Decadent ultra moist malt flavor forward chocolate layer cake with silky Strawberry Swiss Buttercream frosting. This cake is my 2nd riff on Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness Cake.
1 cup Irish Stout Beer
10 Tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 3/4 cups Superfine/Caster Sugar
3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3/4 cup Sour Cream
2 Large Eggs
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
2 cups Flour
2 ½ teaspoons Baking Soda
1 12-13 oz Jar Strawberry Preserves
2 Tablespoons framboise liqueur, water, juice or other liqueur of choice
6 Egg Whites
1 1/2 cups Light or Dark Brown Sugar
1 pound Salted Butter (4 sticks - 32 Tablespoons), at room temperature
1 1.2oz Package Freeze Dried Strawberries
1/3 cup Malted Milk Powder
1 teaspoon Vanilla Powder, if you do not have vanilla powder use to teaspoons vanilla and add at the very end to the buttercream
Preheat the oven to 350.
FOR THE CAKE:
In a saucepan, combine Irish Stout Beer and butter. Place saucepan over medium-low heat until butter melts.
Whisk in dark brown sugar into butter mixture and stir until it dissolves.
Cut the heat, whisk in caster sugar and cocoa powder.
Whisk until smooth.
In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, eggs and vanilla.
In another bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.
Whisk sour cream mixture into the melted butter mixture.
Once the sour cream mixture is fully incorporated into the butter mixture, whisk in the flour mixture.
Mix until batter is smooth.
Grease and flour two 9" cake rounds, or line with baking parchment. Alternatively, you can bake in a parchment lined full sheet pan. This is most often how I bake the cake, then I cut the layers from the full sheet, so that I can adjust the size and shape as I like.
Divide cake batter between pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean on doneness check. If baking as a full sheet, it will bake 18-20 minutes to done.
Let cakes rest 5 minutes, then turn out cakes to cool on a cooling rack.
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM:
In a blender add freeze dried strawberries and blend to a fine powder. Mix strawberry powder, malted milk powder, vanilla powder and pass through a fine mesh colander to remove any lumps. Set aside.
Fill a medium saucepan with 2-3 inches of water.
Bring water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer.
Combine egg whites (reserving yolks for another use) and light brown sugar in the metal mixing bowl of a stand mixer (or if not using a stand mixer another metal bowl) and place over the simmering water.
Whisk while heating until the sugar is dissolved and mixture temperature reaches 180 degrees (measure temperature with a candy thermometer, or other kitchen thermometer).
Using a whisk attachment on a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer) whisk egg whites and sugar on high until they double in volume. Mixture will be thick and shiny.
Reduce speed of the mixture to medium and begin to add butter about 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until all the butter is incorporated. It is important that butter be room temperature and that you allow it to fulling incorporated between each mix in.
Once all the butter is incorporated, slowly beat in the strawberry malted milk powder mixture.
NOTE: If mixture looks broken, increase speed to high and whisk until smooth. If the mixture looks too lumpy, the butter is too cold, applying heat to the bowl while mixing will help smooth it out. You can apply heat with a torch or by holding a hot pot against the side of the bowl while it mixes. If the mixture looks too runny, then the butter is melted. You can remedy that by holding an ice pack against the bowl while it mixes. You will see the frosting tighten up. This may seem fussy, but the texture of this cream filling is worth it!
FOR THE JELLY LAYER:
Stir preserves and framboise together to thin preserves slightly.
Cut one of the cake halves to flatten the top. This will be for the bottom cake layer.
Cut each of the layers in half.
Divide and spread the strawberry preserves on top of each of the bottom halves of the layers. Top preserves with the top half.
On the bottom layer top, the one you cut the top off of, spread 1/4 of the buttercream and top with top layer of the cake.
Move cake to the freezer or refrigerator to firm up before covering the cake with remaining buttercream. Freeze for at least 30 minutes or 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Once set, frost the entire cake with remaining buttercream and decorate as desired.