Chocolate Layer Cake
- 1/3 cup Guinness Extra Stout (measured after foam has subsided)
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened, non-Dutch cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2/3 cup Guinness Extra Stout (measured after foam has subsided)
- 2/3 cup dried currants
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons, unsweetened, non-Dutch cocoa powder
- 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1-3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached white flour
- Cooking spray
- 2/3 cup butter, softened
- 4 eggs
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup currant jelly, warmed
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 4-1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 4-1/2 tablespoons cocoa
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- To prepare syrup, combine all syrup ingredients in a small, heavy saucepan, whisking until smooth. Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves and syrup is smooth.
- To prepare cake, pour stout over currants; cover and soak until plump.
- Drain currants, reserving stout. Add stout to a small saucepan. Whisk in ⅓ cup cocoa and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat; add semisweet chocolate, stirring until chocolate melts. Cool slightly. Stir in buttermilk. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine 2 tablespoons cocoa, 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons flour. Coat two 8- or 9-inch square or round cake pans with cooking spray; dust with cocoa mixture.
- Beat butter with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in 1¾ cups sugar until well blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla.
- Combine 2 cups flour with baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with chocolate mixture, stirring until blended. (Batter may look curdled.) Stir in currants.
- Divide batter between pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; invert onto rack.
- Poke tops of cake layers with a skewer or toothpick. Spoon Drizzling Syrup over tops. Place one layer on a platter. Spread warmed jelly over layer on the platter. Chill 30 minutes.
- To make the icing, bring cream to a boil. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl, pour boiling cream over it, and whisk until chocolate melts and is thoroughly combined. Cover tightly and chill. Chill beaters from a handheld mixer at the same time. Up to 3 hours before serving the cake, whip chocolate mixture with a handheld mixer. When soft peaks form, sift in confectioners’ sugar and cocoa, and add vanilla and salt. Continue whipping until combined.
- Spread about a quarter of the Bittersweet Icing over the jelly. Place second cake layer on top.
- Ice top and sides of the cake with the remaining icing. Press nuts into sides of cake.