I’ve spoken about this before, how baking is a great source of relaxation and comfort to me. This bake however, was not. You know the sort-stress overtakes, things fall apart or don’t quite work, ovens forget to be turned on, cake pans aren’t prepared in advanced, forgetting to add an ingredients after it’s gone in the oven, phone calls mid way through…
Thats not to say this cake wasn’t particularly difficult or taxing to make, the opposite; simple steps including melting, sifting, mixing and pouring were all that were required from me and yielded the most dense, fudge-like chocolate cake with hints of coffee and stout. It’s sounds like I’m waxing lyrical and being flowery but truly, thats the only way to describe this cake.
My issue laid with having clumsy hands, dropping eggs, spilling stout, staining a shirt and forgetting to turn the oven on. To top it off the icing didn’t go to plan and I ended up going off-piste with that one, along with some yelling at my mixer and at myself.
But this is all very dramatic and beside the point. Please give this cake a go, whether you stick to the original recipe or follow my lead with my ‘make-do-and-mend’ version. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. This is also a great option for wanting to get on the Saint Patrick’s day bandwagon but wanting to avoid the kitsch…however kitsch has never been a bad thing in my books… Happier baking!
1 cup stout (you can use Kilkenny, Guinness or whatever dark ale you like)
250 grams unsalted butter (cubed)
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder (preferably Dutch processed)
2 cups caster sugar
2/3 cup light sour cream
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (you can use paste if you prefer)
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
250 grams cream cheese (room temperature)
2 cups icing sugar mixture
1/2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Note- In the end my icing was too runny as I used pure cream instead of whipping cream so I whipped 1 cup of the cream and added some of the runnier cream cheese mixture into it to create a fluffier topping. See recipe for more detail.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Prepare a 23cm cake tin by greasing and flouring. Set aside. Pour the stout into a saucepan over a low heat and gradually add in cubes of butter, two to three cubes at a time.
Once all the butter has melted and the mixture is combine, set aside and get on with preparing the other ingredients.
Place the eggs, vanilla and sour cream in a bowl and whisk together until well combined. I use light sour cream here, but feel free to use full-fat. I don’t use it as a health benefit (I mean come on, look what we’re making here) I just prefer the taste.
Set this mixture aside and bring back the slightly cooled stout and butter mixture. To this gradually add the sugar and cocoa and combine well.
You should be left with a foamy, thick chocolate syrup. Bliss. Now briskly whisk in the eggy sour cream mixture alternately with the sifted flour and baking powder.
Pour this mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45-55 minutes. This cake tends to be fudge-like so don’t expect a squeaky clean skewer.
Once out of the oven, leave to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to cool completely before icing.
While the cake cools, start on the icing. In a mixing bowl whip the cream cheese until smooth. Pour in the vanilla extract and beat again. Now slowly add the icing sugar until a smooth but stiff mixture is in the bowl. With the mixer still running, slowly pour in 2 tablespoons of the cream.
Now this is when my mixture wasn’t quit coming together how I wished, so in seperate bowl I whipped cream to stiff peaks and slowly combined these two mixtures to create a soft, billowy topping.
Now it’s time to ice the cake! You will have more icing than needed for the cake so I suggest you chill this mixture and serve along side in a bowl with a spoon for those who want to add more.
This cake is perfection on the same day it’s made and if kept overnight in the fridge it becomes even more dense and fudge-like so it’s best of both worlds I’d say!
After all is said and done and I was standing next to a chaotic kitchen, fork and plate in hand, I was very satisfied with my wares. Please give this recipe a go and let me know how you get on.