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Chocolate Stout Cake

June 18, 2019

Chocolate Stout Cake

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There was a crooked man,

Who walked a crooked mile.

He found a crooked sixpence,

Upon a crooked stile.

He bought a crooked cat,

Who caught a crooked mouse,

And they all lived together in a crooked little house.

That, is the Mother Goose rhyme that inspired the name for one of my favourite breweries, Crooked Mile, in Almonte, Ontario. This brewery happens to be right around the corner from my day job, making it all too easy to fall in love with there delicious brews. And of course make a delicious stout cake too!

A rich, dark and decadent stout cake. Highlighting Crooked Miles Black Dog Stout, and coated in a caramelly brown butter icing

The owners, Nick and Vicki, have created a brewery that is not only welcoming and warm, but quite, cheerful and always full of friendly faces. And of course, delicious beer! Their flagship ales are made in the British style, and they encourage you to slow your life down, appreciate the little things, and whenever you can, take the path less followed.

The perfect stout, for a chocolate stout cake.

This stout cake is a variation on another cake that I made a while ago for a wedding. But this time, I wanted to capture the richness of their Black Dog Stout, and compliment it with some summery flavours.

Stout Flavour

Too often stouts are forgotten in the summer. Considered too heavy or warm. This stout is those things and don’t get me wrong, is delicious on those long winter evenings! But it also has some lighter undertones that I’ve always enjoyed. It has a hint of tartness like blackberries, and slightly sweet caramel flavour like a sweet summer blueberry. Of course it goes wonderfully with chocolate (I recommend the new Colombian chocolate from Hummingbird), and it has some smooth buttery and nutty notes.

Beautiful summer berries

I wanted to highlight those flavours and also bring out some whimsy in honour of Crooked Miles poetic inspiration. The idea of chocolate pebbles actually came because I was on a routine trip to bulk barn, and wanted something to snack on in the car! The pebbles caught my eye and I immediately wanted to use them. Around the bottom of the cake, surrounded by sprinkles and a coloured chocolate glazing, they’re given the effect of pebbles in a stream.

Whimsical chocolate pebbles around the edges of the stout cake

Brown Butter Frosting

Icing on a stout cake needs to be sweet without being overwhelming. It’s all too easy to go overboard on sweetness and lose the underlying flavours. Using salted butter, and browning it first, means you get a simple but elegant sweet savoury flavour. The browning also brings out a nutty taste to match the stout.

Brown Butte Icing

The whole cake has quite a few parts to it, but is well worth the two day process. And it the incredible brews at Crooked Mile have taught me anything, it’s that taking the time and enjoying the process is what it’s all about.

Chocolate Stout Cake

A rich, dark and decadent cake. Highlighting Crooked Miles Black Dog Stout, and coated in a caramelly brown butter icing.
Prep Time1 d
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: black dog stout, brown butter, buttercream, cake, chocolate stout cake, crooked mile brewery, dessert, easy recipes, hummingbirdchocolate, stout cake
Servings: 12 Slices
Author: LizaLeigh

Equipment

  • 8 inch round cake tins x3
  • Electric mixer

Ingredients

Chocolate Stout Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups Cake Flour
  • 1 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsps Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 360 ml Crooked Mile Black Dog Stout
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 1 cup Softened Butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 6 oz Dark Chocolate Chopped

Brown Butter Frosting

  • 1 lb Salted Butter Trust me, use salted butter. it makes all the difference.
  • 5 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 6 tbsps Milk

Hazelnut Praline

  • 2 Cups Skinned Hazelnuts
  • 1.5 Cups Sugar

White Chocolate Drips

  • 1 1/2 Cups White chocolate chips
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • Food colouring gel of your choice Since I wanted mine to look like water flowing around the pebbles at the bottom I went with a deep blue.

Assembly

  • 2 cups Mixed berries
  • 1.5 cups Chocolate pebbles

Instructions

  • It's best to make this cake over the course of two days, to allow the cake to chill completely.

Chocolate Stout Cake

  • Heat your oven to 375F. Line 3 8" round cake pans with parchment paper, and set aside.
  • Start by sifting together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Combine the stout and vanilla in a glass measuring cup. Set aside.
  • In another large bowl, blend together the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending fully between each one. Add the sour cream, and blend until smooth.
  • Begin adding the flour mix and stout mix to the butter, alternating between the wet and dry. Mix well between each addition.
  • Divide the batter between the 3 pans. Bake for about 30-35minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool slightly in the pans. Then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Once room temperature, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight. This makes the cakes much much easier to work with.

Brown Butter Frosting

  • Start by browning the butter. Place the whole pound of butter into a small sauce pan over medium low heat and melt it.
  • Once its fully melted, increase the heat just slightly, until the butter is simmering gently. Allow it to simmer until it has deepened in colour to a rich nutty brown. Stir it occasionally to bring up the bits from the bottom so they don't burn. The whole process can take about 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the brown butter to a glass measuring cup and allow to cool and thicken. This can take the better part of the day, so you can speed it up by putting it in the fridge and stirring it every so often. You don't want it hard, because you still need to whip it into frosting.
  • Once the butter is thickened, add it to a large mixing bowl. Whip it until it gets a bit pale and fluffy.
  • Very slowly, so as not to make a mess, begin adding the powdered sugar. Add one cup at a time, and blend between each. It will begin to get too thick, that when you start adding milk as well, one Tbsp at a time. The result should be a thick but easily spreadable frosting, flecked with little brown butter bits.

Hazelnut Praline

  • Heat the oven to 400F.
  • Spread the hazelnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast in the oven until golden brown. You really want to line the baking sheet with parchment, because you'll be pour hot caramel onto it later.
  • Put the sugar in a small heavy bottomed pot on the stove over medium heat. Allow it to fully melt.
  • Let the sugar cook until it is a deep caramel colour. If you have a candy thermometer, you want it to reach the Hard Crack stage.
  • When the hazelnuts are done, have a wooden spoon at the ready. Very carefully, but quickly, pour the caramel over the hazelnuts, and stir them until they are all coated. The caramel will start to cool fast, so you may not be able to coat all the nuts fully, but that's okay. Spread them as flat as possible and allow them to cool completely. It will look like brittle.
  • Once cooled, Transfer the brittle to a food processor, and pulse a few time until you get coarse praline. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months in the pantry.

White Chocolate Drips

  • Combine the white chocolate and milk in a microwave safe bowl.
  • Heat at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until fully melted and combined. Add in any colours you'd like now.
  • Place in the fridge to cool for several hours. It should be pourable but thick.

Assembly

  • Put a dot of icing on the center of a cake board or serving plate.
  • Lay on the first cake layer. Cover the top of it in a layer of icing, topped with a thin layer of praline. Lay the next cake layer on top and repeat the icing and praline. Top with the final cake layer. Putting the top cake piece on upside down helps make the top of the cake nice and flat.
  • Ice the crumb coat of icing. This means, using only a small amount of the icing, ice a very thin layer all over the cake. This layer of icing catches all the crumbs from the cake and will look messy. Put the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill before continuing.
  • When the crumb coat is nice and cold, ice the final coat, setting aside about a cup of icing. Smooth the top and edges with a bench scraper or pallet knife.
  • Using a piping bag, pipe the last cup of icing around the bottom of the cake to hold your "river rocks" in place. Then arrange the chocolate pebbles all around the bottom. Put the whole cake into the fridge to allow the icing to set fully.
  • Using a spoon, gently spoon the chocolate drip mixture over the top of the cake and push it over the edges to let it drip down into the pebbles. Top the cake with a big mound of berries, and sprinkle the pebbles with glittery sprinkles. (If you want the drizzle to look like glittering water)
  • Chill the whole cake before serving.

If you’re looking for another chocolately treat, check out these Sourdough Brownies!

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