Friday, March 15, 2013

Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness Cake for St. Patrick's Day

My husband is Irish-American. 100% Irish on both sides, so as you can imagine, Saint Patrick's Day is an official holiday in our house. Now, we aren't the green beer and pot of gold Irish, we are the corned beef and shepherd's pie dinner at home type. There must be good beer, of course, but we make sure it's Guinness and Smithwicks with a round of Irish Coffee and Bushmills for an aperitif.

Since I first picked up Nigella Lawson's Feast in 2004, I have been making the Chocolate Guinness Cake religiously in celebration of the Irish Saint’s holiday. My husband and I starting dating again in 2005 (a story for another time), but I have been an avid Guinness drinker since 1997. The glorious elixir which a friend of mine dubbed "steak in a can" has been my beer of choice since I first tasted it when I studied in London for a summer. Chocolate Guinness cake is the perfect combination of chocolate and malt without being too sweet. The addition of a tangy sour cream icing balances cake and stout.

Now, I could have left out the fact that I have made this before (If you were to pick up my copy of Feast, it would open itself to the Chocolate Guinness Cake page) and make this a cookbook challenge post, but I just couldn't lie to you. Try it and you will want to add this recipe to your annual to do list!

Chocolate Guinness Cake
Adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson

2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup Guinness stout beer
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 batch Cream Cheese Icing (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 9" springform pan or grease and line the bottom of two 8" round pans with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl sift flour and baking soda together. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, mix butter and Guinness. Once butter is melted, whisk in sugar and cocoa powder. Turn off heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl whisk together sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Whisk in cooled Guinness mixture. Slowly mix in flour mixture until everything is incorporated.

Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake for 45-60 minutes for the springform pan or 35-45 minutes for the two 8" pans or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not over bake.

Cool completely. Ice with cream cheese icing (below) to look like a foaming stout pint of Guinness, pun intended.

Serves 10-12

Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a mixer, cream the cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add 1/2 powdered sugar then half the heavy cream. Mix until smooth. Add remaining powdered sugar and then heavy cream and continue to mix until smooth and spreadable.

As a side note, I have adapted the Guinness Cake recipe in more recent years by using Jameson Buttercream Icing and Bailey's Ganache instead of the cream-cheese icing to become what I have come to call St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes (also known as the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes). But... I have to save something for St. Patrick's Day next year! 


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