When Janine at Cake of the Week challenged us to make something using beer for her Baking With Spirit blog event, my mind immediately went to Nigella's chocolate Guinness cake. I don't drink beer but always wondered what this cake was like - it's featured in her recipe book Feast, which I have at home. We also had a bake sale coming up at work and I figured that even if I didn't like the cake, there might be beer drinkers in my office who did! But as it turned out, the cake was absolutely delicious, and didn't particularly taste like it contained Guinness - in fact it was one of the nicest chocolate cakes I've ever made!
I think Nigella herself puts it best when she says: "This cake is magnificent in its damp blackness. I can't say that you can absolutely taste the stout in it, but there is certainly a resonant, ferrous tang which I happen to love. The best way of describing it is to say that it's like gingerbread without the spices."
The recipe is available on her website here or in her book Feast.
Measure out the Guinness
Pour into a saucepan, with 250g butter - a whole pack, which seemed like quite a lot! Allow the butter to melt and mix well.
Add 400g caster sugar and 75g cocoa powder. At this point you will have a thick, dark mixture (and you should have turned off the heat by now).
Add 142ml sour cream and mix gently. I realised too late that I was supposed to beat the sour cream with 2 eggs and a dash of vanilla first, then mix it in, but I didn't read the recipe properly. So I added the cream first, then the other ingredients - it seemed to work fine.
Slowly add 275g plain flour and 2.5 tsp bicarb of soda and carefully fold in. This is the first time I've made an entire cake in a saucepan!
Pour into the tin. Nigella's quantities state this is for a 23cm tin, though I don't know how deep hers would be. I have to admit I don't actually know how big any of my cake tins are and I just use the same one for most of my cakes - I ought to get around to measuring it! It must be smaller than 23cm though, as the tin is quite deep and I found I had enough mixture to fill two tins!
Bake for 45 mins at 180C. When the cakes come out of the oven, they are literally black! It made me think they had burned but in fact they were cooked to the perfect consistency, and still nice and soft on top - the black colour comes from the Guinness!
Here's a slightly better picture showing the black colour of the cake
To make the topping, whisk 300g cream cheese with 150g icing sugar
Add 125ml double cream and beat again until it is fairly thick
I also decided that because I had two cakes, I would sandwich them together with a chocolate filling; I used buttercream mixed with a little of the leftover sour cream.
Spread the filling on the bottom cake. I didn't go right to the edge as the cake looked fairly heavy and I didn't want the one on top to make the filling ooze out.
Spoon the topping onto the cake; the idea is that it looks like the froth on top of a pint of Guinness. Which I think it does!
Ta da.... as I said, I was very impressed by this cake and pleased that I have finally found something to do the next time I have leftover beer after a party!
I am sending this to Baking with Spirit as the ingredient this month is beer.
I am also sending this to the linkup party This Week's Cravings at Mom's Crazy Cooking