I imagine this cake is the sort of dessert that might be served in a rustic pub, hidden in the dismal, yet romantic streets of Dublin. I’m not sure whether the Irish are all that into dessert or not. Sure, they have soda bread, but that’s more of a breakfast thing anyway. With the addition of guinness, however, I’m pretty sure that they would welcome a slice of this cake with a hearty cheer and a swig of fine stout.
Yesterday, my family celebrated the birthday of the man I love most in this world…my dad. Words could never describe the depth of my love and appreciation for him. God has certainly blessed me with a great father. He is also one of my best buddies. From the time he first taught me the allure of the hunt as we waited quietly for deer in the dark, enchanted northwoods, to the many adventures we’ve had hiking steep mountain trails out west…my dad has become one of my best friends. I can’t fail to mention the countless afternoons we have spent lazily fishing in the great Chippewa Flowage of northern WI almost every year since I was born. My dad has distilled in me a love for the outdoors that I cherish so much. To let him know I care, I decided to bake a birthday cake. What else could I possibly put as much heart and soul into?
The problem is that dessert is not really my father’s thing. He likes meat. Meat and potatoes. A perfect, pretty cake would not do for such an occasion as my dad’s birthday. I needed something rustic….something manly. What dessert could be more manly than chocolate GUINNESS cake? Not too sweet. Totally unpolished. This cake rose to the occasion in that my dad ate two slices!! It is a rarity to see my father pine for a dessert, but this one did the job.
The scent and tang of guinness is certainly evident in this cake. I fell in love with the black, dankness of its texture and overall appearance. As this lovely bakes, the smell of chocolate and guinness will resonate through the house. I could smell it all the way downstairs. It was quite heavenly. Even better, though, is the frosting. This is the BEST cream cheese frosting I’ve ever had. (and I don’t like to use the relative term “best” too often when describing food) More tangy and heavy in its cream cheesiness than its sweetness, this frosting complemented the cake perfectly. My dad could not stop talking about it. I knew I had done my job 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Feast: Food to Celebrate Life by Nigella Lawson. I have fallen in love with her writing style. She is both hilarious, unapologetic, and blatantly honest when talking about food. What has been the most captivating part of her cookbook is how much Nigella loves, loves, loooves to cook and to eat. This love just reeks out of her writing. It’s contagious, actually.
So raise a frothy glass of stout for the people you love…..and bake them this chocolate guinness cake. Or any cake, for that matter. I can’t think of a better way to let someone know you care.
Chocolate Guiness Cake
adapted from Feast: Food to Celebrate Life by Nigella Lawson
1 cup Guiness…you can figure out what to do with the rest 😉
1 stick and 2 tbls unsalted butter
3/4 c unsweetened, dutch-processed cocoa
2 c. superfine sugar
3/4 c. sour cream
1 tbls pure vanilla extract
2 cu. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
8 oz cream cheese
1 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
1/2 c. heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 deg. farentheit. Butter and line a 9 inch springform pan.
Pour guinness into a saucepan (use the largest one you have… my medium sized saucepan barely fit all the ingrediants!), over burner set on medium low. Add the butter in small chunks until all of it is melted. Take off the burner, and whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla together, and pour into the hot guinness mixture. Lastly, whick the flour and baking soda into the saucepan. (do not overmix!)
Pour batter into the prepared springform pan. Transfer to oven, and bake for 45-60 minutes (mine only took 45). Leave the cake to cool in pan on a cooling rack. Let it cool completely in the pan because the cake will collapse if you try to take it out!
After the cake has cooled, it is time to make the frosting. Whip or beat the cream cheese until it is smooth and fluffy (it helps to bring the cheese to room temp. before you do this). Sift over the confrectioner’s sugar and beat together. Add the cream to this mixture, and beat until it comes together and is spreadable.
Transfer the cake from the springform pan to a cake stand or platter of some sort. Spread the frosting all over the cake in an unruly fashion to resemble the frothy head of a cold glass of guinness 🙂