Branching out is important.
Like why don’t I order more seafood when I’m out? I am severely limiting my culinary experiences because of it.
And shouldn’t I just buy fresh flowers for my room now and then to brighten things up a bit? Shouldn’t I? More flowers and seafood sound like a good idea—but I just haven’t. I gotta get on the fresh flower/seafood train (different trains).
Also in the agenda of branching out is exploring more of my home state. I still haven’t seen the world’s largest gator, or gone to dinosaur world, or visited Hemingway’s house. These things I have to do. Among others.
I kept my branching out simple for the week. No 27 ft long gators or seafood or anything. A shame, really. But! I wanted to start putting beer in desserts, and it was time to stop wanting and to start doing. So here we have it! Mini beer cakes for you.
A friend of mine recently finished a batch of home brew stout, and he was generous enough to let me test a bottle of it for my baking endeavors.
I don’t know much/anything about beer- but I do know that this stout was delicious, and it had some interesting flavor profiles at the end of each sip. Most stouts have coffee or chocolate undertones, which is why they are perfect in coffee/chocolatey desserts. Baddabing.
First is the marriage of butter and beer, in a heavy saucepan over low heat until the butter is just melted. Whisk whisk whisk.
In goes chocolate, whisked until smooth and creamy. As you whisk, you can smell the warm stout and chocolate begin to meld. Everything about that is right.
While the chocolate mixture is cooling, we’re gonna mix our dry ingredients and beat together some sour cream and eggs.
Once the sour cream and eggs are blended, stout chocolate mixture is added and blended until just combined.
Dry ingredients are added to the chocolate/egg mixture. The party is just starting.
Check out this quarto mini bundt pan! Pretty slick.
We don’t stop at warm mini beer cakes. Oh no. We get our ganache on like it’s 2013. Cream + chocolate = just that. Ice these bad boys!
I went a little wild with the ganache-ing. Didn’t know when to stop pouring, needed more ganache. It’s just so beautiful and shiny.
Beer is good, especially in these little cakes. I definitely noticed that the chocolate flavor was intensified by the stout, and the cake was moist and rich.
The ganache pairs beautifully with so many desserts. I probably could put ganache on my nachos. It’s so simple, so elegant, yet I feel like I could rub it all over my face. I really think it would make my skin a little softer, a little more radiant.
Make these beer cakes. Eat these beer cakes. You’ll be glad you did.
MINI STOUT CAKES
makes 10 mini cakes or 1 two layer 9 inch cake
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts
FOR THE CAKE:
1 cup stout
2 sticks unsalted butter, diced
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
a little over 1/2 cup sour cream
FOR THE GANACHE:
1 cup heaving whipping cream
1/2 pound (8 ounces) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
MAKE THE CAKES:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 10 mini bundt pans and dust with cocoa powder. If making one 9 inch diameter cake, butter two 9 inch diameter cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, butter the parchment paper, then dust with cocoa powder. Set pans aside.
Bring stout and butter to simmer in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat, whisking to melt butter. Remove from heat and add cocoa, whisking until smooth. Cool to lukewarm.
Whisk together your flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream until blended. Add stout chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat until just combined.
Add flour mixture to stout chocolate mixture and beat for only 10 to 15 seconds on low speed. Using a spatula, gently fold batter until no flour bits remain. Divide batter among pans!
Bake the cakes until a test inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes for the mini cakes, and 25-30 minutes for the 9 inch cakes. Keep a close eye on either size and test every few minutes near the end. A couple minutes can change whether your cake is moist or dry!
Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes, then cutting around sides of the pan to loosen cakes, turn them onto a rack. Cool completely.
MAKE THE GANACHE:
Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat, and add your chopped chocolate. Whisk until melted and smooth. You can pour this over your cake(s) as soon as they are cooled, or refrigerate for an hour or so to let it firm up a bit. It will chill up to more of a thick spreadable consistency rather than a pourable consistency.
Drizzle ganache over your cakes and serve. Trust me on this beer/chocolate combo.