Chocolate cake is not my friend. Really, it's cakes in general--I find them all rather temperamental, moody little things that throw a fit and refuse to come out right if I mis-measure by even a quarter of a teaspoon.
Actually, strike that. I have measured and followed a recipe exactly, sifting when sifting is required, counting hand strokes for mixing (really) and carefully making the high altitude adjustments and I still don't have a chocolate cake recipe that I adore except my favorite chocolate ganache cake which starts with a box mix.
Recently, I embarked on a journey to find the PERFECT homemade chocolate cake recipe. I started with a recipe for Chocolate Heaven cake from the Back in the Day Bakery. Five star bakery in Savannah, five star cookbook, and rave reviews for this cake, I was sure I'd finally found the go-to cake recipe.
Cake flour, eggs and sour cream and room temp and unsweetened chocolate bars...you would think this recipe is on it's way to the winners list.
I always give myself a pat on the back when I use more than one pan for a cake.
And then an extra pat on the back when I pull out a pastry bag and pipe anything. Piping is sometimes fun, sometimes annoying.
Alas, I was able to screw up a cake recipe that everyone else seems to be able to nail. My version was dense, not chocolatey enough, and well, dense. Maybe the problem is that I expect cakes to be fluffy.
Chocolate cake number two was a Pinterest recipe that was touted to be the world's best sour cream chocolate cake.
Surely cream cheese buttercream (yes both) chocolate frosting is the secret to perfect chocolate cake.
Or not. This cake was a lot fluffier but that frosting was killer sweet and there definitely wasn't enough chocolate in the cake or the frosting. It was more like a "kind-of chocolate" cake.
I should have mentioned that the chocolate cake by which I gauge all other cakes is Cheesecake Factory's Chocolate Tower Truffle cake which is probably more truffle than cake.
After all of the effort of the two prior chocolate cakes, I went back to one of my standards--Nigella's Guinness chocolate cake. I would categorize this as an overall fantastic cake rather than a fantastic chocolate cake.
Best part is that it's super simple and made right in the saucepan.
I know I posted this recipe 4 years ago when I made it into Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, but while not the perfect truffle-like chocolate cake, it's a pretty delicious cake....definitely a keeper recipe for when you want to throw together something super quick and easy.
Only one saucepan and one baking pan to clean up.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson Feast
1 cup Guinness stout
1 stick unsalted butter, sliced
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5 cups sugar
¾ cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2.5 teaspoons baking soda
-8 ounce cream cheese
-1 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ cup Baileys
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
2. Pour Guinness into a large saucepan, add butter and heat until melted. Whisk in cocoa powder and sugar. In a small bowl, beat sour cream with eggs and vanilla and then pour into brown, buttery, beery mixture and finally whisk in flour and baking soda.
3. Pour cake batter into greased and line pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack.
4. When cake is cold, gently peel off parchment paper and transfer to a platter or cake stand.
5. Place cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a mixing bowl, and whip with an electric beater, until smooth
6. Add cream and beat again until you have a spreadable consistency.
7. Ice top of cake, starting at middle and fanning out, so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.