Too many people are willing to accept watery mass brands for their drinking pleasure, simply because of advertising. They carry that through into their cooking as well.
I refuse to accept this – that’s why I became involved in beer culture – so I kicked this recipe up a notch by using an Imperial Stout: Old Rasputin from North Coast, to be precise. Good People’s Fatso would have been ideal, though I didn’t have any at the time, hence my fallback to a tried and trusted friend.
250ml/8.5oz Old Rasputin
250g/8.8oz sweet (unsalted) butter
400g/14oz caster (superfine) sugar
142ml/4.8oz sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
275g/9.7oz plain (all purpose) flour
2.5 tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180c / 350f. Butter and line a 23cm/9 inch springform tin.
Pour the Old Rasputin into a large wide saucepan, add the butter in spoons or slices and heat until the butter has melted. Whisk in the cocoa and sugar.
Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the mixture in the pan, then whisk in the flour and baking soda.
Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out mostly clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin on the cooling rack – this is a very moist cake.
When the cake is cold, sit it on a flat platter while you add the topping – a plain, white vanilla frosting makes the cake look like a glass of a fine stout.
Cut a slice of the cake and eat with some of the Old Rasputin. Wonder as the chocolate runs to the front of your mouth, followed by a rampaging horde of coffee flavours, then the sweetness is finally chased off your palate with an assertive *snap* of hop bitterness.
Now you can confidently leave those watery mass brands on the shelf for those of a less discriminating palate to purchase while you enjoy an extraordinary dessert served with a World Class beer.