Cooking with Beer: Barrington Brewery Chocolate Stout Cake

Chocolate Stout Bridal Shower CakeI was charged with making a cake for my sister’s wedding shower.  No small feat. So I decided to use my favorite cake recipe – a St. Patricks day classic.

St. Patricks day is not known for being predicated on excellent beer.  But for me, it’s about excellent cake.  Every year, I make the Chocolate Stout Cake from Barrington Brewery in honor of St. Patricks day.  Then comes the tricky part, smuggling it in to whatever bar my friends are drinking at.  Luckily this recipe makes such a large and decadent cake that there is plenty left to bribe the waitstaff with.  Seriously.  This thing will feed 15 people easily.

The flavor… there are no words to do it justice.  Heavy, rich, chocolatey – the lovely bitter chocolates you would expect from a stout cake.  There’s sour cream to keep it rich and moist.  Theres butter – whole pound of it.  But choosing the correct beer for this cake is where the skill lies.

It’s widely accepted that coffee flavors help to amplify and bring out chocolate in most any culinary situation.  After trying this cake with many many different stouts, I can categorically say that this holds true when choosing a beer for this cake.  Made with a standard issue stout, It’s entirely passable.  With a chocolate stout it can become a bit too sweet.  Coffee stouts, now that’s where it’s at!  Don’t be upset, and save your hate for after you’ve tasted this, because I’m about to list my top 4 beers for this cake.  Some of you may feel that baking with these is a “waste.”   You couldn’t be more wrong:

Founders Brewing Company Breakfast Stout:  Relatively easy to find, my standard go-to for this recipe.  I use this one so often that my mother calls it “the cake beer.”

Sixpoint Brewing Company Three Beans:  This would be my go-to if only it were more readily available.  The super strong coffee notes are exactly what is needed to balance this chocolate bomb of a cake.

Founders Brewing Company Kentucky Breakfast Stout:  Yep.  KBS in a cake.  Amplifies all of the flavors and certainly ups the sweetness factor a tiny hint, but the value of the added bourbon notes can’t be overlooked!  Only thing that could make this better would be….

Founders Brewing Company Canadian Breakfast Stout:  See above.  Add a hint of maple.  And die happy.

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