August 12, 2012

CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE

When we visited our friends Ken and Walt in St-Aignan in early July I decided I would bake them a cake.  I gave it lots of thought and opted for a chocolate Guinness cake baked to Nigella Lawson’s recipe.

chocolate guinness cake5I first made this cake at least six years ago, for Nick to take to a charity cake stall at work.  It was incredibly popular.  After the first time where it sold for £1 a slice, people requested it, no, demanded it, and the price went up to £1.50 !!  So it’s a really good seller for charity.

Counting up, I have probably made this cake at least twenty times over the years but have only ever eaten maybe four pieces.  This is because when it is on sale, or on the table at a birthday party, it disappears so fast.  It somehow seemed rude for the baker of the cake to be at the front of the scrum to get a slice but by the time the crowds have gone there are always only the crumbs left !!

I once saw one on sale at a garden centre tearooms.  I first established that it had been made to Nigella’s recipe then bought a slice.  It was the first one I had eaten, even though I had made several already !!  It is delicious, a very grown up kind of chocolate cake, even thought the topping is very sweet.

chocolate guinness cake1 If I had thought about it in advance I would have taken a bottle of Guinness to France with me so I thought I might have to make it using one of the dark Belgian beers.  Happily I found cans of Guinness on the shelves in Auchan.  The only adaptation I made was that the recipe calls for a small pot of sour cream but I used crème fraîche instead, which, according to my food dictionary, is the same thing.

chocolate guinness cake2 It’s incredibly easy to make.  You basically whisk all the ingredients together in the saucepan in which you melt the butter with the Guinness.  It takes a long time to bake and many times I have been unsure if it was cooked or not and been tempted to give it a few more minutes.  But Nigella advises that it is meant to be a damp cake so I have stuck to her timings and it has always turned out fine.

chocolate guinness cake3

chocolate guinness cake4 

It often sinks in the middle but on this occasion it didn’t but it also cracked on the top – must be the difference between my English and French ovens I suppose. In any case, neither really matters as the topping fills in any unevenness perfectly.

chocolate guinness cake6The evening before I made it we were sitting outside the PreHisto bar with our friends Chris and Gail in the sunshine, listening to the church bells, enjoying a couple of apéros whilst watching the to-ing and fro-ing of people as they made last minute calls to the village butcher and baker, and I mentioned the cake.  Gail apparently makes it regularly for her family and told me that not only does it freeze very well, it also freezes well with the topping on.  She also makes only half the quantity of the topping as she finds it too sweet.  It is indeed very sweet so I split the difference and made two thirds – it was perfect.

chocolate guinness cake7

One I made earlier, with full quantity of topping.

In May I made my umpteenth “Guinness cake” by special request for yet another charity cake stall at Nick’s office.  It had the full quantity of topping and it doesn’t look quite so good as with the two-thirds I think.  I usually put the top from the bottle of Guinness on the cake as decoration but of course you can’t if your beer comes in a can, which it did in France !!

You can find the recipe on Nigella’s website here.  I also once successfully adapted the recipe to make it into cupcakes – they looked gorgeous and were yummy too.

chocolate guinness cake8 The cupcakes I made using the same recipe.

If you haven’t tried it yet I would strongly recommend this stunning cake for a charity cake stall or a special occasion.  It’s not cheap to make but it cuts into about 16 slices and is always well received.  The flavour of the Guinness does not come through as such but it makes the cake not too sweet and makes it look fabulously dark.  The topping adds just the right amount of sweetness.  It is without doubt my favourite cake recipe.

I am linking this post to this month’s Forever Nigella event, hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage.  Fridge Raider Snacks !!  I always like the bit at the end of Nigella’s cooking programmes where she would sneak something from the fridge before she put out the lights and went to bed !!

Forever Nigella

Sarah from Maison Cupcake started the whole Nigella Forever thing and I have been dying to enter for ages.  I use a lot of Nigella’s recipes and regularly take her books for bedtime reading !!

This recipe fits the theme perfectly I think.  Assuming there is ever any left over, which is unlikely in a way but then if there are only two of you to eat it……….. !!  It has to be kept in the fridge because of the cream cheese topping and I defy anyone to stay away from that fridge door when it’s in there !!  I can just imagine Nigella in her silk dressing gown, sneaking into the kitchen, dipping her finger into the icing………..myself, I would be in my favourite shabby pyjamas, towelling bath robe and which ever pair of shoes or trainers that were nearest………not quite the same image, but it’s the thought that counts !!

20 comments:

  1. Your food dictionary is technically wrong, but probably near enough for jazz. Sour cream has a much lower fat content (20% fat), and often thickeners and added acids in addition to the lactic bacteria. Creme fraiche just has lactic bacteria and min 30% fat.

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    1. I wondered what the difference was. It seemed to work anyway and I couldn't see anything in the French shops that looked more like sour cream.

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    2. A good substitute is fromage a tartiner (cream cheese).

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  2. Wow, no wonder this disappears so fast. I'm very impressed you've made it so many times. I've only had a slice of Nigella's version once and it was delicious. I've made something very similar which was good, but I really ought to try this one.

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    1. You should definitely try it !! I have seen other recipes for chocolate Guinness cake but have never felt the need to try them - this one is so easy and so good.

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  3. It's funny, because I cannot stand drinking beer/stout/guinness etc but love them in baking - guinness chocolate cake is the best - so rich and decadent.
    Love the look of your cake and the bottle top decoration!

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    1. CC, thanks, it tastes as good as it looks, if not better.

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  4. Lovely cake - I'd be so keen that I'd probably try to eat the bottle top.

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    1. Phil, me too, but the other people always got there first !!

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  5. This is one of my favourite recipes and a popular request from friends and family. Once I made 4 of these in the space of a week!! I've only ever tried Nigella's recipe so it's not a comparison but I'm sure it's the best!

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    1. Me too, I can't see the need to try an alternative. I once made three in one evening for various cake stalls - two for Nick to take to his work and one for me to take to mine for "Children in need". One of Nick's disappeared for the princely sum of £25 as soon as the lid came off the box - one of the cleaning ladies bought it for her and her mates !!

      Mind you, I did see a recipe for gingerbread Guinness cupcakes in the book "Tea with Bea" which I am dying to try one day !!

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  6. I love the bottle top decoration - very good! The cup cakes look wonderful. Makes you want to take to the drink!

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    1. I used to drink Guinness quite often but nowadays I find the flavour too powerful - must have become a bit of a softie having drunk all that French wine !!

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  7. Looks so good! I would love to try them. I love chocolate and I love Guinness. Never thought to put the two together though!

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    1. Spencer, you owe it to yourself to bake this cake - or persuade a friend to do it for you !!

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  8. and I have NEVER made one!... which I must rectify immediately! yours looks stunning!

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    1. Dom, I guarantee you will not regret it !!

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  9. simply wonderful. Looks very very nice this cake!

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  10. I love chocolate guinness cake! It's one of my favourite Nigella recipes, and yours, especially the cupcakes look lovely :-) x

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  11. FABULOUS! And, I doubt there were be any left for a nocturnal fridge raid in my house! LOL! THANKS for your lovely Forever Nigella Entry! Karen

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Your comment is the icing on the cake!