Tuesday, February 26, 2013

When Chocolate Isn't Enough

I've been baking boozy chiffon cakes for so many years that I can no longer remember how it all started. I vaguely recall a lemon and coconut cake made by friends, and my longing to imitate that dessert and amp it up to an 11. Soaking the cake in a vodka syrup just seemed natural. Over time I began adding booze to the batter as well, and something special was born.

Booze cakes are most welcome at the office, which explains a few things about both the poor souls I work with and the conditions under which we work. A 10 AM shot or two of booze hidden within the layers of a sweet treat transports us back to the days when an open bar at the office and a two or three martini lunch were common.

Chocolate Cappuccino Stout Chiffon is mild in comparison to Chocolate Whiskey Bundt or Lemon Drop Chiffon but its flavors are complex and comforting, and the "soaking syrup" would be great over ice cream. I frosted this baby with a chocolate ganache, but a whipped cream lightly infused with more stout would be lovely as well.

Chocolate Cappuccino Stout Chiffon
For cake batter:
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Cappuccino Stout or comparable stout
1/4 cup unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 teaspoons instant coffee (crystal form)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cup cake flour
6 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup fine sugar

In large mixing bowl beat together yolks, oil, stout, chocolate, coffee, and vanilla until combined well. In separate bowl whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and flour and then add all at once to wet ingredients and beat together.

In a clean bowl beat until frothy egg whites and cream of tartar. While still beating slowly add sugar and continue beating until stiff peak form.

Using large wire whisk incorporate 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter. Gently fold remaining whites into batter and pour into angel food cake pan. Bake in preheated 325 degree oven about 50 minutes or until done. Cool in pan upside-down.

For soaking syrup:
In small saucepan combine 1 cup Cappuccino Stout and 1/4 cup sugar. Simmer until sugar melts. Remove from heat and stir in 2 teaspoons each instant coffee and vanilla extract. Cool.

When cake is cool poke holes in top and pour 1/2 of syrup over cake. Let cake soak syrup then remove from pan and place bottom side up on cake platter. Poke holes in cake and pour remaining syrup over cake.

Frost with chocolate ganache.

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