Lemon Thyme and Ginger

Taste of Ireland: Chocolate Stout Cake

There is no occasion too ordinary that does not deserve recognition and celebration. For any reason, be it a birthday, anniversary, honor your national heritage, a promotion, or simply because the whole family is together, a celebratory acknowledgement is welcome and cake is the perfect finale.

Chocolate Stout Cake recipe

If you are partial to chocolate cake, then chocolate stout cake is a terrific stand in. This is a very moist cake with deep dark chocolate flavor. Guinness Stout enriches the chocolate without any boozy aftertaste. Adding the Guinness to the cake makes a moist cake with deep malty and dark chocolate flavor. The extra bonuses are, it is simple to make, baked in one pan, and does not require fancy cake decorating skills. Chocolate Stout Cake is perfect in its simplicity as well as flavor.

Chocolate Stout Cake recipe

I believe chocolate stout cake would taste delicious by itself without frosting, or just simply topped with whipped cream. Yet, it is nice to give cake more pizzazz and a creamy rich frosting will compliment the dark chocolate. Also, adding white frosting creates a cake that resembles a pint of stout. Many recipes frost chocolate stout cake with dark chocolate ganache, or cream cheese frosting. Fortunately, I discovered one made with white chocolate and cream cheese frosting and that sealed the deal for me. Normally, cream cheese frosting does not excite me, but add some white chocolate to it, I just knew it would be spectacular.

Chocolate Stout Cake recipe

Baking with stout is not a novel idea. According to Anne Byrn in her book American Cake, people across the globe have baked with ale, porters and cider for ages. Centuries ago people used to make their own ale or cider. This common ingredient was often included in baked goods to keep cakes moist and add extra flavor. During that time, cakes were cooked inside a cast iron pot with a lid and placed directly on top the hot embers of the home fire. These were not like the delicate cakes that we now know and love, but hearty ones with preserved and fermented ingredients.

Traditional Irish Stout Cake is more like a spice cake with raisins and citrus. The origin of this type of cake could date back several hundred years. I am not sure when chocolate stout cake became popular in Ireland, or the US, yet I believe it was an inevitable pairing. Chocolate and stout are perfect mates.

Chocolate Stout Cake recipe

My recipe for Chocolate Stout Cake is a combination of three recipes. From my research, I discovered Chocolate Stout Cake is not for the faint at heart. One recipe I found uses a pound of butter for one cake. That is more like a pound cake with all that butter.  I was hoping for something not so heavy, and kept searching for a “lighter” version. Nigella Lawson’s recipe from the New York Times came through. Her recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cake uses only 10 tablespoons of butter, and another bonus includes 1 cup of Guinness. The other recipes I found used a half cup of stout. This was an easy decision to make, less butter… more stout. I believe that is a fair trade.

I was thrilled when I discovered Donal Skehan’s recipe for White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. His Chocolate Guinness Cake recipe is like the other ones I researched, but his idea of adding white chocolate to the cream cheese frosting is brilliant. The past few times I made frosting with white chocolate has been nothing but extraordinary.

Chocolate Stout Cake recipe

Additionally, I discovered a recipe for stout simple syrup from Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith. I added chili powder to the syrup then drizzled it over the frosting. I thought the stout syrup would resemble the amber stout making its way up through the white foam in a pint. Honestly, I could drizzle this stuff on anything. Right now, I am wondering how it would work in whipped cream, ice cream, or espresso martinis.

More food ideas for Saint Patrick’s Day: how about a cheese and beer tasting with Irish cheese or Crispy Potato Skins

I am sure there are many potential adaptations for my pieced together cake. Most recipes for Stout cake select Guinness as the stout of choice. Fortunately, there are so many stouts to choose from, why not have some fun with it? I may try a stout from a local microbrewery the next time I make Chocolate Stout Cake.

Chocolate Stout Cake recipe

Chocolate Stout Cake is a perfect cake to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Yet, it is too delicious to serve only once a year. I know I will want to make it for any time good cheer is on the menu.

Chocolate Stout Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

10 slices

Chocolate Stout Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Next time you are in the mood for chocolate cake, Chocolate Stout Cake will give you that chocolate flavor you crave. The addition of Guinness stout makes this delicious chocolate stout cake very moist with some extra lift. The stout makes the chocolate richer without a boozy taste. The white chocolate cream cheese frosting is a delicious compliment to the dark chocolate cake. A luscious double chocolate treat.

This recipe is from three recipes: Cake from Nigella Lawson's, Chocolate Guinness Cake via the New York Times. The white chocolate cream cheese frosting is from Chocolate Guinness Cake by Donal Skehan. The Stout Syrup is from Stout Float by Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith from the Food Network.

Ingredients

  • Chocolate Stout Cake
  • 1 cup / 8oz / 250ml Guinness Stout, or your favorite stout
  • 10 Tbs / 5oz / 132g of unsalted butter plus more for greasing the pan
  • 3/4 cup / 2 ½ oz / 70g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups / 1 lb / 450g sugar
  • 2 cups / 10oz / 291g all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup / 6oz / 200ml sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tb vanilla extract
    White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 7 oz / 200g good quality white chocolate, 30% cocoa butter
  • 4 oz / 125g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1- 225g package cream cheese
  • 1½ cups / 225g confectioners sugar
    Stout Syrup (optional)
  • 1 cup / 225g granulated sugar
  • 1-12 oz / 355 ml bottle Guinness Stout

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 inch / 23cm springform pan. Add a parchment paper liner to the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sauce pan add the butter and stout. Turn the heat to medium low and stir occasionally until the butter has melted. Once the butter is melted, remove from the heat and add the sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk together until well combined. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add the flour and baking soda and whisk together to get the baking soda evenly mixed through. Make a well in the flour and add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture, the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Mix together until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 45 min - 1 hr, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Place on a wire rack and cool the cake in the pan.
    Stout Syrup (optional)
  1. If using make the stout syrup while the cake is baking.
  2. Pour the stout and sugar in a medium saucepan and turn the heat up to medium high. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat then simmer the liquid until it becomes thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes or more. Let the syrup cool before using.
    White chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. As soon as it is melted remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or large mixing bowl with a hand held mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and light. This will take awhile. Periodically stop beating and scrape down the sides of the bowl so it mixes evenly.
  3. Add the cooled white chocolate to the cream cheese and butter, and mix together at medium speed.
  4. Sift the confectioners sugar, then gradually add it into the white chocolate and cream cheese. Mix on low speed between each addition of confectioners sugar. Once all the confectioners sugar is added, beat the frosting until smooth.
    Putting it all together
  1. Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Release the latch from the springform pan and lift the rim away from the cake. Loosen the bottom of the cake from the pan with an icing spatula or knife, then remove the bottom of the pan. Holding the cake upside down, carefully peel off the parchment paper. Place the cake on a serving plate.
  2. Spread the frosting across the top of the cake. The cake will look like a pint of stout with the dark bottom and the white cloudy top.
  3. (optional) Drizzle the stout syrup randomly across the top of the frosting on the cake. Swirl a knife through the stout syrup drizzle to create a random pattern.
  4. Serve and enjoy. The cake tastes best at room temperature and eaten the day it is made.
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© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme

Chocolate, Dessert, Recent Posts | February 9, 2017 | By

In the gentle quiet I hear, “Love and happiness… Yeahhhh. Something, make you want to do wrong. Make you do right. Yeahhhh. Loooooooove……” Then comes an anticipatory thump, thump, thump, thump priming me for his melody of syncopated guitar licks. bass, and swooning.  The song is not so quiet anymore. Al Green guides me along with his lyrics and invites me to sing out loud and dance. He is generous that way and knows how to get the romantic heart pumping.

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme reicpe

 

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme

At the stove, wooden spoon in hand, I stir, sway, and sing “Love and Happiness,” while creating a love song with dark chocolate and Nutella. The name of my love song is, Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, a silky custard that could easily compete against any love song.  This dessert has the right amount of everything; silky smooth custard for the base line, rich dark chocolate mixed with Nutella for the rhythm notes, Sriracha for the added syncopation and palpitations, then finishes with flaky sea salt to tie it all together. A pure love melody.

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme recipe

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme is a recipe from Aarti Sequeira. I first saw it a few years ago while watching, The Best Thing I Ever Made: Chocoholics on Food Network.  Lucky for me I stumbled upon this episode because I have created this chocolate love song ever since.  

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme recipe

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, could be one of the best things I have ever had, period. Not just the best chocolate dessert, or the best dessert. It tops the charts in all categories. I would be lying if I told you it is a cinch to make. It is and it isn’t. All the steps are not complicated to perform, but methodic actions and attentive observations are necessary for success. If you have never made a custard base before, use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to start. No pressure. Aren’t we supposed to take chances with the ones we love?

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme recipe

Want more chocolate dessert recipes? Chocolate Bark Recipe

 Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme reicpe
Clues for Success making Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme

The only challenging part is getting the custard cooked to just the right consistency without scrambling the eggs.

Cook the custard slowly and stir constantly. The stirring will prevent the custard and eggs from sticking to the pan and solidifying.

The finished custard will have the consistency of thick paint. It will coat the back of a wooden spoon with an even layer. Swipe your finger across the back of the custard covered spoon, if the edges run it needs more time to cook. If the lines stay formed, and the custard is thick, the custard is finished. The temperature for the finished custard will be between 175F and 180F. Above 185F the eggs will scramble.

There have been several times that my custard has reached 175F, but was not thick enough. Keep stirring and control the heat of the pan by turning down the heat, or taking the pan off the heat for a minute then place it back on  the heat. Keep stirring.

Trust your judgement.

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme reicpe

For Your Listening Pleasure

Here is a link to my unfinished play list of love songs on Spotify. It is an eclectic list of music, with an R & B foundation. Enjoy it while you are creating Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme or a love song of your own. Enjoy!

What is your favorite Love Song? Let me know in the comments section below.

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

6 - 1 cup servings

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme

This version of chocolate pots de crème could be one of the best things I have ever eaten. It is very sensuous with the perfect amount of spice to jazz things up.

Serve in glasses, espresso cups, small coffee cups, or ramekins.

Recipe is from Aarti Sequeira, Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Nutella, or other chocolate-hazelnut spread
  • 3.5 oz dark chocolate (70 percent) chopped
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp Kosher salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce (up to 2 tsp if you like it really hot)
  • ½ tsp instant espresso powder
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
    For Garnishes
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream or crème fraiche
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
  • Minced hazelnuts for garnishing
  • Flaky sea salt (I like Maldon)

Instructions

  1. Spoon the Nutella into a medium bowl, then add the chopped dark chocolate. Set aside.
  2. Turn the heat up to medium temperature. Then add the milk, heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar and salt into a medium, nonreactive saucepan. Briefly whisk together the ingredients. Switch out the whisk with a wooden spoon and cook the custard stirring constantly, scraping along the bottom and crevices of the saucepan to make sure the custard does not stick or burn. After the custard has cooked for a while, about 8-10 minutes, you will notice the custard beginning to get thicker. This is an indication your custard is getting finished. Two clues that the custard is done cooking; first, dip your wooden spoon into the custard to coat the spoon and run your finger across the back of the spoon to paint a line. The line should stay intact at the edges, not runny. Second, the temperature of the custard should register between 175˚F and 180˚F. Above 185˚F the eggs will start to scramble. Depending on the temperature of your stove, the cooking time should take between 10-15 minutes. When the custard is done, turn off the heat and pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl with the chocolate and Nutella. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, organize your serving glasses or ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Stir the custard and chocolate until just incorporated. Then add the instant coffee, sriracha, vanilla extract and stir again making sure the chocolate is melted and the custard is well mixed together.
  5. Pour the chocolate into a container with a spout and pour the mixture into serving dishes. Tap each glass against the countertop to remove any air bubbles in the chocolate pots de crème. Slightly cool, then cover the pots de crème with plastic wrap (leaving some pockets around the edges for the heat to escape) and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
  6. Serve garnished with whipped cream or crème fraiche, sprinkled coco powder, sea salt and chopped hazelnuts.
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© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Tis the Season: Chocolate Bark

A thank you. A greeting. An introduction. A small gesture… A homemade gift can be all those things. Homemade treats do not have to be fancy or time consuming to make, a simple gift will do. They are always appreciated. I like making gifts, but I do not get around to making them as much as I would like. I usually think of an idea for a homemade gift too late and eventually buy something along the way. When I found this recipe for chocolate bark, I had an ah ha moment. I can do this. This recipe for chocolate bark is unusual, simple to make, beautiful to look at, and satisfies all chocolate cravings.

Chocolate Bark Recipe

Dark chocolate bark ingredients

Chcoclate Bark Recipe

White chocolate bark ingredients

Chocolate Bark Recipe

Orange zest, hibiscus flowers and lavender

I have been a fan of chocolate bark for some time now and must admit to be a total dark chocolate fanatic. A day does not go by without a chocolate snack.  My dessert choice usually has chocolate as the main attraction. I can’t help myself and totally find chocolate irresistible. I discovered this recipe while reading, Seasonal Fruit Desserts, by Deborah Madison. Yes I see the perplexed expression on your face: a chocolate bark recipe in a fruit dessert cookbook? Yes, Deborah Madison is no dummy and included this recipe in her dried fruit and nuts chapter. There is something for everyone in all of her cookbooks.

Chocolate Bark Recipe

Dark chocolate with dried fruits and nuts

Chocolate Bark Recipe

White chocolate with edible dried flowers and orange zest

Her chocolate bark recipes are different, which was the main attraction for me. Laden in her chocolate bark are dried fruit, nuts, rose petals, citrus zest, and other floral attractions, reminding me that chocolate bark can be whatever I want it to be. The add-ins do not need to be limited to pretzels, peppermint and coconut. It can hold up to any variety of flavors that compliment chocolate, like citrus, chili, cinnamon, coffee, sea salt, ginger, and all nuts, just to name a few. One could go crazy with add-ins for chocolate bark and have a surprise in every bite. I do not recommend going too crazy, the flavors do need to get along and marry with each-other and the type of chocolate.

Chocolate bark is a welcome dessert by itself or with fruit, nuts, cookies, or sorbet. You can keep it in your refrigerator to have on hand to serve for an impromptu dinner party. Chocolate bark will also make a lovely hostess gift, or a small gift to the chocolate lover(s) in your life. A homemade gift that can easily fit into anyone’s busy schedule.

Chocolate Bark Recipe

Chocolate Bark Recipe

Tis the Season: Chocolate Bark

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

One 10 x 6 inch slab of chocolate bark

Tis the Season: Chocolate Bark

Dark Chocolate bark flavored with crystallized ginger, dried apricots and pistachios make a delicious dessert and pairs well with fruit, cookies, nuts and ice cream. Pair Dark Chocolate Bark with White Chocolate Bark flavored with orange zest, pistachios and lavender, and you have an extra special dessert treat that is almost too pretty to eat.

Both chocolate bark recipes are delicious and easy to make. They will make an excellent hostess gift or a nice gesture just for giving.

The actual cooking time is very short but you will need at least an hour for the chocolate to set in the refrigerator. Plan on at least 1 1/2 - 2 hours in total.

This recipe is very slightly adapted from Seasonal Fruit Desserts, From Orchard, Farm and Market by Deborah Madison, 2010

Ingredients

    Dark Chocolate Bark -makes one 10 x 6 inch slab of chocolate bark
  • 4 oz dark chocolate, between 60% to 70% cocoa butter
  • 2-3 Tb chopped candied ginger
  • 2-3 Tb chopped dried apricots
  • 3 Tb salted green pistachio nuts, some chopped and some nuts left whole
  • Pinch of flaky sea salt like Maldon
    White Chocolate Bark makes one 8 x 5 inch slab of white chocolate bark
  • 4 oz white chocolate, good quality such as Lindt - or Lindt white chocolate with coconut
  • 2 Tb finely chopped salted green pistachios
  • Orange zest removed with a citrus zester in thin strips
  • 1/2 tea lavender or other dried edible flower pedal like hibiscus or rose petals

Instructions

    Dark Chocolate Bark
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Put the broken up chocolate in a bowl fitted over a pot of simmering water. If you want to add any dried spices add them now as well. Make sure the simmering water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Just a small amount of water is all that is needed, no more than an inch high. Gently stir the chocolate while it is melting, and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. When the chocolate is melted stir in half of the chopped fruit and nuts.
  4. Spread the melted chocolate over the parchment paper in a thin slab, then sprinkle the remaining fruit and nuts evenly across the bark. Gently press down of the fruit and nuts so they will stick to the chocolate when it sets. Sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt.
  5. Refrigerate the chocolate until it is set, at least an hour.
    White Chocolate Bark
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper large enough to hold a 10 x 6 inch slab
  2. Add the chopped white chocolate bark to a bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. Keep the heat low and stir and scrape down the sides of the bowl while the white chocolate is melting.
  3. When the white chocolate is melted, pour it out on the parchment paper and spread the chocolate into an even slab.
  4. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients decoratively and evenly over the white chocolate and gently press them to adhere to the chocolate.
  5. Refrigerate until set, at least an hour.
  6. Break up the bark into irregular pieces and serve by itself or with other nuts, fruit, cookies or ice cream.
  7. Keep the chocolate bark in an air tight container and wrapped in parchment or wax paper. Keep in the refrigerator.
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