27 January was National Chocolate Cake Day, and I am going to go out on a limb and say that it was a U.S.-ian holiday. Well, me being all “abroad” and all, I figured that we shouldn’t be stingy with our holidays.
The Christian Science Monitor had this lovely recipe that it shared, a Mexican Chocolate Fudge Pecan Cake which looks good enough. Perhaps I might give it a try one of these days. It reminded me of the Texas Sheet Cake from my Junior and Senior high school days, the very same one that comforted me in my day of tragic grief. De-lish!
Of course, no celebration of chocolate cake would be complete without this hidden treasure, shared with me by my buddy and former roommate, P’s mom after meeting her at his wedding.
It is a little-known secret that I actually do not like cake. There are very few exceptions and they must be very specific, and not exactly cake-like. One is the Spiced Applesauce cake made by Deb at Smitten Kitchen. I can not believe I have ever loved a cake as much as I have loved this. I eat it for breakfast with a mug of chai tea, because the best part of being a grown-up is that you can eat whatever you want for breakfast. It is most coffee-cake like in its simplicity (but not at all as sweet), and full of applesauce (you really should make the attached applesauce recipe to make the cake), and the icing is very simple. Not pretentious like buttercream.
The second is really good red velvet cake, and that almost always requires ice cream, because I hate dry cake. I prefer it in cupcake form if I can from fancy bakeries, and often without its decor. I am high-brow like that, and only don’t make it because I wind up turning everything red in the process.
The obviously the third is the Texas Sheet Cake, which is practically a brownie, so I am not sure it counts.
But the winner is this treasure.
Guinness chocolate cake. It is like a clear Autumn night under the stars, lying back with the perfect someone and a four pack of Guinness… and chocolate. Maybe your Guinness ball is coated in a rich chocolate ganache, and every time you giggle and take a sip you get the creaminess mixed with that wonder. Or maybe that person, whose relationship with you is ambiguous, has lips coated in chocolate and you chat and sip and laugh and next thing you know you are kissing and looking at stars and holding hands and just enjoying your perfectly creamy beer… OH MY CEILING CAT IT IS PERFECT AND YOU COULD DIE YOU ARE SO DELIGHTED. Or, your lips could anyhow.
So, belatedly, why not share, today, this delightfulness with all of you, because you love me, right?
It also makes great cups.
2 cups stout (such as Guinness) (Screw it, use Guinness)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
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
2 cups whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups 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 1 1/2 teaspoons 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. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.
Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.
Serves about 12