I have a certain fondness for cakes baked in a 13×9 inch pan.
This comes entirely from the fact that growing up, my sister and I learned to bake, and baked many cakes from box mix. As 10,11,12,13 year olds, it was a way to get in the kitchen, mix, stir, prep a pan, preheat an oven, and bake. And we always, always, baked those cakes in a 13×9 Pyrex pan.
I bake cakes in other pan shapes and sizes now. I have fun figuring out how to frost and decorate them. I have never taken classes, so I look things up on-line and just kind of go from there. I don’t buy cake mixes anymore. While they may make things a bit easier, you get all sorts of preservatives and color agents that aren’t really good for the body. And measuring out some flour and sugar thankfully doesn’t take much longer than dumping a mix out of a box and into a bowl. I find myself always trying to take my homemade cakes and turn them into something fantastic with sprinkles and fillings and the like.
But so many times, I will just want a cake. Nothing fussy, just a cake, that I can whip up really quickly, bake up in a 13×9 Pyrex pan, top off with some frosting and eat.
That’s not too much to ask right?
I came on this recipe in the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, so it turned into dessert for us after our corned beef dinner. And it was baked in a 13×9 Pyrex pan. I didn’t have to make layers, level them, frost, decorate, nothing. It was just a great tasting, super basic sort of chocolate cake with a twist. Perfect really for middle of the week baking. Because, in all honesty, that is usually when I need cake!
I find the addition of stout to the cake akin to adding coffee to a chocolate cake. It really highlighted the chocolate, lending it a super chocolate kind of flavor with just a twinge of the bitterness one associates with a dark beer. I completely dig it, but I also really like my chocolate to be at least at the level of bittersweet, give me those high cacao percentages!
And I will caution you, my Mom, hater of stout, made a similar cake for my brother’s birthday and couldn’t eat it. She could taste the stout way more than what she expected. However, my husband is not a stout drinker at all, and he loved both cakes. You may have to try it out just for scientific purposes and see how you like it. Maybe invite some people over on a Wednesday night for cake?
Chocolate Stout Cake
Adapted from Baking Bites
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup dark cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 cup stout beer, chocolate if you can find it (I found Boatswain’s chocolate Stout at Trader Joe’s which was decent, but if you can find Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, grab that)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In a small sauce pan over low heat, melt the butter Once melted, add in the cocoa powder and whisk until well combined.
In your mixer bowl, mix together sugar, vegetable oil and eggs until smooth and slightly lighter in color. Add the cocoa-butter mixture and mix until blended together.
Mix in half of the flour mixture, until the flour is just mixed in. Add in the yogurt and stout and mix again until the yogurt and stout is incorporated then follow with the rest of the flour mixture. If the stout foams up some, just keep stirring, the foam will die down and it will mix in.
Pour your batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Allow cake to cool completely then top with chocolate frosting.
1/2 cup butter, softened
5 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp half and half
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Beat all ingredients together until well combined, adding more confectioners’ sugar if necessary to thicken frosting to a smooth, spreadable consistency.