February 19, 2011

Chocolate Guinness Cake

I made this cake last year for Saint Patrick's Day and I stumbled across the photo of it recently in my archives. As this is my first post in quite a long time, I figured I should post something REALLY good.

This may be my favorite cake. I don't bake very often, as I don't generally crave desserts. This attitude is a little something I brought back with me from my Paris years. (Why bake when you can buy an exquisite dessert from any number of 'boulangeries' a block from your house?!) However, this cake is actually something to crave and it's easy enough to make that there's no need to fuss. Not for even one minute. It's only one layer, you make it in a springform pan, the frosting is a breeze...and everyone will love it. If you have an aversion to Guinness, feel free to use any Stout you like. I used Brooklyn Brewery's delicious Black Chocolate Stout.

Nigella Lawson aptly describes it's chocolatey velvet crumb as "damp", which is nearly the perfect adjective for it. Although it's a dense cake, it is incredibly rich and moist, with a nice complexity and subtle coffee flavor, much the way a perfect Stout beer tastes on draft. The cream cheese frosting is glossy and smooth, making it the perfect compliment to this cake. To quote Ina Garten, "how bad can that be?"

Make it now and make it often.

Lastly, a big thank you to all of you who have stopped by my blog recently and left such kind compliments. I wish I had more time to detail all the great recipes I've discovered over the past few years. Here's to hoping for more time to blog!

Nigella's Chocolate Stout (or "Guinness") Cake

For the cake:

1 cup Guinness, or any other Stout you prefer

1 stick plus 2 Tbsp butter (i.e. 10 Tbsp total)

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa

2 cups sugar

¾ cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 ½ tsp. baking soda

For the frosting:

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar

½ cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. (Cut a circle of parchment to fully cover the bottom of the pan).

Add the stout to a medium sized saucepan (something fairly wide since you’ll be stirring all the ingredients in this). Over low to medium heat, add the butter in small chunks until melted. Once all the butter is melted into the beer, whisk in the cocoa and sugar until dissolved. Remove from the heat once this mixture is well combined.

In a separate bowl, beat together the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Add this to the slightly cooled Guiness mixture and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in the flour and baking soda until completely smooth once again.

Pour this cake batter into the springform pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or up to one hour. When a tester comes out clean, remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan completely.

For the frosting, add the confectioners’ sugar to the bowl of a food processor. “Pulse” the sugar for a few beats to remove any lumps. Add the softened cream cheese and mix together until smooth. Add the cream a little bit at a time and mix until it becomes a nice spreadable consistency.

Frost the top of the cake while you enjoy the rest of the bottle of that stout.