Chocolate Guinness Cake

How much do you feel like giving in to temptation today? Because temptation has a new name: chocolate Guinness cake.

This cake is one of my absolute favourites. It’s an utter indulgence – even more so than most cakes, it’s got Guinness in it and about half of the world’s butter supply, for goodness sake – but who doesn’t love a bit of a treat now and then?

Apart from the fact that this cake is remarkably light for the ingredients it uses (honestly, the first time I was surprised it didn’t have the density and lightness of a brick), I also love this cake because it looks (sort of) like a pint of Guinness. And before you say ‘ah, Craig, but your icing is all down the side!’, please note that I am clumsy and thus the head of my pint of Guinness is likely to be dripping down the sides.

Chocolate Guinness Cake

I’m also going to call this one a ‘seasonal’ recipe as we’re fast approaching St Patrick’s Day and whilst I am neither Irish nor celebrate any other patron saint’s day, I feel we can all share in the joy that is some Guinness in a cake.

If you are looking for a way to celebrate – be it St Patrick’s Day or simply because you want to celebrate cake itself – this is actually much more of a crowd pleaser than you might think. It’s light, fluffy and is basically a really good chocolate cake that happens to also have hints of the stout in the background. The cream cheese icing and cocoa also balance out a lot of the sugar so those who don’t have an overly sweet tooth can join in the fun as well. I tried it out on my colleagues and judging by the tiny pile of crumbs I came back to on the plate, I think we can call it one you need to try.

Chocolate Guinness Cake

This chocolate Guinness cake is an old favourite recipe of mine that I’ve made in various ways over the years, so it’s an original to The Usual Saucepans. It makes one 20cm cake, that you don’t even have to split to ice. If you want a more solid icing on top some recipes recommend melting white chocolate into the icing.

Ingredient

for the sponge:
3 large eggs
300g butter
350g plain flour
350g caster sugar
100g cocoa powder
220ml Guinness
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp bicarbonate soda
a pinch of sea salt

for the icing:
200g icing sugar
100g butter
150g cream cheese
½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Start by preheating your oven to 180 C and lining a 20cm springform cake tin.

Put the butter in a medium sized saucepan and melt over a medium heat. Once it is melted, take off the heat, add in the cocoa and Guinness, then whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Into a large bowl sift your flour, bicarbonate soda, salt and sugar. Mix and then make a well in the centre and pour the Guinness mixture into the bowl. Get a large spatula and combine before cracking in the eggs one by one and mixing. Beat the mixture quite enthusiastically until it is smooth and glossy – this will get air into the mixture and help keep the sponge light.

Pour into your pre-lined cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for about 50 minutes to an hour. To check if the cake is cooked press gently on the top – if it springs back poke a skewer into the sponge and if it comes out cleanly take out of the oven; if not, bake for another five minutes.

Once out of the oven, leave it to cool for 15 minutes in the tin, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the icing, cube the butter into the bowl, add in the cream cheese then sift the icing sugar in on top. Start – very carefully, to avoid icing sugar eruptions – to beat it all together. Once the cream cheese is mixed through add the vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth. Put in the fridge until the cake is cool.

Once the cake has cooled, us a large spoon to add the icing on top. I like mine dripping down the sides so use quite a lot, but you can also be more elegant and just put a swirling circle of icing on the top.

Slice and eat. If you’ve any left, store in the fridge to keep the butter firm and the cream cheese fresh.

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