Chocolate Stout Cake

A Tirrell Family tradition is to welcome in the holiday season with Sam Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale.  It makes its first appearance at Thanksgiving and stays around till the New Year.  It is a welcome and comforting reminder of my dad and his LOVE for the stuff and it puts us all in the “holiday spirit”.  I tend to forget how good it is from year to year, and this season I really had a mind lapse… I was thinking that it was a dark stout that I could use for a cake.  My memory was refreshed with the first pour and while excited to be sipping this old friend again, I was left without a key ingredient for my STOUT CAKE. Luckily, Sam makes an exceptional Oatmeal Stout!!

I made this cake for Thanksgiving.  Our family has many old favorites around the holiday dessert table, including grandma’s Chocolate Cream Pie and mom’s Apple Pie, but I try to make something new to share every year.  I found a recipe for Guinness Cake on the Design Sponge and I fell in love with the pictures of it and decided I had to make it.  It was a HUGE hit and my mom has requested that I make it for Christmas Eve at her house (she only got a little piece to take home at Thanksgiving).  I have also decided to bring it to my staff holiday party.  I have tweaked the original recipe a bit which is reflected below.

This cake is good for any occasion, not too sweet, moist and delicious – even better after it has been refrigerated for a day!!! Enjoy!

Chocolate Stout Cake
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups Oatmeal Stout (or other preferred flavor)
3/4 cup sifted cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tsp. baking soda
1 + 1/5 cups sugar
2 medium eggs
2/3 cup creme fraiche
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
Frosting
1 cup cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup cream
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F.

1. Pour 2 cups of stout into a saucepan and simmer over med/low heat to reduce to 1 cup of liquid.  Takes about 15 minutes (watch carefully it may bubble over).
2. Add butter, cocoa to a saucepan. Continue to warm over a medium heat and stir until melted. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to cool slightly.
3. Whisk eggs, creme fraiche and vanilla together in small bowl.
4. Add flour, baking soda and sugar to a large mixing bowl and mix together well. Pour in the stout/cocoa/butter mixture, lightly combine, add the vanilla, eggs and creme fraiche and beat everything together until well combined. The batter should be thick and dark chocolate in color.
5. Pour into a greased and lined 10″ angel food pan (or another straight-sided tube pan) and cook in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake. Do not leave in the oven until the cake has totally dried out — cook long enough so there is no uncooked cake on the skewer but there may be a few moist crumbs sticking to it after an hour of cooking.
6. Leave to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the cake pan and placing on a wire wrack to cool completely.
To make the frosting

1. Whip cream and vanilla to stiff peaks. Set aside.
1. Place the cream cheese into the bowl of a mixer and beat on a low-medium speed. Beat until the cheese is smooth and there are no big lumps remaining.
2. Gradually, using a large spoon, add in the sifted powdered sugar and beat gently to combine. After 2 to 3 minutes, stop the machine, scrape any excess frosting from the sides of the bowl and beat on medium speed until lump free.
3. Remove bowl from mixer and gently fold in the whipped cream, mixing to fully combine.
4. Place cooled cake on a cake stand and add the frosting, spreading out just to the edge without going over the side

Notes on Oatmeal Stout from Wikipedia :  Oatmeal stouts usually do not specifically taste of oats. The smoothness of oatmeal stouts comes from the high content of proteins, lipids (includes fats and waxes), and gums imparted by the use of oats. The gums increase the viscosity and body adding to the sense of smoothness.

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