Monday 17 March 2014

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Today we honour St Patrick for ridding Ireland of snakes, making everyone wear green, and for introducing us to chocolate Guinness cake.

Well, none of that may be true, but I feel like I need an excuse to make this cake, and what better reason than St Patrick's Day. It's really not celebrated much here in Scotland compared to the American towns of my youth, though pubs certainly like to advertise specials on Irish beers when this holiday hits the calendar. I feel this is one of those cakes that really does taste as good as it looks. It is rich and damp in texture without being overly sweet or gaggingly rich, and the creamy topping balances everything nicely, both in flavour and in its appearance, bringing out the deep black of the stout infused cake.

And what's even better is that things don't need to be room temperature before you begin, as you just make it all in a pot before pouring it into a springform tin for the oven.

We started with the best ingredients available...yes, no less than Tesco everyday value butter and Lidl's finest plain flour. I am using vanilla paste more than extract lately not necessarily out of any preference for the flavour, but because of licensing laws. You see, here you can't buy alcohol before 10am, and I like to do my visits to the supermarket just after dropping off children at school and nursery, usually around 9am. What this means is that I can't buy vanilla extract at this hour, as it contains alcohol, but I  can buy vanilla paste, which doesn't have any booze. So hooray for vanilla paste.

First I measured 250ml of Guiness. You'll notice my pyrex jug uses Imperial pints.

Into a pot went the beer with some butter. This is not what Harry Potter gets served in Diagon Alley.

Once that was all melted together I added cocoa and sugar.

It was a bit whisk-y, but I did it anyway.

Then I added sour cream, eggs, and vanilla.

And last but not least, the flour and baking soda. As nigella says, it's like a gingerbread without the spices.

All that was stirred up until it looks combined enough to make me happy. Then I carefully poured it into a springform tin I had lined with greaseproof baking paper and put it in the oven. It took a long time to cook.

But eventually it came out looking like this! It did sink slightly, even with the knife coming out clean when I tested it, but I was ready and hoping for that, as it means it won't end up dried out inside. Again, very like gingerbread.

Once it had cooled (a couple hours later) I put some cream cheese in a bowl. Some of it was Philadelphia, the rest was "classic cream cheese" from Lidl.

This is it looking slightly more appetising after meeting my electric egg beaters.

Over it went some icing sugar.

And it was whipped again, just like Devo said to do.

Go forward, move the cream.

Until it was "spreadable consistency".

Onto the cake it went. I was tempted to just leave it like this but I couldn't resist using my palette knife.

So I gave it a rough smoothing out before returning my attention to dinner preparations. I'll get back to posting dinner stuff again sometime, but just not today. Because today is St Patmeonthebackrick Day, where you drink green beer and eat chocolate Guinness cake. Really.

And, if you want to recreate this experience at home, just follow these instructions:

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