Back in October, I was asked to be a judge at the chocolate cake baking competition (“The Great Chocolate Cake-Off’) at Chocolate Unwrapped. We got to try cakes of all varieties and sizes, from simple sponges to elaborate multi-layer creations with intricate decorations.
When it came to judging, taste and texture is what won the judges over, and this particular cake was one of the tastiest of the lot. Pete Favelle spends most of his spare time writing about beer, so it’s hardly surprising his cake also has beer in it.
Pete’s cake was one of the finalists in the Cake-Off, and he’s been generous enough to share his recipe here. You can follow Pete on Twitter for more awesome beery insights.
Pete’s Chocolate & Porter Cake
For the cake:
- 125 grams unsalted butter
- 150 grams caster or granulated sugar
- 100 grams dark muscovado sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 225 grams plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 75 grams good quality very dark chocolate (I used Willie Harcourt-Cooze Venezualan Black 100% Caranero Superior)
- 250 ml porter (I used Fuller’s London Porter)
For the cream:
- 100 ml extra thick double cream
- 4 tablespoons icing sugar
- 3 tablespoons porter
- 10-15 grams grated dark eating chocolate
Cream together the butter and sugar. I am sure you could use a stand or hand mixer but I’ve always done this bit by hand. It’s part of the cake making ritual, right up there with licking the bowl.
Beat in the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour each time.
Put the mixture into a mixer to do the heavy labour. Add in the rest of the flour, the bicarb and the baking powder and turn the machine up to high power for a bit, to mix everything in properly.
In a separate bowl, melt the chocolate.
Once it’s all nicely liquid, mix the dark muscovado sugar into the melted chocolate.
This seems to be the easiest way of evenly distributing the chocolate and breaking down the lumps you inevitably get in dark sugar; it also creates another bowl to lick clean.
Add the chocolate sugar into the main mixture, along with the beer. Crank the machine back up to full power and give it a thorough whisking. It’s tricky to describe quite what you’re looking for – the mixture goes a little lighter in colour, and just gets to this perfect, thick cake batter consistency. Or, if in doubt, just give it a couple of minutes.
Divide the mixture evenly between two greased and lined 8” cake tins, and lick the bowl clean.
Pop the tins into a preheated oven at 170C for roughly 30 minutes. Don’t overcook them; the cakes want to be a little moist.
When you take them out, leave them in the tins for 10 minutes, then put them out on a cooling rack.
Wait for the cakes to be completely cool before messing about with the cream – otherwise the warmth just makes the cream melt and go everywhere.
To make the cream filling, place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until good and thick.
Use two thirds of the cream filling to sandwich the two halves of the cake together, and the remaining third to spread evenly over the top.
Finish off with grated chocolate.