I know we’re a couple days from the official St. Patrick’s Day. But I also know that this is the day when most will be celebrating. Which has me thinking of my grandma. My grandmother—her given name being Patricia Irene O’Connell—is, needless to say, Irish. Having married a Swede and settled among a bastion of Scandinavians in Northern Minnesota, she considers St. Patrick’s Day to be her holiday. And, year in and year out, my grandpa indulges her by cooking up a corned beef and cabbage feast when the mid-March holiday rolls around.
And while my own St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have never gone quite as far as corned beef & cabbage, they have been known to involve the occasional beer. And what’s a more St. Patrick’s Day-appropriate beer than Guinness? But, have you tried Guinness—or any stout for that matter—when it’s dallying around in dessert garb?
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
If not, you should. A quick Web search will reveal that recipes for chocolate stout cakes abound. The one that struck my fancy was a Suzanne Goin recipe featured in The Boston Globe. With its melange of spices—nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon—and its use of molasses, sour cream and eggs (4!), I suspected the recipe would yield a moist, rich and incredibly flavorful cake. You know what? I was right. I took the liberty of using the batter to create cupcakes (12 standard size and 24 minis), rather than a bundt cake. And I slathered the tops of my domed cupcakes with Nigella Lawson’s cream cheese frosting, which she uses to top her own Guinness cake. So, Grandma, while I can’t go as far as corned beef & cabbage for you, I raise this, um, beer cupcake to you today!
Chocolate Stout Cake
Suzanne Goin via The Boston Globe
Butter (for the pan)
2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
Set the oven at 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch Bundt pan.*
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
In a large saucepan, combine the stout and molasses. Whisk them over medium-high heat until they come to a boil. Remove from the heat, and whisk in baking soda (it will foam dramatically).
In another large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the granulated and brown sugars until well combined. Whisk in the oil, then the molasses mixture.
Slowly pour the molasses mixture into the flour mixture, whisking slowly until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the pan.
Bake the cake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
* As noted in the post, I made cupcakes with the batter. I filled 12 standard size cups and 24 mini cups and had only about 1/4 cup of batter leftover (max). I filled the cups a little more than halfway full and that worked out well.