When people say “beauty is on the inside,” I think they’re talking about cake.
Because this cake isn’t the most gorgeous from the outside. Pretty simple, pretty unassuming. But on the inside! Oh, on the inside! Three layers of the delicious chocolate cake sandwiching thick layers of beer chocolate sauce and covered in coffee frosting.
I don’t need to tell you about it, I can just show you.
LOOK AT IT.
I’ve been making some variation of a chocolate stout cake since I was in college. Because the most exciting thing about finally being of legal drinking age was buying booze to bake with. (My desires are very simple.) It’s only taken 4 years, but by golly, I’ve finally nailed it!
In this variation, I used the Sunday Molè Stout from Weyerbacher, an imperial stout with chocolate, coffee, and spice. This recipe ties all of those things together, but another stout like Founder’s Breakfast or Rogue Chocolate would work too. The possibilities are endless!
Ooooh, endless cake. Now there’s an idea.
Chocolate Coffee Stout Cake
(makes 1 9-inch 3-layer cake)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 oz. semisweet baking chocolate, finely chopped
3 ½ cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ cups milk, at room temperature
1 cup good quality stout, such as Weyerbacher Sunday Molè Stout
Beer Chocolate Sauce, recipe here
Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 9-inch round cake pans with baking spray and line with parchment paper, spraying lightly again.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate together. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt, and espresso powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sugar and eggs until pale and thick. Pour in the cooled chocolate and butter mixture, stirring to combine. Stir in the vanilla extract and sour cream, scraping the bowl as necessary.
Working in three batches, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk and beer (So it should go flour, milk, flour, beer, flour). Scrape the bowl to make sure everything in fully incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for 30 -35 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly touched and tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove to rack and allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.
While the cake cools, make the frosting.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ 8-oz. block cream cheese, at room temperature
1 2-pound bag of powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extrac
2 tsp. espresso powder
pinch of salt
¼ cup milk
Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl and add almost all of the powdered sugar (reserve about 2 cups), vanilla, espresso powder, and salt, and slowly begin to combine. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. (I like my frosting to be thick enough that if I swipe a spoon or spatula through it, it stays put.) If necessary, add reserved powdered sugar or more milk until you’re happy!
Once cake is cooled, slice off any uneven tops to leave you with three level layers. Fill a piping bag with prepared frosting. Place one layer on a cake board and pipe a large ring of icing around the edge. Cover inside of ring with a thin layer of frosting and the fill with the beer chocolate sauce. Top with another layer of cake and repeat process.
To crumb coat the cake: Place the third cake on top and cover in a generous portion of frosting, pushing over the sides to thinly cover the entire cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so frosting sets.
Cover the cake in whatever frosting remains. Place back in fridge, removing at least 30 minutes before serving. Can be stored for up to three days.
Alternately, you can bake and freeze the layers – simply wrap tightly in plastic wrap before cool and defrost and frost (ha!) when ready.