Sweet + Salty Chocolate Stout Cake

Dave turned 32 this weekend and to celebrate we hosted our friends for a craft beer + brats themed party. I wanted to incorporate beer into the cake as well and found a great recipe from Beth Cakes that incorporated beer in two different ways that allowed me to make several of the ingredients ahead of time which was helpful since there was a lot to do in preparation for the party. I made the cake layers the night before and allowed them to cool before storing them in the fridge overnight. I made the caramel on Saturday morning and allowed it to cool for a few hours before finishing up the cakes a few hours before the party. Yes, cakes. I made two for the party since we had so many people attending -- I made the cakes separately but then doubled the caramel and frosting portion of the recipe. Overall -- this cake was a hit. The chocolate flavor was rich and had several layers of flavor due to the chocolate stout cake and the chocolate buttercream frosting.

Recipe from Beth Cakes.

Chocolate Stout Cake
-1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
-3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-2 cups sugar
-2 large eggs
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 (12-oz) bottle stout beer, need 1 cup

Beer Caramel
-1/4 cups sugar
-6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
-1/2 cup stout beer

Chocolate Frosting
-1 cup butter, softened
-1 (8-oz) block shortening 
-1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-4 cups powdered sugar

-Shaved chocolate/chocolate curls
-1 cup pretzel crumbs
-Whole mini pretzels

Chocolate Stout Cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray two 8-inch cake pans with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Combine the sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until just combined. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the stout. Mix until just combined. Repeat with the rest of the flour mixture and stout.

Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans and bake for 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake layer comes out clean.

Let cakes cool in pans for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Beer Caramel
Heat the sugar in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat; stir constantly as the sugar begins to form small clumps. Continue stirring as sugar melts and turns golden brown.

Once the sugar is completely melted gradually add the butter while continuously stirring. The caramel will start to bubble but keep adding the butter and stirring. Next, add the beer and stir continuously for an additional minute. Remove from the heat and allow the caramel to cool completely.

Chocolate Frosting
Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and cream the butter on medium speed. Add the shortening. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla; mix until completely incorporated. Then add half of the powdered sugar; mix on low speed until just combined, and then medium-high speed until completely combined. Repeat with remaining powdered sugar.

Finished Cake
Place one cooled cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Pipe a ring of frosting around the outside edge of the cake layer and then add caramel and a layer of pretzel crumbs. Stack the second cake layer on the second and cover the entire cake with chocolate frosting. Drizzle the caramel over the top of the cake and top with more crushed pretzels.



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