I’m not well versed in food and drink pairings. I understand the basics of wine, but I could not tell you the difference between eating lamb with pinot noir and eating lamb with merlot, except that in both cases lamb is delicious. As for beer, in general I think it goes well with pizza. Light beers with seafood, dark beers with hearty meals, etc. I also know if you want to get completely trashed, please do not try to do so on extremely dark or extremely hoppy beers, unless you do not value your esophagus.
That being said, I don’t often think about what I’m drinking when I eat. Up until my junior year in college it was milk every night with dinner. Then I switched to water (which I never enjoy unless there’s a lot of lemon in it). Now that I am older and much fancier, I occasionally sip a wine or a beer or sparkling water.
I usually don’t like alcohol with desserts or in desserts. I like to keep these experiences separate…and since I feel like I never REALLY enjoy alcohol, I don’t want that fake-enjoyment to impede actual enjoyment.
So here I am, starting a new year trying new things. And boy, am I glad I did. This cake is awesome. I am the not the world’s largest chocolate fan, but even I was pressing up all the stray crumbs on my fingertips.
We used cheap stout in the recipe (O’Hara’s…it was very good still) and saved the good stuff for drinking alongside the cake (Stone Brewing Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout).
Do yourself a favor. Stop all that New Year’s nonsense about eating better. Eat this cake, then drink some nice oatmeal-y stout…or some tea or coffee if you don’t like to mix pleasure with poison. As for the cake, you can thank Deb. I know I do whenever I make any recipe I find on her blog.
Chocolate Stout Cake
from Barrington Brewery published in Bon Apetit, via Smittenkitchen.com
1 cup stout (our fave is Beamish but the store was out…Guinness will do)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
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
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or spray a bundt pan well. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup 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 (I just heated it up in a saucepan…I am not THAT fancy). Drizzle over the top of cooled cake.