Friday, 14 March 2014

Chocolate Guinness Cake (and a mini chocolate tasting lesson.)

And so the the cake. It was a massive affair for four people but I do think that afternoon tea should be overly generous in sustenance. (Most of the leftovers can be frozen afterwards.) 

Last summer I had a slice of Chocolate Guinness Cake with a friend at High Tea of Highgate. It was memorably yummy so needed to be tried out.

This recipe is Gizzi Erskine's which I followed to the letter (almost). 

But first a chocolatey deviation. My Matey works in chocolate. (Yes I do get to try some amazing chocolates. No he doesn't bring home vats of the stuff for me.) Good dark chocolate isn't necessarily 70%. Where it comes from is far more impactful on the flavour than the percentage. Also different regions offer different flavours. Think of it like wine. Now before you pipe up with the complaint that not everybody has access to a range of chocolates, think again. Over the past few years the supermarkets have learnt about this and offer ranges of chocolate bars based on region with descriptions of what it tastes like. So when choosing your chocolate to cook with you can bear in mind what you are making and pick a chocolate with notes which will work well and enhance the food with more taste than just 'chocolate'.

For this cake my Matey came up with a pairing of Valrhona 62% MacaĆ© Brazilian dark chocolate to work with the dark richness of the Guinness. Before you assume that it is going to be incredibly expensive it is available for around £3 for 110g in a number of places on the internet so only about £1 more expensive than a 'normal' brand.

250ml Guinness
250g Butter, sliced
100g Dark chocolate
35g Cocoa
400g Caster sugar
142ml Plain yoghurt
2 Eggs
1 tblsp Real vanilla extract
275g Plain flour
2 ½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda

300g Cream cheese
150g Icing sugar
125ml Double cream


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and line a 21cm round tin. 
2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, and heat until the butter has melted, at which time you 
should stir in the chocolate, cocoa and sugar. Very gently heat until the chocolate has melted and the sugar is dissolving then take off the heat.
3. Beat the yoghurt with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the chocolatey, beery pan.
4. Finally whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
5. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake. Do not be tempted to take the cake out of the tin until it is totally cold. My first go at this resulted in a cake which collapsed into four pieces.
6. To make the icing whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and beat them together.
7. Separately whip the cream until it just begins to thicken then pour the cream to the cream cheese mix and beat again until combined and reaches a spreadable consistency. 
8. Ice the top of the Guinness cake. You can make it look pretty by covering the sides as well but it looks more Guinness-like with just the top done.

And the verdict? Jolly good. It's a LOT better made a day in advance. If I make it again I would 
probably swap the white sugar for a brown one to up the flavour a bit. Possibly would also try to up the chocolate content a bit more.

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