Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Deadly Chocolate Guinness Cake

 Photos taken on my phone using Instagram

After an amazing weekend sometimes I find that on Tuesday I'm still basking in its afterglow, and on these rare occasions it feels like a  little bit like the weekend has lived on into the week. I had one of those weekends last weekend, and I think it's because I did two things that felt like big accomplishments. First, I ran my second half-marathon in Dublin, and it felt amazing. Apart from crossing the finish line and regaining sensation in my legs, the most amazing part was feeling completely justified in spending the rest of the day with my girlfriends in my pajamas and woolly socks, and naturally eating everything I could lay my hands on.

The second achievement of the weekend was finally making a chocolate Guinness cake. I'd spotted and sampled this cake (which is unlike any other chocolate cake you'll ever try, trust me) in one of my favourite Dublin cafes, and was keen to master the art of the Guinness bake myself. Well, it's only about five months later, but here it is.

I used Nigella Lawson's recipe, which has a very generous amount of sugar, fat and stout in it ... just close your eyes while you're weighing out the ingredients. I took it out of the oven even though I wasn't sure that it was properly baked and I think this is the trick, because the charm of the Guinness cake is its heady, damp texture. You really don't want to dry this beauty out. My cake sunk a little in the middle, and had a beautiful cracked black surface as it cooled. The topping is a combination of cream cheese, double cream and icing sugar, and though it looks very pretty and makes the cake look like a frothy pint of the good stuff, I found it too much and had to scrape it off my slice. Next time I think a dusting of icing sugar will be enough, and maybe a spoonful of ice-cream on the side instead.

Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness Cake (from www.nigella.com)


For the cake
  • 250 ml Guinness
  • 250 grams unsalted butter
  • 75 grams cocoa powder
  • 400 grams caster sugar
  • 142 ml sour cream
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tablespoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 275 grams Plain flour
  • 2.5 teaspoon(s) bicarbonate of soda
For the topping
  • 300 grams cream cheese
  • 150 grams Icing sugar
  • 125 ml double cream (or whipping cream)


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