Oktoberfest means it's time for beer-chugging contests and libation-filled celebrations of the world's most popular alcoholic beverage. But there are other ways to honor the drink. In fact, Oktoberfest is a great opportunity to bake up sweet odes to beer.
Stout beer -- made with roasted barley or malt -- lingers with rich, strong full-bodied flavors, including entrancing notes like oatmeal, chocolate or coffee. There's a wide variety of stouts available, but their underlying complex flavors are what make them so well-suited for baking.
This recipe for chocolate stout cake is not only delicious -- with subtle notes of the beer's rich flavors -- it's also low-fat and vegan. Just make sure to opt for a lactose-free stout (as implied in the name, milk stouts have lactose). No one will miss butter or eggs when they've been replaced with a generous serving of good old beer.
Try searching out other recipes that include liquid ingredients like water, and experiment with replacing them with beer. All you need to remember is that beer will act as a leavening agent, so be sure to adjust baking soda levels accordingly.
Low-fat Vegan Chocolate Stout Cake
Adapted from an original beer-less recipe by Joanne Chang, acclaimed pastry chef from Flour Bakery in Boston
Makes one 6-inch cake
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, such as Medaglia D'Oro
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup stout beer, at room temperature
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla paste
3 tablespoons unsulfured dark molasses
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 6-inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan and, using a paper towel, grease the entire surface.
2. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine. In another large bowl, add the beer, water, canola oil, vanilla and molasses. Whisk together. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Pour the cake mixture into the pan.
3. Bake for 55 minutes until the cake springs back when gently pressed with a finger tip, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool atop a wire rack from about one hour before inverting the cake onto a plate, setting right-side up and allowing to cool completely.
4. Dust with confectioners' sugar prior to serving.
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