Even when in Ireland I couldn’t bring myself to drink a whole pint of Guinness. I tried a sip or two of the boyfriends (he’s now my husband) but I just couldn’t stomach the intensity of that rich stout. I’m not much of a beer drinker to be frank. I can down a few Corona’s with the best of them, and light ales are my friend, but anything with bitterness or overly hoppy flavours and I just can’t. #sorrynotsorry
But where alcohol is not drinkable, I believe that is just the perfect excuse to create food, namely cake, that can include it instead! And so, with that philosophy in mind, and to celebrate the soon-to-be-upon-us St Patrick’s Day, how about eating cake including Guinness instead of drinking it!? All in favour say “aye!”.
I’ve whipped up a mixture that is brilliantly suited to cupcakes and/or cake and interestingly, that same richness that makes the Guinness unpalatable to me as a drink, is the very same quality it is a most delicious addition to a chocolate cake – full bodied, full flavoured, malty, rich, molasses-like, intense. All these qualities of the Guinness beverage make it the best complement to chocolate because in tandem they bring out the depth of the universal favourite flavour of chocolate beautifully.
I decided not to use chocolate ganache or chocolate flavoured icing on this Chocolate & Guinness Cake for the simple reason that another layer of chocolate would just be chocolate overload. Instead I made a deliciously simple Vanilla Bean Buttercream and added a drizzle of Guinness as it mixed to create a subtle flavour that plays so wonderfully both on top of and layered between this cake. The way a spoonful of cream cuts through the richness of chocolate, so too this subtly flavoured buttercream complements rather than competes with the rich and decadent flavour of this cake.
- 250ml Guinness
- 250g butter
- 75g cocoa powder
- 400g caster sugar
- 1 C sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 2 T vanilla extract
- 275g plain flour
- 2.5 t baking soda
- FOR THE ICING
- 225g unsalted butter
- 2.5 C icing sugar
- 2 T vanilla bean paste
- 3 T Guinness
- 1 T cream
- (more icing sugar if needed)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spray and line your cake tin or cupcake cases depending on your intention (*see notes below)
- Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter and heat until melted.
- Whisk in the cocoa and sugar until the cocoa is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
- Beat together the sour cream and eggs and add the vanilla paste.
- Pour this egg and sour cream mixture into the beer and butter mixture.
- Then gently whisk in the flour and baking soda. Be careful to over-mix.
- Pour the batter into the greased and lined cake and bake for 45 minutes to an hour (or until a toothpick comes out clean). If you are making cupcakes, set the timer for 12 minutes and again, check with a toothpick to determine done-ness.
- Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack before icing.
- When the cake' is completely cold, transfer to a serving dish or cake stand.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the vanilla paste.
- Add the icing sugar a cup at a time until you have a smooth mixture.
- Gradually pour in the Guinness. The icing will likely 'split' **, but just continue to beat it and it will come back together.
- Add more icing sugar as required and then lastly add the cream to smooth it out.
- Once you have the consistency you desire, beat it on high for 3-5 minutes to create a smooth icing.
- Pipe onto the top of the cupcakes or if you have made a layer cake, slice evenly and spread icing in between each layer before placing the next layer of cake on top and finishing finally with an even spread on the final layer.
- Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsieved icing sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.
- 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.
- * I made 1 small 4" cake and 24 cupcakes with this mixture. You could use a large 20cm tin and make a large cake or around 36 cupcakes instead.
- ** split - this means when the mixture almost looks like it has curdled. It's the result of adding a water based liquid into the butter based mixture. Keep beating and it will resolve itself.
Happy St Patrick’s Day my friends…