Volcano Stout

Chocolate Stout Lava Cake ft. Habenero Ganache + Dark Chocolate Shards

This remix was inspired by beer-brewing birthday boy Ben, the creator of the subtly explosive Volcano Stout beer. Ben is a home brewer and the Volcano Stout is first beer he brewed in NYC and one of my favorites that he has brewed, period: a smooth chocolate-y stout with a spicy aftertaste. I can't take credit for the name - Ben says the name came from the 'sweet opening, time delay, and eventual eruption of heat' from the beer.

I also followed his lead and used the habanero peppers only to infuse the liquids (stout for the cake and cream for the ganache) in the recipe - there should be no habanero pepper remnants in your cake or you can say hasta la vista to your taste buds. You may want to wear plastic gloves while handling the peppers - I made the mistake of not doing so during the Volcano Stout test run and my hands suffered the heated wrath of the habaneros for the rest of the night.

This is a smooth chocolate cake with a habanero-infused stout that gives a bit of kick and a second kick comes in the form of the habanero-infused ganache poured on top. You can use dark chocolate for a super-dark volcanic ganache or red candy melts if viscous magma is more your thing. The red ganache would actually make excellent blood for a Halloween cake, but that's another cake for another day...

Happy Birthday Ben!

chocolate stout lava cake
1 box dark chocolate cake mix
1-1/4 c. milk stout beer
3-4 habanero peppers
4 eggs
1/3 c. vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, grease pan with butter or a non-stick spray like PAM. Rinse habanero peppers, slice off ends, and slice each pepper into 2-3 thick rings - being careful not to touch pith or seeds with bare fingers. Pour stout beer into a small bowl with the sliced peppers for 60 seconds. Strain the peppers from the stout, leaving the beer infused with the heat of the habaneros. Save the peppers for spicing the ganache cream and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, oil, and habanero-infused stout until smooth. Slowly add in cake mix, beating well after each addition. Pour batter into greased 8โ€ round pans and bake for 5 minutes less than the  times on the back of the box. Baking at a higher temperature than usual (375 versus 350) will cause the perimeter and outside of the cake to bake quicker, leaving the inside slightly molten.

habanero ganache
10 oz. red candy melts OR dark chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
3-4 habanero peppers (same as the cake)
Similar to the stout in the cake, pour heavy cream and sliced habanero peppers into the same bowl for 60 seconds. Strain peppers from cream and set aside.

In a small saucepan on the stovetop, bring habanero-infused cream to a boil. Remove from heat, added in chopped chocolate or candy melts, and whisk mixture until blended. Let cool and thicken 5-10 minutes without hardening. Set cake on a wire cooling rack on top of a baking sheet and pour ganache onto cooled cake, letting ganache run down the sides. Place in the freezer immediately for 5-10 minutes so the ganache will harden mid-drip.

Garnish with shards/pieces of dark chocolate and serve at room temperature.

dark chocolate shards
Starting with a bar of dark chocolate, use a large knife to chop chocolate into large and small shards. Set aside to garnish cupcakes or cake.

volcano stout cupcakes
For cupcake versions, use an ice cream scoop to fill liners with batter and bake on 375 degrees for 12-16 minutes, leaving cupcake interiors a little molten - test with a toothpick. Use a spoon to drizzle or pour habanero ganache over cupcakes, letting the ganache run to the edge of the cupcake liner. 

For serving, layer cupcake in a second liner and sprinkle with dark chocolate shards/shavings.