best homemade chocolate cake I had ever made, wooing me to the boozy side of baking. The taste was both rich and light, smooth and bold. It may have been a gateway recipe that lead me down a path of beer cooking obsession.
- 7 wt oz 72% dark chocolate, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 12 ounces Chocolate Stout
- 3 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs + 2 yolks
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tbs baking powder
- 1 tbs espresso powder
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 cup dark chocolate chips, melted & slightly cooled
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In the top of a double boiler (or a bowl set over gently simmering water), add the dark chocolate, and butter, stirring frequently until just melted. Stir in the chocolate stout.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the sugar, eggs and yolks until well combined, light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the oil and sour cream, beat until well combined.
- Slowly add the chocolate, beating until all ingredients are well incorporated, scraping the bottom to make sure all us well combined.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and kosher salt.
- Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, stir until just combined.
- Grease and flour 3, 9-inch cake pans (or two cake pans, and 12 cupcake tins).
- Pour the batter evenly between the pans.
- Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched, (15-17 minutes for cupcakes).
- Allow to cool, remove from pans (it’s easiest to transfer to a plate lined with parchment paper.)
- To assemble a tall cake it’s easiest if all ingredients are cold, warm cake and frosting tend to slide. For best results chill the cake layers for 1 hour prior to assembling.
- Chill assembled cake until ready to serve.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the softened butter on high until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sour cream, beat until light and fluffy.
- Slowly pour the melted chocolate into the mixer, beating until well combined with the butter mixture.
- Add the powdered sugar and slowly building up speed, beat on high until well combined.
- A few tablespoons at a time add the bourbon and the cream, allowing to fully incorporate before adding more. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Cover bowl and refrigerate until set, about 20-30 minutes.