I have been a bit slack writing blog posts of late. I kept at it with the cakes though, but making two a week started to seem a bit pointless since there’s no-one much around to share them with. I am also acutely conscious that while lockdown is a total drag, I’m one of the lucky ones. I have work, and I can do that work from home. I have access to high quality food. I live close to green spaces for walking and running in. There is ample space in the house for work, and for school, and for play. I’ve struggled with some of the writers on the internet exhorting us to embrace this slower pace, to feel the joy that comes from kneading sourdough or from walking round the block, to live more mindfully and minimally. I’ve struggled with this because these statements can gloss over, or at worst, dismiss, the grim reality of the lockdown for many people. If you’re working at the supermarket and putting yourself at risk every day for a low wage, or if you’ve got several generations of your family living with you in a two or three bedroomed house, or if you or your loved ones are unwell or disabled, or if you have been made redundant, or if being at home puts you in danger, you’re possibly not wanting to celebrate this new state of “slowed down”. These people are in my mind. I’d like to think they’re in yours too, and I’d like to encourage those of you who can to make a donation to your local foodbank, refuge, or homeless shelter.
Anyway, on to the cake. I had been thinking of making this one for a while, but hadn’t got around to it. One of my friends bought me the cake book when I said I was giving myself this challenge. Chocolate and beer seem like both a good and a weird combo, but then I thought about all those fancy chocolate porters in craft beer land, and I was sold.
I don’t like Guinness. I don’t like dark beer at all really. What this means is that there were several cans of dark beer in the fridge, because they’re always lurking in mixed boxes, or people leave them behind at parties. I wasn’t going to go and buy beer I don’t like when there was a substitute to hand, so away I went with the Garage Project Cereal Milk Stout. Which was actually pretty nice – I had a couple of test sips. Much nicer than Guinness. I’ll probably drink the whole can next time someone leaves one of those behind. Big shout out to Garage Project actually, their beers are adventurous and delicious. You guys are great!
The cake was easy as. The batter was delicious. I think I’ve already shared my views regarding white chocolate. Needless to say, I did not make white chocolate frosting. I made a much more delicious dark chocolate and stout ganache. I experimented a bit – about half a cup each of chocolate and beer, which I heated until nearly boiling, and then into that I stirred about 200g of chopped dark chocolate. (Ancient dark chocolate that was at the back of the cupboard).
I liked this cake. It was dense and dark and malty. The ganache was to die for and I’d make a dark chocolate beer ganache for a different cake. The cake didn’t get too dry as time passed, and it sliced beautifully. Possibly a waste of fancy beer? Possibly an insult to people who like Guinness? Possibly. This isn’t the place for such arguments.
- Deliciousness : A very satisfying dark chocolate cake with an interesting malt flavour hiding underneath. Basic chocolate cake with a twist.
- Recipe complexity: This was easy. Cream the butter and sugar, add the dry and the wet ingredients, bake. Make ganache and leave it until its set to the right consistency.
- Availability/price of ingredients: Its all pretty basic except for the beer. And you could use any dark beer, it really wouldn’t matter. Just save some to use in the ganache.
- Similarity of final cake to picture/description: No similarity at all because I didn’t make white chocolate frosting.
- Would I bake it again? Yes. A great birthday cake for a beer lover.