Make an evilly good cake, that's what, one that sits in the fridge among the lowly healthful string cheese and lettuce secure in its own delectableness. I just had to put an extra pound or so of it down into the garbage, as its siren song was all too tempting and I have still plenty of poundage to lose and muscle to build. (And even now I am half envisioning digging it out of the trash. A little vegetable scrap, chicken skin and coffee grinds wouldn't dim Its chocolaty goodness would it? Hahahah! KIDDING! Sort of.) The Guinness adds intensity, moistness and depth to the cake, and although it is certainly possible that the FOUR STICKS OF BUTTER have something to do with the luscious tenderness of the crumb, I contend it is due to the Guinness, that venerable Irish booze.
Chocolate Stout Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Best made the day before you want to eat it.
2 cups Guinness Stout
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper and butter the paper. (Commentary: I used two 9-inch cake pans, buttering the bottoms but leaving out the parchment paper. Mistake--one of the cakes broke apart out of the pan due to the stickiness of its bottom. I think parchment paper is yet another waste of the nation's trees, but in the future I'll at least flour the pans well. Alas, fair cake, I hardly knew ye!)
Bring stout and butter to a simmer in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk till mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to blend.
Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream, then add the stout-cocoa mixture and beat just to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed till combined.
Divide batter equally among prepared pans and put them in the center rack of the oven. Bake for 35 minutes. (More Commentary: If using 9-inch pans as I did, and filling them near to full to boot, you'll need to bake for 50-55 minutes. Make sure cakes are totally baked through.
Transfer cakes to rack and cool 10 minutes; unmold cakes from pan and cool completely.
Then you slather 'em in this:
2 cups whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium or large saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate, whisk till melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, about 2 hours.
Supposedly makes 12 servings unless you are like me and sneak large chunks of it at random and inopportune times, like before breakfast and at one in the morning.