Greg’s birthday was last week and we have a tradition of celebrating it with two other friends who are also Leos. I set out to make a festive cake for three guys who love good food and drink. Enter Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Guinness Chocolate Cake.
Nigella Lawson is often described as being a “sensual” cook. Not only because she is gorgeous to look at, but because she makes indulgent, decadent food, especially for dessert. This cake is a good example. It was a treat for all the senses. It’s a dark, damp, rich cake topped with a creamy frosting that recalls the frothy head of a pint of Guinness. It’s the kind of cake that makes you involuntarily whimper out loud.
As a Guinness-loving lass, I know that it can be a magical ingredient in cooking and baking. I use it in my beef stew on St. Patrick’s Day. Here again, the beer really elevates the chocolate flavor and lends a dark tang to this recipe. It also makes for a wet batter that yields an incredibly moist crumb that is springy but melts in your mouth. Lawson uses a 9-inch springform for this cake, but I used my 10-inch pan and it came out perfectly. This recipe is a knockout!
Chocolate Guinness Cake
from Nigella Lawson’s Feast
For the Cake
1 cup Guinness
1 stick plus 2 tblsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tblsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
For the Topping
8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and line a 9 or 10 inch springform pan.
2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter in spoons or slices, and heat until the butter is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and baking soda.
3. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. (Mine came out after 55 minutes, when moist crumbs stuck to a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake). Leave to cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
4. When the cake is cold, slide it onto a flat platter or cake stand and make the frosting. In a standing mixer, lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sift over the confectioners’ sugar and then beat them both together. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.