Stout Cakes Can Make Your Hlaloween Party More Fun
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If you're scouting ideas for Halloween bakes, don't overlook boozy cakes. Don't forget one of the easiest ways to make a cake moister is by adding beer to it. Stout, or strongly alcoholic beer (like a Guinness), adds substantial moisture to a cake’s layers and also deepens the other strong flavours in the cake, be it chocolate, caramel or coffee. 

To understand why stout cakes work better, it's key that you understand what alcohol can do for desserts. While some bakers include alcohol in the baking mix, some experts recommend using the booze component without cooking it to help it show up in the cake's profile. 

If you're using booze to bake for the first time, add alcohol to a syrup to soak the cake layers in or fold a little into the frosting or the whipped cream. A classic layered chocolate stout cake works a lot better for a Halloween or a Christmas bash, where a simple chocolate sponge would not suffice. 

Stout Over Rum & Bourbon? 

While rum is often considered the go-to booze for desserts, be it baked or soaked, other options may work better if you're looking for a more enhanced taste or a headier taste. Bourbon, for instance, can work great in certain cakes. It is often aged in oak barrels, giving it a smoky vanilla flavour. So it can work like a boozy vanilla or almond extract which can be added into pie filling, cake mix, and cookie dough. 

If you're looking for a sweeter profile in your cakes, red wine or brandy can work really well in syrupy glazes. Vodka, on the other hand, only works for a handful of recipes. It can help make a pie dough flakier, although it may not agree with other ingredients. Both rum and wine are ideal for cakes that are soaked after cooking, like sticky toffee pudding or soaked butter cakes. Stout, however, helps cakes hold on to their flavour, freshness as well as texture. 

Stout gives the cake a complex finish and the hops from the beer act as a counterpoint to the sugar in the cake. This also lends the beer some undertones of coffee, caramel, and cream alongside a malty chocolate finish. 

Carbonation Is Key 

Carbonation is also a reason why stout cakes are a better option if you're planning to store them in the fridge for a week or so. Nevertheless, the main reason for its inclusion in baking is all thanks to carbonation. The carbonation in stout beer can help the cake rise and create a lighter texture. It can also help tenderise the gluten in the flour, resulting in a moist and tender crumb.

The airy beads in beer act as a leavening agent and prevent the cake mix from becoming rigid. For the deepest chocolate flavour, use Dutch-process cocoa powder, which is less acidic than natural cocoa and thus complements the stout quite well. This chocolate also works really well in ganache. If you're using a cake mix, put them in with oil, beer and eggs to add in the flavour early.