Friday, January 6, 2012

It's What's on the Inside That Counts...

Like I mentioned yesterday, wedding craziness has died down, but I wanted to share some moments and a fabulous cake recipe!

Copyright Inlux Photo
Dave and I got married the day before Halloween, on a sunny, crisp Sunday in Cleveland.  I'm so glad the weather cooperated, although if you look closely in all our pictures you can tell I'm freezing my butt off!  I can't say enough about our photographers, Inlux photo, from Canton, Ohio.  They were phenomenal- Jarred and Heather, we loved having you!   Dave and I are enjoying happily looking at the pictures while snuggling on the couch.

The main point of this post (as much as I love showing off our cuteness), is to tell you the story of our wedding cake.  The recipe originally came from Deb over at Smitten Kitchen.  For those of you who don't know, Dave is a little bit obsessed with beer- Like, beer-bottles-are-taking-over-our-dining-room-table-because-we've-run-out-of-shelf-space obsessed with beer.  And, I'm fine with this.  I even encourage it by searching out beer themed cooking projects, enter Deb's chocolate stout cake.

I made this cake first for Dave's 30th birthday, not suspecting the can of worms I was opening.  Deb warns that this cake is amazing, but rest assured this is the best chocolate cake you will EVER make.  The secret, of course, is the chocolate stout, because anything boozy and cakey can't be bad, and there is some magic that happens to the moistness of cake when you bake with alcohol.  Over the last year and a half, I've made the cake six times, mostly as presents because I can't be held responsible if the cake is in my kitchen one day and half of it is in my stomach the next.  I've even premade this cake and frozen it, so that's always a good thing (you just have to wait to drizzle on the ganache until it thaws).

When it came down to choosing our wedding cake, we knew there really was only one option.  For a second I entertained the thought of just making it ourselves, but because our wedding was Kosher, that was a no-go since our rental kitchen is not up to the caterer's Kashrut standards.  In the end, we supplied the caterer with the recipe (with substitutions to make it parave, sans dairy, since we were having a meat wedding), and after much moaning and groaning about not being able to find the ingredients (because that's what Kosher caterers in Cleveland do if you deviate from their menus...), we had success.  My original recipe calls for chocolate stout, which I think gives it a deeper chocolatey flavor than just plain Guinness (our best results have been with Rogue's Chocolate Stout and Southern Tier's Choklat).  Here are some pictures of our cake (and the tie in to the title of this blog post, since it appears that an industrious batch of kindergarteners helped decorate our cake with cookie cutter fall leaves...).  It may not have looked like we imagined, but it sure tasted incredible!

Copyright Inlux Photo
Copyright Inlux photo

Chocolate Stout Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who originally adapted from Barrington Brewery in Great Barrington, MA via Bon Appetit

Deb says that the recipe was originally for a 3 layer 8" round cake, but I took her advice and halved it, and it works beautifully as a bundt drizzled with ganache.  The bottom of the cake before you turn it out of the bundt pan is the best part to pick at as it's cooling.

1 cup chocolate stout like Southern Tier's Choklat or Rogue's Chocolate Stout (to make parave, use Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (for parave, margarine)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghirardelli)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream (for parave, I used Tofutti)
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons heavy cream (for parave, soy milk)
3/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Cake prep:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or spray a bundt pan well! Bring 1 cup stout and the butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cake to rack; cool completely in the pan, then turn cake out onto rack for drizzling ganache.*

For the ganache, melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over the top of cooled cake.

*A note on the parave version:  It still tastes pretty awesome, but at some point, find an excuse to make the full fat dairy version just for comparison.  It'll blow your mind.

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