For those who like Guinness, this sounds like the perfect combination, doesn’t it? After all, Guinness has those chocolatey undertones, and the bitterness of the Guinness should help accentuate the chocolate in the cake. And, once you see the recipe, you’ll realize that this won’t be one of those dry, crumbly cakes. It’ll be moist and flavorful.
We were looking through David Bowers’ book Real Irish Food, partly for new ideas, but mainly because we know that true Irish food is unbelievably good. We really liked that he dismissed a number of myths that most people in the US have about Irish cooking, in particular, the typical corned beef and cabbage dinner. While grocery sale ads around St. Patrick’s Day try to pass it off as a common Irish dinner, it’s really not common in Ireland. There are a few scattered locales where corned beef is eaten, but not that many. And the cabbage. Yes, they eat cabbage, but it’s a different variety of cabbage that has thinner leaves, not quite like the green heads we have here.
But, we can tell you this: many Irish people consume Guinness. And chocolate. So let’s get scratchin’ and get those Irish eyes a’ smilin’ over Chocolate Guinness cake. And, just so you don’t have to eat your cake plain, we’ll be posting a fluffy buttercream frosting recipe tomorrow.
Makes one 9-inch cake.
We used Guinness Extra Stout that comes in the 12-ounce bottles. It’s more bitter and less foamy than the draft version, and we thought that it would be a better choice. Eggs are free-range from chickens that eat bugs and grasses, and, for the cocoa, we selected the best, Valrhona, to compliment the best stout. We did use cake flour, but think that this would work with all-purpose, too.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a rack in the center of the oven, too.
Prepare pans. Butter your 9-inch cake pan, line the bottom with a circle of baking parchment, and then butter the parchment, too. This cake is quite moist, so you want to eliminate the possibility of it sticking to the bottom and falling apart when you take it out. Now, we know that you want to skimp and not use the parchment because it’s another thing to buy. We understand, we were that way, too, until we tried using parchment once. It’s a miracle material that’s well worth the cost.
Heat Guinness and butter. In a large saucepan, heat the Guinness until the butter melts. To make this a bit faster and to ensure that the liquid doesn’t get too hot (and cook the eggs when you add them later), we chopped the butter into pieces. Turn off heat.
Add sugar and cocoa. We pre-measured the sugar and cocoa into a bowl so that we could just pour it in when the buttered Guinness was ready. Then, we whisked it all in. It was difficult to get all the cocoa to mix thoroughly, and, in retrospect, we should have sifted it. But, we didn’t, so we had to whisk until our arms were tired.
Add sour cream, vanilla, and eggs. Measure out the sour cream and whisk it in along with the vanilla. As with the cocoa, the sour cream will break into small pieces and be a bit troublesome to mix in, but you can do it. Whisk in the eggs. You’ll feel the batter start to thicken a bit, and, the eggs will help emulsify the fats, so it should start to look like a well-mixed batter.
Add flour and leavening. Pour the flour, baking powder, and baking soda on top and whisk until it looks like a super dark batter. It will be thinner than you might expect for a cake batter, but remember it is a moist cake.
Pour into prepared pan. We only had an 8-inch cake pan, so we used that, and four small tart pans for the excess. The batter came up to about 1/4 inch from the top, so you better have buttered all the way to the top.
Bake. Place the cake in the middle of the oven, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until set and slightly firm in the middle, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool. Place on a rack and let cool completely in the pan, about 2 to 3 hours. You’ll note that our cake cracked on the top, a sign that we needed a bigger cake pan, or needed to reduce the amount of batter present.
Remove. Run a dull knife around the edge, invert and remove parchment paper, then turn right-side up.
Serve. You could serve the cake as is, but we wanted to frost it with a light frosting, and we’ll show you how to make that tomorrow.
This is one great cake! It’s easy to make and pretty easy to deal with as far as frosting goes. We had no problem slicing off the dome, and very little problem with cake crumbs getting into the frosting. But, of course, that would be true if our cake was made of Styrofoam, which wouldn’t taste anywhere near as good. The Chocolate Guinness cake is definitely a chocolate cake, and you can taste that there’s something else in there that isn’t normally in cake (hmm, Guinness, perhaps), but you can’t tell that it is Guinness. Instead, you get a whole bunch of other flavors; for instance, we noticed a banana flavor, along with some other fruit flavors, making this cake one of the most complex-tasting cakes we’ve had — and that was without the frosting. On top of that, it’s really, really moist, but it holds up well. All together, this is a keeper! Five stars!