A few weeks ago, my friend Dave had his 21st birthday. As it was during exam period, it was left semi-uncelebrated. So on Saturday we decided to do a bit of a belated celebration. So I made cake. Obviously.
Dave is Northern Irish. Dave likes Guinness. So when I saw this cake while browsing the archives of Design*Sponge made by the fabulous Katie of What Katie Ate it reminded me of the Nigella original and I had to make it for him.
On Friday night we all went to a white tie ball - the Trinity College Commemeration Ball. It was my last ball at Oxford and I have to say it was by far the best. The food was great (we had oysters, eton mess, falafel wraps, noodles, hog roast, breakfast baps at 4am etc etc), the champagne and cocktails were flowing all night, the music and fairground rides gave constant entertainment and we didn't get home until 6am when the sun had fully risen. I slept for four hours (after taking my vintage 1950's full length red velvet gown with proper petticoats off) and then started making this cake.
The smell of the Guinness made me feel a bit nauseous as the cocktails started to wear off.
Despite my lack of sleep, the cake came together easily. It's very rich and dense but doesn't have an overwhelming taste of Guinness. The fluffy and slightly tangy icing contrasts beautifully. All in all, it's a great recipe.
Chocolate Guinness Cake
(adapted from Nigella Lawson's Feast)
For the cake:
250g unsalted butter
75g best quality cocoa powder
400g caster sugar
140ml sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line and grease a 23cm/9" springform tin (or a angel food cake tin of about 10"). Pour the Guinness into a large pan and put over a medium heat. Add the butter and cocoa and whisk until the butter has melted and the mixture is combined. Turn off the heat. Scrape down the sides as you go. Whisk in the sugar. Beat the eggs, sour cream and vanilla together in a medium bowl then whisk them into the mixture. Finally whisk in the flour and bicarb. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 45-60 minutes - you want a skewer to come out with damp crumbs, not totally clean but not with raw mixture. Place onto a cooling rack and leave to cool.
For the icing:
200g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
75ml double cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream to soft peaks. Transfer it out of the bowl into a medium sized bowl, scraping the mixer bowl down. Put the cream cheese into the mixer bowl and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the icing sugar, scraping down as you go. Beat until smooth and lump-free. Finally transfer the whipped cream back into the mixer bowl and fold in. Smooth over the top of the cooled cake, leaving the sides free to create the idea of a pint of guinness.
(Makes about 14-16 slices)