This winter, man. I think for a lot of us we have an extended case of the winter blues. Certainly for my family we are in the throes of an “EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE” state of being. We all have cabin fever. School schedules have been intermittent. The only constants are that we are all here in this house together. The children are cranky and squabbley; I am being crushed under the weight of a house of 5 people who are generating more housework faster than the snow can pile up outside. Or something. Things are getting pretty dire.
This is why it’s time to bring out the big guns of comfort. Extra pj days, an extra cocktail after dinner (and maybe one while cooking), the boxed set of the Full House series. And rich, yummy, densely chocolate cake.
We first came by this recipe as part of a cooking class at The Kitchen Studio in Frederick. We have since made it several times and every time I make it I remind myself that I should make it more often.
While the original recipe calls for Guinness, I use Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout from Flying Dog Brewery. I think this makes a subtle but really delicious improvement.
For ease, I use a spray with flour (like Baker’s Joy) instead of buttering and dusting the pan. I also buy a bag of semisweet chocolate chunks instead of chopping a bar of chocolate.
1-1/4 cups stout (don’t include the foam when measuring)
1/3 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed); more for the pan
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/4 cups butter, softened at room temperature; more for the pan
1-1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
For the glaze: (optional) – (Jess’s note: the glaze is NOT optional)
3/4 cup heavy cream
6 oz. semisweet chocolate
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 10- or 12-cup bundt pan (or twelve 1-cup mini bundt pans) and then lightly coat with sifted cocoa powder. Tap out any excess cocoa. (Or spray with
In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the stout and molasses to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand while preparing the cake batter.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a stand mixer (use the paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, cream the butter in a large bowl on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape the bowl after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour and stout mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Stop the mixer at least one last time to scrape the bowl and then beat at medium speed until the batter is smooth, about 20 seconds. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan (or pans), spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Run a knife through the batter to eliminate any air pockets. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 45 to 50 minutes (about 35 minutes for mini cakes). Set the pan on a rack to cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and remove the pan. Let cool until just barely warm.
Make the glaze:
Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute and then whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Drizzle the barely warm cake with glaze and then let cool to room temperature before serving.