I know my better half pretty well, so when he had a craving for chocolate cake, I knew I could easily pull the old switcharoo, replacing his classic French cake, chocked full of melted dark chocolate and butter, with a new, boozier version. Because while food is my péché mignon*, alcohol is definitely his. Plus, what self-respecting adult wouldn’t be overly excited about a chocolate cake that involves strong, earthy dark beer? Add cream cheese and fermented pear cider-infused frosting, and you’ve got the equivalent of adding sprinkles and chocolate syrup to a five-year-old.
The best part was, I’d completely forgotten this recipe. It was lost in my lengthy to-do list, sandwiched somewhere in between spearmint macarons and pear poundcake with rosemary syrup. I came across it randomly by doing an Evernote search for beer in the hope of finding another lost recipe for beer-braised pork. It was swimming fresh in my memory when Jé mentioned cake. The rest is history.
This cake is rich, but as with most American chocolate cakes, not chocolatey enough for me on its own. Next time I’ll try adding some bakers chocolate to the mix. That’s not to say that we didn’t devour it. The Leffe brune that I added gave the cake a dark, nutty, almost coffee-tinged quality. It was incredibly moist and decadent, and the addition of the sweet, crisp, gooey pear cider frosting made it just about perfect.
Chocolate and dark beer “stout” cake with pear cider-infused cream cheese frosting
Recipe from Food 52 (Snake Bite)
1 C flour
1 C sugar
1/2 C cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 C crème fraiche
1/2 C melted butter
3/4 C dark beer
1 stick butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 C powdered sugar (for a thinner, less sweet frosting)
1/4 C pear cider (alcoholic!)
Preheat your oven to 350°. Butter and flour a standard round spring-form cake pan.
Begin by mixing your dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the egg and sour cream. Slowly whisk in the melted butter and dark beer until frothy. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently to combine. Bake for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack or plate while you make the frosting.
Cream the butter and cream cheese together until creamy and light. Add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time and whisk well. Slowly stir in the pear cider, and put the frosting in the fridge until ready to use.
Before frosting the cake, whisk the frosting well. Drizzle over and place the cake in the fridge for about an hour so the frosting will harden slightly. Take the cake out 20 minutes before serving. Voilà!