Tessa Huff

Hi.

Welcome to STYLE SWEET - a cake and pastry resource for the home baker. Explore, bake, and share!

Chocolate Stout and Pumpkin Checkerboard Cake

Chocolate Stout and Pumpkin Checkerboard Cake

It's that time of year again - time to think of original and creative uses for pumpkin, hehe.  Good thing I love me some pumpkin anything (sweet, savoury - you name it!) and there are always new, bright 'n shiny ways to incorporate pumpkin into a mouth-watering recipe (I'm talking well beyond PSLs here).  50+ different ways, to be exact!

That's right - it's a (virtual) PUMPKIN PARTY!  Sara wrangled up several dozens of awesome bloggers (yours truly, included) to develop and share our favourite pumpkin-inspred recipes.  I'm talking pumpkin-y twists on some amazing sweet treats as well as innovative, contemporary flavour-pairings using the ultra-fab, ever versatile squash.  Autumn might not be long enough to get to all of these "must-try" recipes, so let's get straight to it!

Of course, I was inspired to make cake.  When am I ever not inspired to make cake?  Never, is the answer.

But since this is a PUMPKIN PARTY, I knew it could not be any ordinary pumpkin cake.  I had this idea bouncing around in my head for months regarding pumpkin and chocolate stout cakes combined together.  Regular pumpkin cake is a bit too expected (and it should be, because it is delicious), so I went the dark and dreary route for Halloween.  Plus, I've seen Pumpkin Stout on the market, so I figured it was all worth a shot.

I have an incredible Brown Sugar Pumpkin Cake in my book (Layered), but I am afraid I won't be able to share it with you all until it is released (Spring 2016).  So, off to the test kitchen I went!  I began experimenting on two different ends of the pumpkin cake spectrum - ultra deep and flavorful vs. light and subtly spicy.  I conducted a blind taste-test with my husband (seriously, I gave him cake scraps while his was in the dark putting the baby to bed, because we are an awesome team like that - hehe).  He liked both.  I liked both.  So a double-pumpkin cake it shall be!

To incorporate all of the flavours, I put together a 3-color Chocolate Stout and Pumpkin Checkerboard Cake.  How fun, right?  The different flavours create this festive ombré of cake flavours.  To bring out more of the stout flavor, I made a stout buttercream.  Wha, what??  Yes!  I actually don't like dark beer, but throw in some butter and sugar - and it's a party!  It really is quite tasty.  I reduced some of the leftover stout from making the cake and added in a bit of sugar.  It reduced down to a deeply concentrate, slightly sweet stout.  By itself, it is pretty off-putting, to say the least.  But mixed with my go-to vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream, and it is dynamite!  It's not nearly as booze-forward as other recipes, so definitely give it a try if you are on the fence about your sweets tasting too much like alcohol.

Why is the buttercream a darker brown between the layers, you ask?  I stirred in a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder.  This version is also delicious, but the cocoa started to take away from the stout.  I decided to use the cocoa stout buttercream between the layers because I thought it looked more atheistically pleasing against the darker cakes.

Chocolate Stout Cake
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup stout beer
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar

  1. Pre-heat over to 350 degrees.  Prepare two 6-inch cake pans and set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. Combine the beer and butter in a medium saucepan and heat over medium until the butter is melted.
  4. Meanwhile stir the sour cream and vanilla together.  Whisk in the egg and set aside.
  5. Stir the cocoa powder and sugar into the butter/stout mixture until combined.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream mixture.
  7. In two batches, stir in the flour mixture.
  8. Evenly distribute the batter between the two pans and bake for about 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
  10. Let completely cool before trimming and assembling.

Molasses Pumpkin Cake
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pumpkin puree

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 6-inch cake pans.  Set aside.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream together the softened butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the eggs, molasses, and vanilla.  Mix until combined.
  5. In two batches, slowly mix in the dry ingredients.
  6. Fold in the pumpkin puree.
  7. Evenly distribute the batter between the two pans and bake for about 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
  9. Let completely cool before trimming and assembling.

Pumpkin Spice Cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 6-inch cake pans.  Set aside.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, brown to butter by heating it over medium-high heat.  The butter should melt and foam slightly.  It is done when fragment and little bits of brown appear at the bottom of the pan (about 5 to 8 minutes).  Remove from heat and place in a glass dish.  Place in the refrigerator until cool.
  4. Stir together the cooled, browned butter and both sugars until light until combined.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs.  Add the beaten eggs to the sugar mixture and stir until combined.
  6. In two batches, slowly mix in the dry ingredients.
  7. Fold in the pumpkin puree.
  8. Evenly distribute the batter between the two pans and bake for about 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
  10. Let completely cool before trimming and assembling.

Stout Buttercream
3 eggs whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup stout reduction (recipe follows)

  1. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Whisk (by hand) to combine.
  2. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer.
  3. Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler.
  4. Heat the egg mixture, whisking often, until 155 degrees on a candy thermometer or until hot to the touch.
  5. Once hot, carefully transfer the bowl back to the mixer.  Beat on high with the whisk attachment until the egg mixture holds firm peaks (the outside of the bowl should return to room temperature).
  6. Stop the mixing and swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment.
  7. With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla and butter (a few tablespoons at a time).
  8. Turn the mixer up to medium-high.  Mix until the buttercream if silky smooth.
  9. Add in the stout reduction and re-mix until combined.

For the Stout Reduction:
Simmer 1/2 cup stout beer with 3 tablespoons granulated sugar over low heat until it is reduced to 1/4 cup.  Chill in a glass jar until ready to use.

PumpkinStout_Checkerboard_Cake04
PumpkinStout_Checkerboard_Cake04

Assembly You might be thinking, "Hey Tessa, I have a total of 6 layers of cake - what the heck?"  Okay, confession time.  Yes, the entire recipe makes 2-layers of each flavour but you only need 3 layers to make one complete cake.  Remember how I could not decide between the two pumpkin cakes?  This is what happened... Now, you can choose to only make two of the cake recipes and turn this into a 2-tone, 4-layer checkerboard cake or have left-overs for a second cake (like me).  I apologize for being misleading.

To make the checkerboard pattern, you will need a 4-inch round cookie cutter and a 2-inch round cookie cutter.  Basically, you will be cutting out rings of each cake, then re-assembling them with a swipe of buttercream in between to hold it all together.  Be sure to alternate the different colors as you assemble.  For more detailed instructions, check out my post here.

If you'd like, stir in 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder to about 34/-1 cup stout buttercream to fill in between the layers of cake.  Use the remaining stout buttercream to frosting cake and sprinkle with chocolate shavings, if  desired.

Back to the PUMPKIN PARTY!  So many great ideas and creative uses with pumpkin - better get started:

Cake Over Steak • Pumpkin Ginger Cookies with a Vanilla Glaze  - Thank you, Sara, for putting this all together!

B. Britnell • 

Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Macaroni

A Couple Cooks • 

Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter

I Am a Food Blog • 

Roasted Pumpkin and Pork Stuffed Shells

Well and Full • 

Harissa-Spiced Pumpkin Gnocchi

Loves Food, Loves to Eat • 

Pumpkin Pork Burrito Bowls

Girl Versus Dough • 

Pumpkin Challah

Snixy Kitchen • 

Black Sesame Pumpkin Mochi Cake

Hungry Girl por Vida • 

Pumpkin Chocolate Crumb Cake

Donuts, Dresses and Dirt • 

Pumpkin Spice Latte Truffles

Two Red Bowls • 

Pumpkin & Caramelized Onion Galette

The Frosted Vegan • 

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Gingersnaps

Warm Vanilla Sugar • 

Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Ice Cream + Affogato

An Edible Mosaic • 

Pumpkin Spice Latte Snack Cake with Brown Butter Buttercream

Kitchen Konfidence • 

Yeasted Pumpkin Waffles with Candied Ginger

Chocolate + Marrow • 

Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Butter Swirl

The Pig & Quill • 

Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes with Pumpkin Spice Caramel + Coconut Cream

Salt & Wind • 

Apple Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffins with Pepita Streusel

With Food + Love • 

Creamy Pumpkin Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Beets

A Cookie Named Desire • 

Pumpkin Crepes with Cinnamon Ginger Cheesecake

Nommable • 

Pumpkin Moon Pies

Feed Me Phoebe • 

Thai Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp and Bok Choy

The Yellow Table • 

Coconut-Curry Pumpkin Soup

Ginger & Toasted Sesame • 

Pumpkin Ricotta Gnudi

The Crepes of Wrath • 

Pumpkin Pie Cake

The Swirling Spoon • 

Pumpkin Hand Pies

Erin Made This • 

Pumpkin Rye Waffles with Coconut Caramel

Beard and Bonnet • 

Pumpkin Spice Pizzelle Ice Cream Sandwiches

My Name is Yeh • 

Pumpkin Slice and Bake Cookies

Earthy Feast • 

Pumpkin-Stuffed Turnip-Ravioli with Pepita Pesto

Broma Bakery • 

Pumpkin Pie White Chocolate Brownies

Floating Kitchen • 

Pumpkin Beertail with Tequila and Spiced Rum

The Sugar Hit • 

Pumpkin Everything Bagels

The Bojon Gourmet • 

Pumpkin Flatbread with Gruyére and Crispy Sage (gluten-free)

Sprinkled with Jules • 

Pumpkin Spice French Macarons

Feast + West • 

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Toffee Bark

Jojotastic • 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rimming Sugar

Fix Feast Flair • 

Japanese Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with Quick Caramel

Appeasing a Food Geek • 

Pumpkin Ale Cake

Tending the Table • 

Roasted Pumpkin with Tamarind and Coriander Chutney

Long Distance Baking • 

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

 + 

Pumpkin Pancakes

My Blue & White Kitchen • 

Roasted Pumpkin Risotto with Crispy Prosciutto

Fork Vs. Spoon • 

Pumpkin Buttermilk Pudding

Alyssa & Carla • 

Pumpkin Tea Bread (in a Coffee Can!)

Twin Stripe • 

Pumpkin Spice Toffee

Le Jus d'Orange • 

Lentil-Stuffed Acorn Squash, Crispy King Oyster Bacon + Aged Goat Cheese

The Scratch Artist • 

Japanese Pumpkin Temaki with Ginger Kale Chips

Brewing Happiness • 

Caramelized Apple Pumpkin Muffins

Blogging Over Thyme • 

Homemade Candied Pecan Pumpkin Ice Cream Drumsticks

Heartbeet Kitchen • 

Pumpkin Swirled Mashed Potatoes

The Speckled Palate • 

Pumpkin Brown Butter Streusel Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese Glaze

Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt • 

Pumpkin Gingersnap Pie

Fork to Belly • 

Pumpkin Orange Brulee Pie

Tasty Yummies • 

Grain-Free Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Påte á Chew • 

Pumpkin Almond Cake with Almond Butter Frosting

Holly & Flora • 

Pumpkin Pie Martini with Coconut Cream + Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Southern Soufflé • 

Sorghum Pumpkin Soufflés

SugarHero! • 

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Pound Cake

Okie Dokie Artichokie • 

Creamy Pumpkin and Chorizo Pasta Bake, Cheese Tortellini, Sage-Mascarpone Sauce, Toasted Hazelnuts

Kale & Caramel • 

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Polenta with Brown Butter Thyme Mushrooms & Kale

The Little Epicurean • 

Maple Pumpkin Butter Brioche Toast

Vigor and Sage • 

Maple Pumpkin Harvest Smoothie

Tried and Tasty • 

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

Sprouted Routes • 

Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Risotto with Sweet & Spicy Roasted Pepitas (gluten free)

The Fauxmartha • 

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

So... Let's Hang Out • 

Grain-Free Apple Crumble Pumpkin Pie

Wit & Vinegar • 

Pumpkin Flaxseed Dog Treats

Dunk & Crumble • 

Pumpkin Roundup

Biscuits and Such • 

Pumpkin Pound Cake

Happy Pumpkin Season!!

Baking School with The Kitchn, Week 4

Baking School with The Kitchn, Week 4

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting