Thursday, July 14, 2011

CoCoNut PorTeR Chocolate Cake with Toasted Coconut Frosting

CoCoNut PorTeR Chocolate Cake
CoCoNut PorTeR Chocolate Cake - A new favorite
  There is a reason I avoid baking, it is just dangerous you see.

This recipe is a prime example. It has taken me months to actually bake this, mulling it over and summing up my courage. Not that this is a difficult recipe -- not in the least, it is the rich decadent calories and overindulgent caramel goodness that was destined to send me into a food coma that I was trying to avoid. No so good on the will power when it comes to chocolate cake, it seems.

For as long as I can remember, either my Mom or Dad would bake a German's Chocolate cake for special occasions, mostly birthdays. Four tiers high with the coconut frosting dripping from each layer, the outside surrounded by freshly whipped cream.  If I was lucky, there might be left overs for breakfast. Occasionally my son will make it his special request, because he loves the cake that Grandpa made. So the tradition lives on. But that is a very time consuming BIG cake. Couldn't I find something a little different?

The inspiration came a couple of years ago when I first tasted the rich, creamy porter at the Maui Brewing Company in Hawaii. Inspired by beer, really? Why not, you may have heard of Guinness Chocolate Cake, that Nigella Lawson created and well loved since the 2004 reprint in the New York Times.  So why not make a tropical twist to this dense, chocolaty and decidedly decadent chocolate cake. Toasted coconut, required. Premium cocoa powder, of course. Quirky Hawaiian Porter Beer, why not! While the frosting might remind you of the German's favorite, cooking the caramel mixture a bit longer to deepen the flavors and toasting the coconut takes it out of the familiar and into something fresh and new. Aloha my friends.

CoCoNut PorTeR Chocolate Cake Slice
Do you dare to indulge?
Click Read More for full recipe

CoCoNut PorTeR Chocolate Cake
with Toasted Coconut Frosting
Serves 12
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 1 hour

1 cup Maui Brewing Company CoCoNut PorTeR Beer
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick, plus 2 tablespoons)
2 cups superfine sugar
1 oz Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Dark Chocolate Baking Bar
⅜ cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
⅜ cup Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°
Butter and flour and line bottom 9” spring form pan with parchment paper (Don’t forget to butter/flour top of paper as well.)
Sift dry ingredients in large bowl, set aside.
In a small bowl, beat eggs and whisk together with sour cream and vanilla.

  1. Melt butter over low heat in medium sauce pan, add porter and sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar thoroughly, add dark chocolate pieces. Turn off heat, stir to melt all chocolate and cool.
  2. Pour about a ¼ cup of butter/beer mixture into egg/sour cream mixture, stir together to temper before adding rest of butter/beer to wet ingredients. Whisk until fully incorporated and smooth.
  3. Add liquid to dry ingredients, whisk or beat on low with hand mixer until completely blended and glossy.
  4. Pour into spring form pan, give it a little shake to make sure batter is evenly distributed. Bake on middle rack of oven for about an hour. This is a very moist cake, and make sure the middle cooks completely before removing from oven, as it might fall if underdone.
  5. Cool completely in pan on wire rack before removing from spring form.

Toasted Coconut Frosting
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks, beaten
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup toasted sweetened shredded coconut (not flaked) ¼ cup reserved
1 cup chopped roasted pecans

Roast/Toast pecans and coconut, on a cookie sheet, single layer at 375° oven for about 5-6 minutes. Check mid-point to avoid burning. Coconut should be tipped brown on top, to sweet crunchy white on the bottom. Set aside to cool. Medium chop pecans, not to fine suits me.

Over medium heat, melt butter In small saucepan, add sugar, cream and vanilla. Bring to a low boil and stir continuously as it cooks for 15-20 minutes until thick and dark caramel colored. Remove from heat and add pecans and ¾ cup of toasted coconut. Cool to spreading consistency and cover top of chocolate cake. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup toasted coconut.

Cook’s Tips
If you don’t have superfine sugar, use your blender or food process and pulse until the suger crystals are broken down and refined. Works like a charm.
You can substitute other dark beers, there is a great variety of chocolate stouts, porters to play with -- indulge yourself! One for the cake and one for you!

Ingredient Resources
Ghirardelli Chocolate
Scharffen Berger Dark Chocolate
Maui Brewing Company CoCoNut Porter

Chocolate Guinness Cake
From Feast by Nigella Lawson (reprinted in the New York Times on 12/8/04)


  1. OK, I'm clawing at the screen, Robin! This cake looks like the most seductive, ultimate chocolate experience, heightened by the tropical lilt and fragrance of coconut. My oh my. Baking is indeed dangerous but this kind of decadence is worth it.

    Congrats on this beautiful and utterly yummy creation!! As always your culinary adventures remind me just how amazing and celebratory food can be :)

  2. Hi Jenn,
    Thanks so much for cruzing but, but please don't scratch up your monitor!

    I think it will be awhile before I bake again. I think I must take the dogs for a few walks and maybe join a gym hee hee... I am not so good at moderation. Kinda glad it is all gone thanks to the darling dear and son and his girlfriend.


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