Guinness Cake

St. Patrick's Day is the one time all around the world when people generally celebrate Ireland. For many, this means going down to the local Irish pub and downing a few pints of Guinness, while wearing "Kiss me, I'm Irish!" t-shirts or other blazingly green apparel. It is the day when everyone claims to be Irish as an excuse for becoming belligerently drunk; and a sure sign of my age is my preference to stay home and bake a cake instead. Well, at least it is a Guinness cake.

I struggled with making a Guinness cake for a while. I was using Nigella Lawson's recipe, and noticed many of the recipes I found online used the same basic formula, which started by melting the butter into Guinness that is being warmed on a stovetop. But my cakes always turned out quite flat and dense. Eventually, I stopped heating the Guinness up to melt the butter, and instead creamed the butter and sugar together; it works out much better. So, if you have been having issues with making a Guinness cake Nigella's way, try this method instead.

For a 21cm diameter cake, you will need:
  • 115g of butter
  • 285g of brown sugar
  • 60g of cocoa powder
  • 250ml of Guinness
  • 2 eggs
  • 170g of flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of baking powder

For the optional icing, you will need:
  • 150g of cream cheese
  • 80g of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • Optionally, some orange rind for decoration

Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
Baking Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Preheat your oven to 175C (350F).

First, we cream the butter. Now, this is normally done by beating the butter with a hand mixer (or if you want to get a good arm workout, feel free to go at it manually) and adding the sugar slowly. However, I just did it all together, especially since I was using the robotic aid.

You want to get a consistant mix of butter and sugar. If you just dumped them together as I did, you may not get a creamy texture at this stage.

And now add the eggs, one at a time, into the butter/sugar mixture and mix them in.

After your second egg gets mixed in, you should start getting a creamy consistency.

You can set aside the creamed butter, sugar, and egg mixture.

In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

Use a whisk to mix the dry ingredients together; this will ensure they are evenly mixed. You can also sift them into the bowl, if you have a sifter.

In another bowl, add the cocoa powder.

Carefully pour the Guinness into the cocoa powder, ideally minimizing the foam that is created.

Whisk the mixture together to create a homogeneous chocolate-Guinness. This sounds better than it tastes and looks, just in case you're tempted to take a little lick. Well, go ahead, it won't kill you either.

Now, you have the three main parts ready to go.

The key is making an even mix of everything, carefully folded together so as to not over-mix.

So, first add a little of the chocolate-Guinness into the creamed butter-sugar-eggs and fold it in gently.

Next, add some of the dry mixture and fold it in, gently of course.

And again, some more of the chocolate-Guinness.

And of course, a little more of the dry mixture.

And so on and on, alternating between adding the dry mixture and the chocolate-Guinness mixture. The key here is to gently fold the batter together, you are not trying to beat or whisk everything into a jam packed rave. You are trying to simply make introductions and allow them to get to know each other.

Finally, you should have a nice, thick, silky batter. Now this - this tastes good, so go ahead and take a few licks.

Grease your baking pan.

And pour the batter in.

And pop it in the oven!

While the cake is in the oven, we can make the icing.

Simply whisk the butter with a hand mixer.

Then add the sugar and continue to cream.

Finally, add the cream cheese, and continue to cream.

And, that's it!

Check the cake after 35 minutes, and again after 45. A toothpick poked in the middle should come out mostly clean, but keep in mind this is a moist cake so there will be some residue on the toothpick. However, it should not be obviously uncooked.

Before the cake cools too much, take it out of the mould.

And once it has cooled, add the icing. I like just some icing on the very top of this cake, because I do not like to hide its lovely dark body.

And, to add a splash of colour, I throw some orange rinds on the top.

And there you have it, a lovely moist Guinness cake with cream cheese frosting.

As with all the other recipes we put on this site, this is meant to be easy to follow. We are hobby chefs who love to cook, and we are always up for learning new techniques. If you know of anything in this recipe which can be done a different way, whether for increased ease of preparation or better taste, please add a comment below!

Whipped up by Shyamal Addanki

1 comment:

  1. This looks delicious! I wish I had seen it in time for St. Patrick's Day!