My round-up of favourite cakes would not be complete without including my all time favourite, the chocolate Guinness cake by Nigella Lawson from her book "Feast", first published in 2004.
It always goes down well at special occasions and I have made it dozens of times over the decades. I have adapted it slightly since the first time and, because recipes on websites have a nasty habit of disappearing, (or linking to something else) here is the recipe that I now use. At the time of writing, the original can be seen on Nigella's website here.
It's a very "grown up" kind of chocolate cake, not the sort of children's birthday parties and, because the topping is quite sweet, I now make about half the quantity of the amount in Nigella's original recipe.
For the cake
250ml Guinness (original)
250g butter, cubed
75g cocoa powder
400g golden caster sugar (or white caster sugar)
142 ml pot of soured cream (or 150ml full fat crème fraîche)
2 large eggs
1 tblsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the topping
150g full fat cream cheese
75g icing sugar
60ml double or whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 180°C /160° fan /gas mk 4. Butter and line the base of a 23 cm round springform cake tin.
Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan and add the butter. Heat gently until the butter has melted then remove from the heat, add the sugar and cocoa powder and whisk in.
In a small bowl, beat the soured cream,vanilla and eggs together and pour into the pan. Add the flour and bicarb and whisk in until well combined.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 45-60 minutes until done. The centre will still seem damp and it may dip in the middle. Cool in the tin.
To make the topping, lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth and sift in the icing sugar. Beat together then add the cream and beat again until you get a spreadable consistency.
(Alternatively use a food processor, blitzing the icing sugar and cream cheese first to remove any lumps, then adding the cream.)
When the cake is completely cool, place it on your serving plate and swirl the topping over the top.
Cuts into 12-15 slices.
Leftover cake should be kept in the fridge. The cake also freezes well, with or without the topping.