BuffaloSpree.com's Recipe of the week: Chocolate Beer Cake

Cooking under the influence



 

As with any liquid that contains alcohol, cooking with beer takes some thought and practice. With the right amount and proper technique (and a bit of experimentation) a dish made with beer will contain only mild nuances of the beverage. On the other hand, if too much beer is added or it becomes too concentrated, the food will carry an unpleasant bitter flavor. For these reasons, beer makes a perfect braising liquid for beef or pork, where the strong flavors of the meat mingle with, and can stand up to, that of the beer; lighter beers are more suited to chicken. But the area of cooking where beer is truly suited is baking; the natural yeast flavor in the liquid pairs well with baked goods. And while it may sound odd to incorporate beer into a recipe such as chocolate cake, the sweetness of the sugar and slight bitterness in the chocolate marry well with the flavor of beer.

 

To assimilate beer into your favorite recipes, begin by replacing just a portion of the liquid in the recipe with beer. And remember to have extra on hand to sip while you ponder what’s cooking.

 

Chocolate Beer Cake

Makes 1 (12-inch) cake

 

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 eggs, separated
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup beer

 

Preheat an oven to 375º F and prepare the cake pan by greasing it lightly with a tablespoon of butter and dusting it with 1/4 cup of the flour. Tip the pan in all directions to coat it with the flour, then tap out any extra flour.

 

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 2-1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder, baking soda and the salt. Melt the chocolate by stirring it in a small bowl over a simmering pot of water.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the egg whites and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and whip on high until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl on the electric mixer, combine the remaining 3/4-cup of butter with the remaining sugar and beat on high speed until thoroughly creamed and light in texture. Add the egg yolks and whip for another couple of minutes, or until light and airy. Lower the speed and add the melted chocolate, mix until combined, add the beer, and mix until thoroughly combined. While the mixer is still running, gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined.

 

Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the egg whites into the batter until just combined. Gently pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with the spatula.

 

Bake the cake in the middle rack of the oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake pulls out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and turn out onto a sugared board or counter. Allow to cool before eating or frosting.

 

Chocolate-Lager Sauce

Makes 2-3/4 cups

 

1 cup lager 
14 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Place the lager in a small sauce-pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer; place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and set aside. When the beer simmers, pour it over the chocolate. Stir the chocolate sauce with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is completely melted. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature before using. This sauce is an ideal accompaniment when drizzled over chocolate beer cake and served with vanilla ice cream.

 

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