Baking Recipes, Simple cakes

A simple chocolate and beer celebration cake

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Today is my Mother’s birthday and here I am in Japan with my Dad. I’m feeling kind of guilty about missing her birthday so I thought I’d write a blog post about her plus this cake that reminds me of her a lot– No-frills on the outside, but packing a punch on the inside. Don’t let this cake’s simplicity fool you. It actually has magic powers.

My Mother eats anything that’s chocolate but she is a big fan of fudgy brownies, and the thing with this cake is that it turns into this fudge-like cake once refrigerated. As in if you cut it thin enough it’s a surprising melt-in-your-mouth fudgy. I think it’s even wow-worthy enough to give as a birthday present. You can’t go wrong with a moist chocolate cake. With booze.

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A drunken chocolate cake, with a good drizzle of rich chocolate glaze. Maybe it’s not layered, and maybe I cheated to make it look more spectacular by baking it in a bundt pan. But one bite is all it takes to dispel your doubts. You get what I’m saying?

This Chocolate Stout Cake recipe is incredibly easy. You don’t really need a mixer, but you do need to measure the beer properly, because adding too much might mess with the texture of the cake. You start by cooking the stout beer (I used Guinness) with the butter, which gives the cake this butterbeer undertone beneath all that deep chocolatey flavour. The stout flavour is apparent, and by jove is this cake one of the moistest I have ever eaten! Thanks to the sour cream plus the beer the crumb is absolutely stunning on this cake. We love it even more after refrigerating.

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Booze and baked goods– they go well together don’t they? Booze and chocolate go well together too (classic example: chocolate and orange liqueur), and depending on my experience I have to say that chocolate can exist in perfect harmony with almost any other ingredient. I wish it was the same way with me and my Mom.

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Don’t get me wrong: I am probably my Mom’s number 1 fan. If you knew half the things this lady went through you’d admire her strength and resilience too. But my relationship with my Mom isn’t like those types where my Mom is my best friend. In fact we bicker quite often. Heck I express my annoyance towards her A LOT, but I’ll be the first to defend my Mom from anybody who tries to insult or injure her. Maybe I don’t run to her with my every secret but my Mom is my Mom, you know? Nothing less.

I’ll always credit her first and foremost for all the things I’ve achieved in my life so far. This is the woman who prepared me for the real world one step at a time, starting from the strict tutoring she put me through when I was a child. She instilled in me this discipline I have carried with me until this day. I can honestly say that whatever good work ethic I developed during my formative years I got from her.

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In school I don’t cram. I always pull in extra effort even in classes that are “belittled” for being completely unrelated to our major. I have a reputation among my friends as the girl who writes every paper like it’s a major paper– in the vernacular, kina-career— and I don’t give a damn if that makes me geeky or whatever. She taught me that it’s important to set the bar high for myself, to have a certain standard/expectation for myself.

Anytime I was scared she would always tell me, ‘You’ll never know the outcome until you try.’ One time I almost dropped out of a college class headed by a terror professor who seemed to enjoy intimidating his students. The moment I told her about it, she gave me a pep talk about self-confidence and self-belief. Then she challenged me to prove to the professor that not every student will fall for his tricks. And you know what happened next? I stayed and aced the heck out of that class. The professor ended up not being as evil as we initially thought and he was actually quite friendly outside class. I would later on hear that he would use our group’s paper as a guide for his new batch of students, and use me as an example as to how the reporting should be done.

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Now I’m not telling this story to boast, but it needs to be told because I credit it all to my Mom. This incident will go down in my memory as a classic on how my Mom encourages me to go for things she believes that I can achieve. I know Mothers are supposed to be your personal cheering squad no matter what, but my Mom… She really knows our abilities and limitations. She’d never force me to do anything if she didn’t think I could do it. Graduating from university with medals on my toga was as much a personal accomplishment as it was proof of all the things my Mother taught me to get there.

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I am not perfect. Some days I am absolutely stormy and seized by weird mood swings, but my mother is without a doubt the person who taught me how to be the best version of me– that smart, happy, independent, and open-minded version of myself I like the most.

Chocolate Bundt Cake - A simple chocolate and beer celebration cake
Chocolate Stout Cake
Chocolate Bundt Cake - A simple chocolate and beer celebration cake
Yields 1
A simple and easy chocolate cake spiked with stout beer, then glazed with more chocolate. This is one of the moistest cakes you'll ever have!
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For the cake
  1. ½ cup stout, such as Guinness
  2. ½ cup unsalted butter
  3. ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  4. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  5. 1 cup sugar
  6. ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  7. 3/8 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 large egg
  9. 1/3 cup sour cream
For the chocolate glaze
  1. 3 ounces (85 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
  2. 2 to 3 Tablespoons milk
  3. 3/8 teaspoon instant coffee granules
To make the cake
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and flour a 6-cup bundt pan very well (or use cooking spray with flour).
  2. 2. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, combine the stout and the butter. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until completely dissolved and mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly, about 3 to 5 minutes will do.
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  4. 3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
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  6. 4. In a small bowl, whisk egg and sour cream until well blended. Add the slightly cooled butter-stout mixture to the bowl and beat to combine.
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  8. 5. Add the wet mixture to the flour mix, and using a spatula, fold the dry into the wet until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.
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  10. 6. Transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. 7. Transfer the bundt pan to a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the bundt to help the cake detach from the pan, then turn the cake out on to a wire rack to cool completely. Add the glaze once cake is completely cool.
To make the glaze
  1. 8. Place the chocolate, milk, and instant coffee in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt the chocolate and combine with the other ingredients until smooth. (You can also use the microwave method and heat chocolate in 30-second bursts at 50% power, stirring in between bursts, until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.)
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  3. 9. Drizzle or spoon the glaze over the cooled cake. You can give the glaze some time to harden or just eat right away.
Notes
  1. This super moist cake can be eaten at room temperature, but in our house we like the texture of the cake when it's cold the best.
Adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures blog
The Tummy Train http://thetummytrain.com/
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My Mom deserves so much more recognition than a cake and a blog post, but I wanted to take this opportunity anyway to say that despite my occasional hot-headedness and temper towards her, I hope she knows that she can still lean on me.

Love you, Mom! Happy birthday!

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