I know I’m bringing you another peanut butter and chocolate recipe but… Can you blame me when you look at this cake? It is truly divine. The chocolate cake recipe comes from My Favourite Chocolate Cake, but instead of using the coffee, in this version you use Porter or Guinness. Porter is a very dark beer that was developed in London in the 18th century and is still very popular in English pubs today. I was actually quite surprised to find a Porter in New Zealand, but then I guess the craft beer scene is getting pretty popular here! I pretend I know, but really I don’t like beer so I have no idea! 😉 If you can’t find a Porter, you can either use Guinness or a different Stout, just make sure it’s a really dark beer. Don’t worry if you also don’t like beer, it just gives it a really dark and rich flavour, it doesn’t actually make the cake taste like beer and all the alcohol cooks out so you’re not going to get drunk either! The dark and rich chocolatey flavour of the cake pairs so well with the salty-sweet flavour of the peanut butter frosting and finally the fluffy meringue is such a nice finish and quite easy to do instead of having to frost the whole cake, which is nice for a change!
We had some important internationals come to our office for the first time and one of my colleagues asked me to make a cake. Well, I didn’t want to go tooooo over the top but at the same time, it’d been a while since I’d made a cake (like a couple of weeks… ;)) so I was itching to do something creative. This cake was inspired by a similar cake from the book Decorated by April Carter. When I saw it, I thought it was just such a pretty naked cake that I wanted to try making something similar. When I first heard about the naked cakes craze, I wasn’t so sure about it because I’ve always liked a looooot of frosting with my cakes. I know a lot of other people aren’t so keen on frosting though, and the contrast between light frosting and dark cake like in this cake can look really stunning, so I have come around! I think the only problem I have is that the sides of the cake have to look nice and occasionally the sides of my cakes stick to the cake tin a bit and then they can rip and look ugly. 🙁
My advice is, if you want to have the sides of your naked cake look really good, grease the sides of the cake tin really well, make sure there is a layer of butter (or oil, or whatever you use) to make sure the cake won’t stick when you take it out of the tin. I also run a hot knife (heated under boiling water) around the edge of the cake tin before I take the cake out to make sure that any naughty bits of cake that did stick to the side will come out evenly and you won’t be left with ragged and gross-looking sides!
In terms of torching the marshmallow, theoretically you could put the whole cake in the over under the grill/broiler and grill the marshmallow for a minute or so, but I feel like that might end in disaster. Especially if I were doing it because I can be really clumsy so I’d probably either A) burn myself or B) drop the whole cake when I was taking it out then just cry. ? Sooo I would say you are 100x better off just investing in a blow torch! Then you can also be really fancy at dinner parties and say things like: Oh I’m just getting my blow torch to finish those off… So worth it!! You can also use them for things like charring peppers so definitely a sound investment I think.
This cake would be an excellent addition to any party, dinner, afternoon tea or just for yourself if you feel like it! Make sure to serve it with a cup of tea or coffee, or a strong cold beer to complement the flavours and cut through the richness of the cake. I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I have! Happy baking. 🙂
- [b]Chocolate Porter Cake[/b]
- 90g (3oz) dark chocolate bits
- 1 1/2 cups Porter beer or other dark Stout
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups dark cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
- 2 tspn baking soda
- 3/4 tspn baking powder
- 1 1/4 tspn salt
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, shaken
- 3/4 tspn vanilla essence[br]
- [b]Peanut Buttercream[/b]
- 140g (1 1/4 sticks) butter, softened
- 2 cups icing (powdered) sugar
- 1 tspn vanilla essence
- 5 heaped Tbspn peanut butter[br]
- [b]Meringue Frosting[/b]
- 3 egg whites
- 2/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar
- Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) and grease and line two 23cm (9 inch) cake tins with baking paper.
- Place the chocolate in a microwave proof bowl and microwave on low for 2 minutes in 30 second bursts, stirring after each. Microwave for longer if needed until the whisked chocolate is smooth.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with a hand mixer) beat the eggs until thickened and lemon coloured (around 5 minutes).
- Slowly add the oil, buttermilk and vanilla, beating after each addition. Then add the sugar, before mixing in the melted chocolate. Then slowly add the porter to the mixture and beat together. Sift the cocoa powder over the bowl and mix until combined.
- Pour half of the flour mixture over the wet mixture and mix until the flour is combined enough to not fly up in your face (very technical there) and then add the other half and beat it all together until well-combined.
- Divide the batter between the tins and bake in the middle of the oven, rotating after 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached, around 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes.
- Leave to cool completely in the tins and then turn out onto a wire rack to set.[br]
- Place the softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl and using an electric hand beater) and beat on medium speed for 3–4 minutes until pale and creamy.
- Add the peanut butter and vanilla essence and beat until just combined.
- Add the icing (powdered) sugar and continue to beat for another 5 minutes until the buttercream is smooth, light and fluffy.[br]
- For the toasted meringue icing, place the egg whites in the clean, grease-free bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl and using an electric hand beater).
- To clean any possible grease from the bowl you can take a lemon cut in half and rub this over the bowl and dry using a paper towel.
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add 1 Tbspn of the caster sugar and whisk until stiff and glossy.
- Add another 2 tablespoons of caster sugar, whisking until stiff and glossy after each addition, then add the remaining sugar gradually, with the beaters still running, until the mixture is stiff and glossy and all of the sugar has been incorporated.[br]
- Level the cakes by cutting off the domed tops with a cake leveller or a serrated knife.
- Then split each cake in half so that you have 4 layers in total.
- Place the first cake layer either on a turntable that you can use for frosting the cake, or on the serving plate or platter. Spread with one third of the buttercream.
- Place the second layer on top of this and repeat, then repeat again with the third layer, finishing with the final cake layer.
- Put the meringue mixture into the piping bag and pipe little poofs on top of the cake, starting with circle around the outside, making each one touch the last. Then pipe another circle of poofs inside the first and keep moving inwards until the whole top of the cake is covered in meringue poofs.
- Just before serving (or up to 12 hours before), using a chef’s blow torch, toast the outside of all of the meringue poofs until they are golden brown and caramelised.
- Without the meringue frosting, the cake will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container, only make and pipe the meringue poofs around 12-15 hours before serving the cake.