Guinness goodness

Ever since my parents left NC in mid-April, Eleanor has been asking to celebrate a birthday- anyone’s birthday. Since we were months (many months) away from celebrating hers again, we compromised; when we arrived in Montanan, I told her, we would have a birthday cake to celebrate her dad’s (in July) and Grandpa’s (which we missed in May) birthdays. This seemed reasonable to her and she relented with the requests.
Until we landed in Montana. After just a day or two of being there, she came to me one morning and requested a “chocolate happy birthday cake (this is what she calls them…happy birthday cakes, lest they be confused with  unhappy birthday cakes). I couldn’t say no. That afternoon I made my way to a bookstore to find internet access to make sure that my email vacation responder was set and that our bills had been paid. Waiting for my brother to find a book to read, I stopped by Design*Sponge, where I saw this post for Nigella Lawson’s Guinness Chocolate Cake. I had resigned myself to making a chocolate cake out of the box, but when I saw this recipe (both Tim and my dad enjoy a good Guinness) I had no problem jumping tracks.

The cake was a HUGE hit- moist, dense, chocolate-y goodness with a thick layer of (not too) sweet frosting to finish it off. Even Eleanor agreed.

All that remained of Eleanor’s slice of happy birthday cake.

Guinness Chocolate Cake
{NOTE: Because it was all I could find in this small Montana town, I used Hersey’s baking cocoa powder, and I don’t think cake suffered as a result so don’t feel as though you need to search high and low for any special cocoa powder (although, the higher the quality, the better, I’m sure). I did sift all ingredients as directed which is not something I normally do, but my grandmother had the loveliest old sifter that I just couldn’t help myself. Next time I make this, and there will be a next time, I will be sure to do this again. Finally, I was a little behind in getting the frosting ready, so my bowl was not quite cold enough when I tried to whip the cream. It was much more runny than I would have liked, but still incorporated into the frosting nicely. So if this happens to you, don’t panic.}

Cake Ingredients
  • 250 g (1 c. and 2 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 250 ml (1 c.) Guinness
  • 75 g Dutch process cocoa ( 3/4 c.), sifted
  • 275 g (2 +  1/4 c.) all purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 400 g (2 c.)  sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 150 ml (2/3 c.) sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. good quality vanilla extract
Frosting Ingredients
  • 300 g (1 + 1/3 cup) cream cheese
  • 150 g (1+1/2 c.) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 150 ml (2/3 c.) cream, whipped
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

1. Add butter, cocoa and Guinness to a saucepan. Warm over a medium heat and stir until melted. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to cool slightly.
2. Add flour, baking soda and sugar to a large mixing bowl and mix together well. Pour in the Guinness/cocoa/butter mixture, lightly combine, add the vanilla, eggs and sour cream and beat everything together until well combined. The batter should be thick and dark chocolate in color.
3. Pour into a greased and lined 10? angel food pan (or another straight-sided tube pan) and cook in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake.*Note: This cake is very moist inside, so use your judgment regarding the skewer test. Do not leave in the oven until the cake has totally dried out — cook long enough so there is no uncooked cake on the skewer but there may be a few moist crumbs sticking to it after an hour of cooking.  [Please note:  Katie baked this in an 8.5″ x 3.5″ pan.  If you make this in a regular angel food cake pan, you should start checking for doneness at least 15 minutes early.]
4. Leave to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the cake tin and placing on a wire wrack to cool completely.
Frosting Instructions
1. Place the cream cheese into the bowl of a mixer and beat on a low-medium speed using a whisk attachment (I find a paddle attachment tends to over-beat the cheese). Whisk until the cheese is smooth and there are no big lumps remaining.
2. Gradually, using a large spoon, add in the sifted powdered sugar and beat gently to combine. After 2 to 3 minutes, stop the machine, scrape any excess frosting from the sides of the bowl and beat on medium speed until lump free.
3. Remove bowl from mixer and gently fold in the whipped cream, mixing to fully combine.
4. Place cooled cake on a cake stand and add the frosting, spreading out just to the edge without going over the side (never go over the sides of the cake) until the cake resembles a pint of the creamy black stuff! The idea is to capture the essence and simplicity of a pint of Guinness.


4 thoughts on “Guinness goodness

  1. Thank Eleanor for the persistence again . . . and repeated thanks to you for a FABULOUS cake! I’m happy to wait a few months for a delicious celebration. Dad


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