Monday, February 1, 2010

Chocolate Guinness Cake

While searching for a chocolate cake recipe, I kept stumbling across glowing references to Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness Cake.  I am usually not a fan of chocolate cake, or chocolate ice cream for that matter.  I often find that chocolate cake doesn't taste at all like chocolate and chocolate ice cream just tastes chalky.  And while I recognize that stouts can be quite chocolate-y and pair wonderfully with some desserts, the thought of making a chocolate cake with Guinness in it sounded a little weird.  But since literally EVERYONE online was raving about the cake and it sounded intriguing I figured I had to try it.  I was almost dissuaded because I could only find recipes with measurements in grams and Celsius, but eventually I stumbled across a copy of the recipe that had been converted into cups and Fahrenheit on the Washington Post website.  Perfect!

The batter of this cake is very dark and rich.  It's also a very wet batter.  This is definitely not a box mix chocolate cake or a devil's food cake.  Nigella described the cake as having a "resonant, ferrous tang" (which in my mind translates to an irony taste), which doesn't sound that great to me.  Luckily, I don't taste any iron in the cake.  I also don't taste the Guinness, but I can't decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  This cake is also a little less moist than I thought it would be, considering how wet the batter was.  Granted, wet batter doesn't always translate into moist cake, but in this instance it really seemed like it would.  But overall, this is a really nice, not too sweet chocolate cake!  Plus the cream cheese icing is delicious - not too sweet, but nice and cream cheesy.

And, this cake really does get better the second day.  I'm not sure how or why that is, but it's true.  It tasted even moister 24 hours after I cooked it than it did 6 hours after.  Go figure.

Recipe after the jump!

Chocolate Guinness Cake
By Nigella Lawson

1 cup Guinness stout (not the whole can)
1 stick unsalted butter, sliced
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups granulated sugar (superfine, if possible)
¾ cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
8 ounce cream cheese
1 cup confectioners' sugar
½ cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper.  Pour Guinness into a large saucepan, add butter and heat until melted.  Whisk in cocoa powder and sugar.  In a small bowl, beat sour cream with eggs and vanilla and then pour into beer mixture.  Whisk in flour and baking soda.  Pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes to an hour.  Leave to cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.  When cake is cold, gently peel off parchment paper and transfer to a platter or cake stand.

Place cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in a mixing bowl, and whip with an electric beater, until smooth.  Add cream and beat again until you have a spreadable consistency.  Ice top of cake, starting at middle and fanning out, so that it resembles the frothy top of a pint of Guinness.

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