Saturday, 3 March 2012
Chocolate and Guinness? Two of my favourite things! Chocolate Guinness Cake
My relationship with Guinness goes back a long way. The little bit of me that is Irish means that I must have a certain predisposition to liking of the black stuff (utter rubbish actually; I know enough Irish who aren't so keen) it was the only drink I would take during pregnancy on the seldom occasions I was tempted, (Guinness IS good for you), it is the drink of which I would down two pints accompanied by an Irish breakfast at the Irish Centre in Liverpool before myself and other trainee Liverpool schoolteachers would wander back to the university for an afternoon of transformational grammar and how to teach drama. And it is glorious. Creamy, earthy, smooth, dark... an acquired taste for sure, but once acquired, forever loved.
And so, whilst I may have in the not too distant past have poured half a can into a beef stew, finishing the rest of the Guinness in the style of Keith Floyd, I hadn't given a tremendous amount of thought to its cake making properties until I happened upon this glorious cake in 'Cake Days' by the Hummingbird Bakery. What it does to chocolate is really quite delicious, providing a depth of flavour and moistness which is makes it rather rich. Luckily a little goes a long way. The frosting which is cream cheese based gives a tang and a sweetness which matches the moist depths of the chocolate cake really rather well, though my alteration to the recipe is that I doubled the amount of frosting and piped it all into the top of the cake. I had a notion that a Guinness cake should look like the top of a pint of Guinness, and in my mind it does, and it makes me smile much like a pint of Guinness.
So, baking with Guinness. Next, I need to find a recipe for Jameson's whisky and a empty lemonade bottles full of poteen....
Chocolate Guinness Cake, adapted from 'Cake Days' by the Hummingbird Bakery
250ml (9fl oz) Guinness
250g (9oz) unsalted butter
80g (3oz) cocoa powder
400g (14oz) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
140ml (5fl oz) buttermilk
280g (10oz) plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
For the frosting (which I doubled)
50g (1¾oz) unsalted butter, softened
300g (10½oz) icing sugar
125g (4½oz) full-fat cream cheese (such as
Cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F)/gas mark 3, then line the base of a 23cm/9" diameter spring form tin with baking parchment.
Pour the Guinness into a saucepan, add the butter and gently heat until it has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the cocoa powder and sugar into the warm liquid.
Mix together the eggs, vanilla essence and buttermilk and then add this to the mixture in the pan.
Sift together the remaining sponge ingredients into a large bowl or into the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer.
Using the mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand-held electric whisk, set on a low speed, pour in the contents of the pan a bit at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool, and then remove from the tin on to a wire rack, making sure the cake is cold to the touch before you frost it.
Using the electric whisk or the freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, mix the butter and icing sugar together until there are no large lumps of butter and it is fully combined with the sugar in a sandy mixture. Add the cream cheese and mix in a low speed, then increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Place the cooled cake on to a plate or cake card and top generously with the cream cheese frosting. The cake can be decorated with a light dusting of cocoa powder if you like, but I wanted the top of the cake to look like the creamy head on a pint of Guinness, and so left it plain.