My husband Brian is turning 35 this week! It’s hard for both of us to believe how fast time flies. It feels like just a few years ago we would flirtingly stare each other down in the hallways at Conway High School. It’s not the typical “high school sweetheart story” though. We dated for a few months and when he graduated, we agreed to go separate ways. Two years later, we ended up at a mutual friend’s house while I was visiting from Springfield, MO where I was living at the time, and we exchanged email addresses and a few weeks later I moved back home (for other reasons, but I can’t lie and say he wasn’t a catalyst), and the rest is history! Now we’ve gone through quite a bit to be where we are 13 years after that night we exchanged emails, with several moves, two young kids, a blooming eye care practice, a dog, and a 60’s modern split level house that we’ve been working on for the last 3 years. It’s been quite the adventure, and although it’s not perfect, he still somehow ends up deserving a big ol’ chocolate cake for his birthday.
I was at the liquor store a couple weeks ago and while I was grabbing some Sam Adams Cold Snap for him, I noticed Shiner had a “Birthday Beer” out. I thought it’d be fun to surprise him with some for his birthday, so I grabbed the sixer they had and hid them in the pantry. I didn’t even notice they were a chocolate stout until I got them home. I knew then that some would have to be made into his birthday cake! The Beeroness is an amazing resource for cooking with beer, so I knew I’d find a great starting point on her blog. This cake is adapted from her recipe for chocolate stout cake. I wanted to put my own spin on it, so I decided what a better pairing then beer and potato chips?! Salty + sweet is the yin to the yang, so it was a no brainer for a man’s birthday cake! I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Dark chocolate ganache is probably my favorite frosting to work with- it’s just so easy and the absolute perfect amount of sweetness + smoothness + richness. The vanilla and bourbon added to it were just for the sake of the indulgence that are Birthdays!
The batter made SO much, so I ended up just filling two 9 inch cake pans and making a 2 layer cake, and 12 cupcakes. I froze all the cupcakes for later, because ain’t no way I need a birthday cake AND a dozen cupcakes lingering around the house. This way I’ll have a fantastic last minute dessert when company comes over next! But if you’re having a party, make a 3 layer cake with 3 9-inch pans. Or you can make a ton of cupcakes and put one chocolate covered chip on each cupcake. I’m doing that someday… maybe 6 years from now when I work off the calories from this cake!
I made the dark chocolate covered chips the night before and put them in the fridge to see if they’d stay crispy to let you know how far ahead you can make them. They were super crispy and delicious almost 36 hours later! So feel free to make these ahead of time. Also, feel free to make more than the cake needs so you can snack on them, because they’re magic! I thought about making a gorgeous decoration by sticking them in the cake halfway in a spiral pattern, but I thought “It’s for a man.” A messy pile of chocolate covered potato chips on top of a dark chocolate stout cake is exactly what he never knew he wanted! The crushed chips along the bottom were just because I couldn’t help myself. It begged for them. It evened out the texture as far as styling goes.
Guys, this cake is rich. Oh so rich. If you serve it cold like I did, it becomes a smooth, non-crumbly mouthful of perfectly sweet-salty goodness without overtaking the back of your teeth with sugar. It’s indulgent in the exact way it should be.
On another note, the Birthday Beer alone is seriously good! It tastes like a Tootsie Roll, but less sweet, and in a good way, if you can possibly imagine that in a beer. I’d recommend one for a fun birthday treat!
Happy birthday to my husband, my partner in crime. He’s the salty to my sweet. The dark chocolate to my potato chip. Now excuse me, I have to go sneak a chip off the top of that cake in the fridge. Click the link below the pictures to steal this recipe! You’re going to want to, believe me.