Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake

Just as fast as they went last year, the holidays are upon us again. Although my waistline hates it, my heart gets excited to bake and cook as much as humanly possible over then next few months.

Which means this week, I have been testing recipes so I can bring the perfect dessert to our Thanksgiving feast. When coming up with recipes I like to take classics and add a slight twist, so a macadamia nut pie, instead of pecan, was on my list to try out. I will post the recipe soon.

This past weekend we had some friends over for a laid back night (but also so I could test out my pie recipe on them). Filet, truffle mashed potatoes, rosemary focaccia, and a few stout beers later, we were almost – almost – too full to eat pie. We still ate it though. And I am happy to report that the pie only needs one or two tweaks.

The next morning, waking up full and happy, I realized I had a bit of my stout beer left over. I do not like to waste food, so it was the perfect opportunity to throw a second dessert contestant into the mix. For some reason I could not get the idea of a stout bundt cake out of my head, so I began baking.

An upclose picture of the salted caramle glaze

I used a Dutch process cocoa powder, which is darker than the normal stuff, because I had it leftover from a previous recipe that I tested. Also, the use of cake flour would be perfect to lighten the dense texture of a chocolate bundt cake.

The only issue was deciding on what to top the cake with. Flavor contenders included espresso, caramel, and more chocolate. My husband does not love chocolate cake, so I landed on caramel to ensure that he would like this cake. The last touch, a little salt in the caramel to cut through the very decedent flavors.

This recipe turned out better than I could have imagined, and I didn’t have to change a single thing in the recipe. This may be one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever baked, and I will definitely proudly take it to our festivities on Thursday.

Confession: As soon as the cake was cooled and I snapped a few pictures, I ate a slice for lunch. That is the reason there are so few pictures in this post.

…I ate a second slice after dinner that night.

A slice of chocolate cake with salted caramel on top

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake

A fininished chocolate cake sits next to an empty bowl of caramel glaze

Ingredients

  • 2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cup of Good Stout Beer
  • 3/4 Cup of Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups of Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup of Sour Cream
  • For the Salted Caramel Glaze
  • 5 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1/2 Cup of Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of Stout Beer
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Cup of Powdered Sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare your bundt cake pan by greasing it then coating it in cocoa powder. Be sure to shake out any excess cocoa powder. Set the pan aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt your butter.
  4. Once the butter is melted, remove your butter from the heat and whisky in your stout beer, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder. Set the mixture aside to cool.
  5. In another bowl, sift together your sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda.
  6. Starting with your dry mixture, whisk in 1/3 of the mixture into your cooled butter mixture. Whisk until fully combined.
  7. Next whisk in one egg, followed by the next 1/3 of your dry mixture. Mixing until combined. Whisk in your sour cream, then the last portion of your dry mixture, and finally your last egg. Mix until well combined.
  8. Pour your batter into your prepared cake pan.
  9. Bake the cake on middle rack for approximately 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Let the cake cool on the counter for at least one hour before glazing.
  11. While cake cools, prepare your glaze.
  12. In a small sauce pan, combine your brown sugar, butter, cream, and salt.
  13. Cook mixture over medium heat until it reaches a boil.
  14. Once at a boil cook the mixture for an additional 3 minutes, stirring constantly. You want to make sure all of the brown sugar cooks into the butter, so you do not have a grainy caramel.
  15. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
  16. Once cooled, sift in your powdered sugar then whisk in your stout beer. You want the mixture to be thick yet pourable. You can add more powdered sugar if needed.
  17. Once the cake is completely cooled and removed from the pan, pour your glaze over the top of the cake.
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Pistachio Peanut Brittle + Cracked Black Pepper

Pistachio Peanut Brittle + Cracked Black Pepper

When you think of brittle, you think peanut. But, in my opinion, there is another crunchy, salty treat that far exceeds the peanut: the pistachio. What most people don’t think of when they dream of a perfectly roasted pistachio is cracked black pepper. Let me tell you, the flavor combination of the two is delightful.

This all came about a few nights ago when my husband and I had a friend (who just so happens to be the chef/owner of a tasty local eatery) over for dinner. Of course, whatever I cooked had to be unique and perfect. He usually doesn’t make dessert, so the challenge to make something balanced but sweet was upon me. Lately I have been obsessed with pistachios, so naturally I wanted to incorporate them into the dessert course. I had already settled on making ice cream, so I could wow our chef buddy with my ability to make a créme anglaise.

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A brittle will compliment anything, but I didn’t want just any old brittle. My recent obsession instantly brought me to the substitution of pistachios, but still I felt like it wasn’t enough. I considered making a peppercorn ice cream to compliment the brittle but remembered how yummy black pepper tastes on pistachios.  I figured it was worth a shot to crack some black pepper and throw it into my candy mixture. If it didn’t work, I had ice cream to fall back on.

The addition of dark chocolate came later, which was a consequence of my general opinion that dark chocolate makes everything taste better. If you don’t share my adoration for dark chocolate, the brittle is just as lovely without it. You can expect a bigger punch from the pepper if you forego the chocolate layer.

I hope you enjoy the brittle and the process to make it as much as I have. If anything, you will have a very unique gift to put among the sea of red velvet treats at your holiday parties this season!

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Cracked Black Pepper Pistachio Brittle with Dark Chocolate:

Tools:

  • Candy Thermometer
  • Parchment Paper
  • Double Boiler
  • Cookie Cooling Rack
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Rolling-pin
  • Saucepan

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of light corn syrup
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper corns
  • 1 cup of shelled pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 3/4 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt
  • 6 oz of good dark chocolate

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Directions for the Brittle:

Combine first three ingredients into your saucepan and place over medium heat. While the candy mixture begins to cook, you can prep your other ingredients. Don’t worry about leaving this alone for a few minutes because it takes some time to get up to the needed temperature. The final temperature will be 280 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the peppercorns in a zip lock baggie, seal it,  then crack them with your rolling-pin. Roughly chop your pistachios and mix with the peppercorns.

Tear a good sized piece of parchment paper and place on your counter or a sheet pan. Spray the parchment paper with cooking oil, this prevents the brittle from sticking after it cools.

Coming back to your candy mixture, it should be close to boiling if it has not already started to boil by, so stick your candy thermometer into the mixture to watch the temperature. Once the candy reaches 270 degrees, add in your butter, pistachios, and black pepper. The candy will initially seize but will loosen up if you leave it on the heat and continue to stir.

Note: I do not add the pistachios any earlier because they will burn and taste bitter.

Once the candy has loosened up, it is time to add in the baking soda. Be warned, for those who have never made brittle before, this creates a chemical reaction where the acid in the sugar mixture reacts with the alkaline baking soda, releasing carbon dioxide and making the brittle porous. Once you add the baking soda, you have to quickly stir to incorporate it all. By the time you’ve completely incorporated the baking soda, the temperature should be at 280 degrees. Pour it out onto your parchment paper. Spread it out as thin as possible with your spatula, and sprinkle on the sea salt.

The brittle needs to cool completely before you can add the dark chocolate. I flip it over onto the cookie rack (so you can coat the back of the brittle) and let in cool on the counter.

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Chocolate:

Now you’re going to have to temper the chocolate. If you’ve never tempered chocolate before, don’t be intimidated. It’s not as difficult as it sounds.

Set up your double boiler over medium heat. Once the water comes up to temperature and is boiling on medium heat, add in 2/3 of the chocolate to the mixing bowl on top of the double boiler. Constantly stir until the chocolate has fully melted. You will need to bring the chocolate, because it is dark, up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it is at the right temperature, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate. Mix until it has fully melted and has cooled to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour over the back of the brittle, and let the chocolate fully set before you snap the brittle into pieces.

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