It’s the early 80s.
For us babies of the 80s, we may have been bumbling around in jellies, little shorts and elasticized tube tops, while our dads grilled and toasted piss beers. Now, jump the pond, and imagine a dimly lit pub in England. The wooden beams and plastered walls probably dated back for a century, if not more. Perhaps a revolution and a strike or two were planned there.
In one of these dimly lit pubs, is Garret Oliver. While taking a break from the rock band he managed, he relaxed with a beer, but this beer was different. It was dark, bitter, complex, and unlike anything he’d had in the U.S of A. This flavorful brew spiraled him into a lifelong obsession and propelled him from stovetop concoctions to the role of brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery. He has been enshrouded in snazzy hats, an air of mystery and international esteem ever since.
Garret Oliver’s purpose is to obsess over ingredients, the brewing process and the resulting flavors. Unlike Oliver, I am a baby-bird-sipping novice when it comes to beer, but when it comes to Brooklyn Brewery beer, even this baby bird musters some heartier sips. Brooklyn Brewery could make a beer drinker out of me, which is to say, I respect their flavors.
Beer consumption differences aside, my guess is Garret Oliver and I share an intense focus on ingredients and flavor, which is why I like to piggy back off his legwork. Incorporating a Brooklyn brew into a cake yields a cake with surprising flavor accents. Keep this ingredient a secret, and your guests/eaters will spend hours trying to pinpoint the source of the unique flavors. Tell them it’s Brooklyn Brewery, and they’ll demand an accompanying libation.
Dark Chocolate Layer Cake with Brooklyn Brewery Blast!, Chocolate Blast! Frosting & Cocanú Candied Cacao
About this recipe: In the words of the brewery, “We use earthy English hops to build the foundation and bright citrusy American hops to bring the noise in the rambunctious IPA we call BLAST! British Maris Otter and German Pilsner malts lends solidity, balance and bready flavors to brace up a beer that’s beautifully hoppy, strangely quaffable and oddly compelling. Minerally hop bitterness is followed by a shock wave of flavor and aroma. You won’t even know what hit you.” Now imagine that blast of flavor in a rich, chocolate cake topped with the crunch of candied cacao. This layered cake is perfect for a beer lover’s birthday treat!
Dark Chocolate Layer Cake with Brooklyn Brewery Blast!
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I used a Ghirardelli baking bar)
2 1/4 cups organic whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 Tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) organic, unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 3 Tablespoons organic raw cane sugar, divided
3 large organic/cage-free eggs, separated
3/4 cup Brooklyn Brewery Blast! (could also use a chocolate stout, regular stout, or porter)
2/3 cup freshly brewed strong coffee
*Chocolate Frosting w/ Brooklyn Blast! (recipe below)
~2 oz candied cacao (Cocanú Craque)
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour a 7-inch and 6-inch springform pan (or two 9-inch-diameter springform pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides).
Place chopped chocolate in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water and set aside.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar in large bowl until fluffy and pale yellow, about 2 minutes.
Add egg yolks one at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.
Beat in lukewarm, melted chocolate, then beer, and coffee.
Beat flour mixture into chocolate mixture in two additions, just until incorporated.
Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and remaining 3 Tablespoons sugar in another medium bowl, until stiff but not dry.
Fold 1/3 of egg whites into cake batter to lighten, then fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions.
Divide batter between prepared cake pans; smooth tops.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer cakes to racks and cool in pans 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks, and cool completely.
Once cooled, cut each cake into two layers. Use a lazy Susan to spread icing over each layer evenly, until you have all your layers built. Top with candied cacao.
*Chocolate Frosting with Brooklyn Blast!
8 oz organic cream cheese
2 sticks organic, unsalted butter
2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup pure cocoa, sifted
2/3 cup Brooklyn Brewery Blast!
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In the bowl of stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy and incorporated.
Add the powdered sugar and cocoa, and continue to beat until incorporated.
Add the beer and vanilla, and whisk (carefully to avoid splatters) until smooth.