Me: “Do not touch that beer! That beer is cake-baking beer, not Husband-drinking beer.”
Husband: [sad face and retracts his hand from the fridge] but it’s been a month. You’re never going to make that cake.
Me: I WILL make that cake…later…
I’ve been on the hunt for a vanilla porter to make a vanilla porter cake and finally procured a six-pack after 6 months of searching. I wanted to do this for Husband’s birthday but never could find the perfect brew. It worked out since his chocolate-liking is selective at best. (He loved the three bean porter ones I ended up making.) Thankfully, he ended up liking this ridiculous amount of chocolate and proclaimed it a worthy use of beer. That might be the best compliment he’s ever given me.
Truth be told, I’ve been fighting to just keep my head above water recently and this cake never made it to the top of the priority list. Until yesterday. Yesterday, we had a friend over for dinner (who I’m pretty sure Husband has deemed Interim Brew Buddy) and I actually got stuff done. Turns out, when you have the threat of impending company, you’re fantastically productive. I unpacked the last box, cleaned the house (well, the first floor…), snuggled the ‘Saurus, watched my beloved Baylor Bears annihilate whoever it was they played, and still had time to make cake. I should have had company a month ago-we would have been settled in sooner. So, because I was an award-winning housewife yesterday (it was a one-day thing, don’t get too excited) and ‘Saurus only got up twice (the teething thing is putting us through the gauntlet), I rewarded myself with cake-baking. It was fantastic. What wasn’t fantastic was the mess I made but I guess you can’t win ’em all. (Unlike Baylor, who apparently can win ‘Em all.)
This cake can, too, win ’em all. It is loaded. With just about every decadent confection. I suggest going to Costco before you make this one. Seriously. There’s vanilla porter chocolate cake layered with porter salted caramel and the best chocolate frosting of all time. Umm…..ya…..
Oh, and don’t mind that 1/4 of the cake is missing and it’s squished on one side. That’s the problem with having company over for cake before you take the pictures.
And even better: we had extra caramel left over. I was going to do something fantastic with it instead of just eating it with a spoon which is exactly what I did not do. And here I am wondering why my pre-baby pants don’t fit…
fleur de sel cake
2 C vanilla porter (this is about a bottle and a half – save the remainder of the second bottle)
1 1/4 C butter
1/2 C heavy cream
2 Tbsp brewed coffee
1/2 C chopped dark chocolate
1 1/3 C dark cocoa (dutch-process)
4 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 C sour cream
4 C flour, sifted
3 C pure cane white sugar
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour 4 9-in cake pans.
2. In medium saucepan, whisk together porter, butter, cream, coffee, and dark chocolate. Bring to simmer over medium heat and stir until butter and chocolate is melted. Stir in cocoa until smooth. Set aside for a few minutes to cool slightly.
3. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in separate bowl. Set aside
4. In mixer, beat eggs and sour cream until fluffy, then pour in 1/3 of the cocoa mixture, then 1/3 of the dry ingredients, alternating until you run out of stuff. Beat slowly just until combined.
5. Pour batter evenly among prepared pans and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. Place on greased wire racks to cool
vanilla porter caramel ganache:
baker’s note: steps two and three are best done concurrently
3/4 C heavy cream
remainder of vanilla porter (should be around 3/4 C)
1 vanilla bean
1/4 C filtered water
1 C pure cane white sugar
1/2 C white chocolate, chopped
2 tsp fleur de sel (kosher salt will do, as well)
1. Place white chocolate and salt in medium heat-proof bowl and set aside.
2. In small saucepan, heat cream until just before boiling. Stir in porter and vanilla bean and keep warm until step two is ready.
3. In large saucepan, whisk together sugar and water and heat on medium-high until boiling. Stir occasionally but allow the syrup to thicken and turn a deep amber.
4. Pour hot cream mixture into the sugar. You’ll see why you needed the large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until fully combined but be careful not to burn it.
5. Pour mixture over white chocolate and stir until chocolate is fully melted. Let cool slightly and then refrigerate until thickened and ready to use. If it doesn’t thicken enough, put it in the freezer.
adapted from: Your Cup of Cake
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 C butter, room temperature
1 1/2 C dutch-process cocoa, sifted
5 C powdered sugar, sifted (plus more if needed for consistency)
3 tsp vanilla
heavy cream, as needed for consistency
1. Whip together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy (5-ish minutes)
2. Gradually stir in cocoa and powdered sugar. Add vanilla and beat until well-combined.
3. Add cream (or whole milk) as needed for consistency. I use very little but I love thick frosting.
1. Even cakes and place one layer on serving plate.
2. Spread a thin(ish) layer of chocolate frosting over the top and pipe a border around the top edge of the layer (you don’t want the caramel to run out!)
3. Pour a layer of caramel on top of the frosting. Add another layer of cake and repeat the process until you run out of cake.
4. Frost entire cake with remainder of frosting, drizzle with caramel, and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Voila!
And the much anticipated vanilla porter was well-worth the effort:
(courtesy of Breckenridge Brewery)