I can’t believe that after 5 years of blogging, I’ve never made a chocolate stout cake! This one has been brewing (see what I did there) in my head for a while, and I wasn’t going to let another St. Patty’s Day go by without posting one. It ultimately morphed into this manly creation that I call the Bar Snack Cake. It’s paired with a peanut butter pretzel frosting, and ganache is made with beer rather than cream.
Over the last few years, I’ve developed a taste for stout beer. I’m not really a fan of Guinness, but I do like a good chocolate or coffee stout. Originally, I thought the beer flavor would be subtle and just add some depth of flavor, but you can really taste it in both the cake and the ganache, so use a beer that you like the taste of. I used a coffee stout and thought it paired well with the chocolate.
The cake can be made a few days in advance, but I’d recommend frosting it the day that it is baked to keep the pretzels from getting soggy. If you don’t mind a little extra work, you can swap out the crushed pretzels for malted pretzel crumbs from this Momofuku inspired recipe I posted a couple of years ago.
A couple of weeks ago, I took a poll on Facebook and Instagram, and asked my readers to choose between 3 recipes that they wanted to see on the blog. I results were split pretty evenly 3 ways, so this post is the first of the three. Stay tuned for the next post- a frosting tutorial!
- 1/2 cups (120 ml) stout beer
- 1/2 cup (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
- 1 cup (125 grams) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (if the peanut butter is unsalted)
- 2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream
- 1/3 cup crushed pretzels
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 4 tablespoons stout beer
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- Pretzels and chopped peanuts for topping
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease and line 2 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
- Bring the stout and butter to a simmer in heavy saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
- Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream and egg until smooth.
- Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and whisk to combine.
- Add flour mixture and whisk together until combined.
- Divide batter equally among prepared pans.
- Bake the cakes for 23-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of cakes comes out clean.
- Transfer the cakes to wire rack and cool for about 15 minutes.
- Turn the cakes out onto rack and cool completely.
- With an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the peanut butter and continue beating, about 1 more minute or until combined.
- With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar. Increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and milk and beat until combined.
- Set aside the pretzels until you are ready to assemble the cake.
- Heat the stout in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Once the beer is steaming, remove the sauce pan from the heat and add the chopped chocolate.
- Stir until smooth.
- Add the corn syrup and and stir to combine.
- Set the ganache aside to cool. You can speed up the process by placing it in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes.
- Place one layer of the cake on a cake board or cake stand.
- Put one cup of the peanut butter frosting in a separate bowl and stir in the crushed pretzels (set the rest of the frosting aside to coat the cake and pipe the frosting on top).
- Spread the peanut butter pretzel frosting on the first layer of cake.
- Place the second layer of cake on top.
- Spread a thin layer of peanut butter frosting over the sides and the top of the cake. If you have leftover frosting, put it in a piping bag to pipe on top of the cake.
- Put the cake in the refrigerator while you are preparing the ganache.
- Once the ganache reaches the right consistency, slowly pour it over the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides.
- Put the cake in the fridge to let the ganache set.
- When the ganache has set, pipe the remaining peanut butter frosting on top.
- Top with chopped peanuts and pretzels.
Cake recipe adapted from Epicurious.