Baking and beer make ideal union

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This recipe is a collaboration with a customer of Beer Central in the Moor Market - Becca Crofts of Petal and Parchment

This cake, which features in the Sheffield Cookbook: Second Helpings takes its name from the beer that makes it, Thornbridge Cocoa Wonderland, a deep, rich chocolate porter made in collaboration with Cocoa Wonderland on Ecclesall Road. 
For the cake

340g plain flour

1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp fine sea salt

320ml Thornbrige Cocoa Wonderland

215g unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature

100g cocoa powder

280g golden caster sugar

250g light brown muscovado sugar

215g soured cream

2 eggs and 2 egg yolks

2 tsp vanilla paste/essence

2 tsp coffee essence


80ml Thornbridge Cocoa Wonderland

80g caster sugar

For the beer essence:

100ml Thornbridge Cocoa Wonderland
For the cake and beer syrup, Preheat the oven to 175°c (160°c fan). 
Grease and line three 20cm cake tins. Sift together the flour,bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. 
Put the Cocoa Wonderland and butter into a large pan. Heat over a medium heat until the butter has melted, then whisk in the cocoa powder and sugars. Remove from the heat. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soured cream, eggs, yolks, vanilla and coffee essences then combine with the Cocoa Wonderland mixture.

Finally, whisk in the flour mixture until smooth.

Divide the mixture between the cake tins and bake for 25 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. Meanwhile, make the beer syrup while the cake bakes. 
Combine the Cocoa Wonderland and sugar in a small pan. Without stirring, place over a medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the liquid is slightly thickened.Remove the cakes from the oven and immediately skewer the cakes all over. Brush liberally with the beer syrup.

Allow to cool completely.

For the beer essence, add the Cocoa Wonderland to a small pan and gently simmer until reduced to one-quarter of its initial volume. Remove from the heat and chill.

For the buttercream, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool. Combine the egg whites and sugar in a large heatproof bowl. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk intermittently until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture feels warm and smooth when rubbed between your fingertips Remove from the pan and mix on high speed using an electric whisk (or in a free-standing electric mixer with a whisk attachment), until a meringue which holds medium-stiff peaks forms; about eight minutes. The bowl should have returned to room temperature.

If using a free-standing mixer, swap to the paddle attachment. Mixing slowly, gradually add the butter. Switch to high speed and beat until the buttercream is smooth; about five minutes. Fold in the cooled melted chocolate and beer essence.

To assemble, sandwich the sponges together using the buttercream, finishing with buttercream on top.

Slice and enjoy!