Joe Porter Chocolate Cake with Espresso Buttercream (And a few shamrocks …)

17 Mar

We have some great friends here in Philadelphia.  Smart, funny, interesting, wonderful people.  Friends that we have made at work, at school.   And friends that Isabella brought into our lives.  There are a lot of wonderful things about having a child.  A lot of challenging things as well, but that is a different post.  One of the most wonderful side effects of having a little one is that you meet a lot of people.    The presence of your kid takes the creepy out of approaching a total stranger and their child at the park and asking them about their kids teeth, eating habits, whether or not they actually sleep.

Occasionally you come across a kindred soul, going through the same stage at the same time.  They use the same words, worry about the same things.  That is how I met Isabella’s Best Friend’s Mom.  She gave funny, honest answers to my questions.  Her kid didn’t sleep either!   We trade tricks, celebrate all of the wonderful bits and reassure each other  that the hard parts are just stages.  Our friendship has made me a better mom.  And if that didn’t make her a wonderful friend, the best kind.  Her husband, another funny, smart, interesting person, works for Philadelphia Brewing Company.

Isabella’s Best Friend’s Dad’s job is pertinent because sometimes they show up at our house with a case of beer.  I would love them without the beer, but with beer?  I mean, come on, best friends forever!

Philadelphia Brewing Company’s Joe Porter is deep, dark, smooth, complex, wonderful stuff.  You hardly know it’s in the cake, but believe me, you would miss it if it wasn’t.  Chocolate ganache and espresso buttercream finish the whole thing off.  This cake is tasty, not too sweet, deep, dark, chocolate-y goodness.

Grass, little flowers and a few shamrocks surround the base.  Cheers! To great friends, swell beer and to spring!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Chocolate and Porter Cake via Barrington Brewery featured in Bon Appetit September 2002

2 cups Joe Porter

2 cups butter

1 1/2 cups cocoa powder

4 cups flour

4 cups sugar

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 1/3 cups sour cream

** This recipe makes 3 8 inch round cakes.  It is a lot of cake.  I happen to like my cakes extra-large but if you don’t need 25 servings of cake cut the recipe in half and make it in a bundt pan, Smitten Kitchen did it and it looks dynamite! **

In a medium saucepan combine the beer and the butter.  Melt and let simmer for a few minutes.  Reduce the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until it dissolves and there are no lumps.  Take off the heat and let cool.  Meanwhile in the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs and sour cream, mix with the paddle attachment until combined.  In a large bowl combine all of the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.  Add the butter-beer-chocolate mixture to the eggs and sour cream, mix to combine.  Add the dry ingredients, mix to combine and finish mixing my hand.

Chocolate Ganache

8 oz Dark Chocolate

1 cup heavy cream

Put the chocolate in a heat safe bowl.  Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until it is nearly boiling.  Pour over chocolate and let sit for two minutes.  Whisk until the chocolate has melted and smooth and shiny.  If it is too runny to spread let cool in the fridge for a little while.

Espresso Buttercream

5 egg whites

1 cup granulated sugar

1 lb of butter softened but cool to the touch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup espresso, cooled (more or less to taste)

Combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and place over a pot of simmering water.  Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites are hot, a thermometer will read 140°.  Move the bowl to the mixer and mix on high with the whisk attachment until the whites are thick, glossy and hold a stiff peak.  Add the butter one tablespoon at a time, waiting until the butter is incorporated until the next is added.  If the mixture looks soupy the butter is probably too warm, put the mixing bowl and butter in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill and resume.  If the mixture looks curdled, don’t worry, keep mixing, it will become smooth again.  Once all of the butter has been added and the mixture is smooth add the salt and vanilla.  Whisk to combine.  Add the espresso a little at a time, whisking constantly, until the desired flavor has been reached.

Stack the cake, using half of the ganache between each layer. Cover the top and sides with the buttercream.  Enjoy!

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3 Responses to “Joe Porter Chocolate Cake with Espresso Buttercream (And a few shamrocks …)”

  1. thePatternedPlate March 17, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    Kill me now! I love chocolate, and coffee and both together is a heady combination. It looks completely mouthwateringly good to eat. Plus, I adore the restrained way in which you decorated your cake…so pretty and elegant! Top notch 😀

  2. Jim March 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    The bottle of Joe alone is enough to start me drooling, but that delicious looking/sounding cake about brings me to the point of frothing.
    Nice work!

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