The Snake Bite

I made up this recipe for the chocolate cake contest at Food52, which they’re doing in honor of Valentine’s Day.   Here’s the intro I wrote for my contest entry (see if you can catch my attempt at using Danielle Steel-esque language to make a Snake Bite cake seem more Valentine’s Day-y):

This cake was inspired by the oh-so-tasty concoction of lager and cider known as a ‘snake bite.’ For the cake, I’ve replaced the lager with a stout, and have opted for fermented pear cider in place of the more traditional apple. The ever-so-slightly effervescent pear cider cream cheese frosting swoons contentedly upon a truly dark, rich, and delicious chocolate stout cake. 

Anyway, this cake is fun! And absolutely incredibly easy to throw together.  Mix dry stuff in one bowl, wet stuff in another, then mix together and bake.  And just like that, you’ll have a cake! That you baked from scratch! Also, it’s very boozy, which is nice 🙂

Update: My cake wasn’t selected as one of the two finalists, but it was highlighted as an Editor’s Pick. Yahoo!

The Snake Bite

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cups Guinness Extra Stout, at room temperature

For the Frosting:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup fermented pear cider (I like Ace’s)
  • 1 dried pear slice, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a nine-inch round cake pan.
  2. Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sour cream. Then whisk in melted butter and Guinness. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and combine with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Put the softened butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until creamy and well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Slowly pour in the pear cider and mix until the frosting comes together. Let the frosting set up a bit in the refrigerator until the cake is ready to frost.
  5. When the cake is cool, transfer it to a platter. Spread the icing on top of the cake, taking care to push it all the way to the edges. Garnish with a slice of dried pear and enjoy with a glass of pear cider!

9 thoughts on “The Snake Bite

  1. *The Internet Cooking Princess February 2, 2010 / 9:02 pm

    You have the best ideas – this sounds incredible and will be the next cake I make. (Although it could be a few months, I am no cake baker.)

  2. Amri February 6, 2010 / 10:01 pm

    I was trying to find a new and cool cake recipe for my birthday cake this year–And I think I've found a winner! It's in a couple weeks and I'll tell you how it turns out!

  3. arielle clementine February 6, 2010 / 10:04 pm

    oh, thanks Amri- that's so nice of you! i really hope you like it!

  4. Amri February 19, 2010 / 11:45 pm

    Just wanted to say again how much we liked this cake! Moist and chocolate-y! At first we thought, wow this is a lot of icing but the pear cider made it taste light and perfect and made me want more! My only problem were my dried pears which had no pear flavor at all. And they were the only dried pears I could find. Next time, I'm thinking of using a really ripe fresh pear and see if I can get it from that.

  5. arielle clementine February 26, 2010 / 5:32 am

    thank you so much! bummer about your flavorless pear. you're a better woman than i, however. i moved that pear to the side every time i cut a slice and at the end it was all that remained of the snake bite. i think a fresh pear would be really lovely 🙂

  6. stefanie March 27, 2011 / 8:22 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. stefanie March 27, 2011 / 8:31 pm

    I LOVE this idea so much! We're not Guinness fans in my house though so I'd like to adjust the flavor profile of the cake – do you think this would work with Harp or Sam Adams?

    Also, what are your thoughts on turning it into cupcakes?

  8. arielle clementine March 27, 2011 / 11:12 pm

    hi stefanie! thanks! the guiness flavor ends up pretty mild in the finished cake, but it would be cool to experiment with different beers. if it were me, i'd try subbing an ale if you don't like stouts! my sister loves “arrogant bastard” ale, which you can usually buy in a single bottle.

    you could easily turn this into cupcakes- i think the recipe would only make about 12, and i'd start checking them around 18 minutes.

    i'd love to hear how it works!

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