My friend Veda and I made a birthday cake for her dad. I wanted to make a "dad-approved" cake; something manly, rich, and festive. The kind of cake that can be eaten in a La-Z-Boy with a cold beer.
Needless to say, her dad loved the cake. He wasn't allowed to cut the cake until his actual birthday... but the cupcakes were gone long before that!
Yield: One 9-inch round two-layer cake
1 1/2 cups stout or dark beer
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup sifted dutch-process cocoa powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round pans (2″ deep), line bottoms with parchment paper circles, then grease circles, dust with flour and tap out excess. Set aside.
2. Place the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan and heat on medium heat until the butter melts, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the sifted cocoa powder until smooth. Pour into a large heatproof measuring cup or bowl and let cool.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until well combined, about 3 minutes.
5. Add the cooled cocoa mixture, and mix on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute.
6. Add the dry ingredients slowly and combine on low-speed until blended, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of bowl, and then mix for another minute.
7. Divide batter into prepared pans evenly. If possible, weigh the pans and batter with a kitchen scale for accuracy and even layers. If you do, each pan of batter should weigh ~1 kg/2.2 lbs. Place cake pans on middle oven rack side-by-side, but about 2″ apart and bake until toothpick inserted into center comes clean, about 35 minutes.
8. Let cakes cool on wire racks for ~10 minutes, loosen edges with knife or small palette knife, then gently remove from pans to cool completely.
Recipe for my favorite cream cheese frosting here.