It’s late in the afternoon as I sit in my mountain home absorbing what remains of today’s warm afternoon glow through timber framed windows. With a tree shrouded view of Sugarloaf on the horizon line and a Scratch bagel in hand, I reflect back on my week filled with friends, Hamilton the soundtrack on repeat, drunken History and of course chocolate cake. I spent this past week visiting college roommates and friends in one of my favorite coastal towns, Damariscotta Maine.
Maine’s coastline is hands down one of my favorite places to explore, buzzing with local activity from small retail shops, quaint coffee hubs, and of course an over abundance of breweries. Driving up (or down) the coast is reminiscent of cruising through the Beer aisle in a grocery store: you have Bissell Brothers, Rising Tide, Allagash and Bunker in Portland, Oxbow in Newcastle, Maine Beer co. in Freeport, Marshall Wharf Brewing co. in Belfast and even Monhegan Brewing co. located 12 miles out to sea. As great as all of these guys are, I chose to spotlight Penobscot Bay Brewery located in Winterport, Maine.
With images of chocolate cake consuming my brain for a few weeks now, I have been diligently searching for the perfect stout to formulate a recipe with. I wanted something rich, smooth and full bodied with a prominent taste of chocolate, not your average run of the mill stout. When I happened upon “Brownie” downtown in a local market, I knew right away that this was the exact beer that I have been looking for.
Brownie is a chocolate milk stout, Penobscot Bay Breweries newest release and winter special. I feel lucky to have stumbled upon it, as it truly is delicious. I personally am not much of a stout drinker, preferring hoppy IPA’s and light colored brews over the darker ones, but this might just be a game changer for me. Needles to say, this Beer did not last long as I found myself sipping away at what remained after pulling what I needed for my recipe.
The brewers recommend pairing this stout with chilli, Mexican mole, and chocolate chip cookies; tried and true cold winter comfort food. I really like their suggestions, but my theory is why pair your desserts with beer, when you can bake an amazing dessert with it?
Anyway, check out my recipe and give it a whirl! You honestly won’t be disappointed. I even thought it tasted better the next day after letting it sit in the fridge over night.
Kelsey’s Dark Chocolate Stout Cake
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 cup of Ghirardelli Dark Cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup milk, room temperature
- 1 cup Stout – I used “Brownie” from Penobscot Bay Brewery
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Start by greasing your cake pans with butter, and then coating with a thin layer of flour, to assure that your cake will not stick to the sides. Place pans to the side in a cool spot for later.
Next combine dry ingredients by sifting and mixing together your flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together your sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk and lastly the vegetable oil. Once these items are well combined slowly add your beer.
Gradually add the liquid batter to your dry ingredients and whisk until a smooth spreadable batter in formed. Do not over whisk, as that will only make your cake tough.
Separate your batter between two pans, and gently tap them on the counter to push all air bubbles out of the batter and to the top of the pan. I usually place a towel on the counter first to soften the blow.
Bake both pans at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, checking the center with a toothpick for dryness. Allow both of these cakes to cool before frosting. See recipe below!
Chocolate Stout Frosting
- 1/2 cup Stout, room temperature
- 1 cups heavy cream, room temperature
- 1/2 cup melted dark chocolate chips
- 1 stick of butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tbs. dark cocoa powder
Start off by beating together your butter and heavy cream till a smooth cream is made. Next mix in your stout, and dark chocolate. Add your powdered sugar and cocoa powder one at a time and whip until a smooth frosting is made. You may have to add more powdered sugar or cocoa powder if your frosting is loose.
Let frosting sit in the fridge for at least half an hour to stiffen, before smoothing on top of cooled cakes.