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Chocolate Guinness Cake

by . Featured in FEAST
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Introduction

This cake is magnificent in its damp blackness. I can't say that you can absolutely taste the stout in it, but there is certainly a resonant, ferrous tang which I happen to love. The best way of describing it is to say that it's like gingerbread without the spices.

There is enough sugar - a certain understatement here - to counter any potential bitterness of the Guinness, and although I've eaten versions of this made up like a chocolate sandwich cake, stuffed and slathered in a rich chocolate icing, I think that can take away from its dark majesty. Besides, I wanted to make a cream cheese frosting to echo the pale head that sits on top of a glass of stout. It's unconventional to add cream but it makes it frothier and lighter which I regard as aesthetically and gastronomically desirable. But it is perfectly acceptable to leave the cake un-iced: in fact, it tastes gorgeous plain.

Some cream cheeses seem now to be made softer-spreading, which can make a frosting less thick. If you wish to thicken yours, simply beat in 1 teaspoon of cornflour/cornstarch per 100g/4oz cream cheese.

This cake is magnificent in its damp blackness. I can't say that you can absolutely taste the stout in it, but there is certainly a resonant, ferrous tang which I happen to love. The best way of describing it is to say that it's like gingerbread without the spices.

There is enough sugar - a certain understatement here - to counter any potential bitterness of the Guinness, and although I've eaten versions of this made up like a chocolate sandwich cake, stuffed and slathered in a rich chocolate icing, I think that can take away from its dark majesty. Besides, I wanted to make a cream cheese frosting to echo the pale head that sits on top of a glass of stout. It's unconventional to add cream but it makes it frothier and lighter which I regard as aesthetically and gastronomically desirable. But it is perfectly acceptable to leave the cake un-iced: in fact, it tastes gorgeous plain.

Some cream cheeses seem now to be made softer-spreading, which can make a frosting less thick. If you wish to thicken yours, simply beat in 1 teaspoon of cornflour/cornstarch per 100g/4oz cream cheese.

Chocolate Guinness Cake
Photo by James Merrell

Ingredients

Makes: about 12 slices

Metric Cups

For the Cake

  • 250 millilitres guinness
  • 250 grams unsalted butter
  • 75 grams cocoa powder
  • 400 grams caster sugar
  • 142 millilitres sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 275 grams plain flour
  • 2½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

For the Topping

  • 300 grams cream cheese
  • 150 grams icing sugar
  • 125 millilitres double cream (or whipping cream)

For the Cake

  • 1 cup guinness
  • 17 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups superfine sugar
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking soda

For the Topping

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1¼ cups confectioners' sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream (or whipping cream)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF, and butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin.
  2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter - in spoons or slices - and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
  3. 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.
  4. When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsieved icing sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.
  5. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.
  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF, and butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin.
  2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter - in spoons or slices - and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
  3. 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.
  4. When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the confectioners' sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsieved confectioners' sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.
  5. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.

Tell us what you think

What 102 Others have said

  • I have made this cake twice, it has been a hit both times. I recommend not using a spring for cake tin, I like using the Pioneer Woman 9 inch cake pan. It is very sturdy and bakes this cake well. Also, using Irish butter makes it oh so moist. Try using corn starch for the frosting, cream cheese nowadays comes soft already and it requires a bit of body. This cake makes the whole house smell divine.

    Posted by maxineloves on 24th July 2017
  • This is quite honestly the best cake I have ever had my mother and I made it for my brothers birthday and it is so moist and perfectly sweet we made a double layer with the icing in the middle aswell as the top and it turned out amazing. Will definetly be making this again

    Posted by Canadiansprinkles on 9th July 2017
  • I made this cake for my sister's birthday and followed the recipe exactly. It turned out perfectly, not too sweet and everyone loved it!

    Posted by Schnuffel on 28th May 2017
  • Love this cake, but wondering if you can use gluten free flour in this recipe ?? Has anyone tried it yet ???

    Posted by neicey.young on 12th May 2017
  • Made this as cup cakes and they came out perfectly! Just filled the cups about two thirds with the batter and reduced the cooking time to about 15 to 20 mins.

    Posted by ElMoochio on 18th April 2017
  • Made this for my dad's birthday, it's so moist! But that's prob my fault as I misread the instructions and added a whole can of Guinness instead of what the recipe said, no wonder it took an extra half hour to bake... oops.

    Posted by Emzy595 on 17th April 2017
  • Love this recipe. Cake turned out perfect and everyone at work loved it! I recommended it to a friend who won her bake off at work with it. Definitely a keeper!

    Posted by Nyx11 on 31st March 2017
  • My sister and I love this cake. It is scrumptious! We just used it as the inspiration for some St Patrick's Day Irish flag dessert cakes. This recipe is a definite keeper!

    Posted by kerryk on 17th March 2017
  • The only cake I ever make (and really the only cake I have ever successfully made). You can't taste the stout, it's just rich, chocolatey goodness. I recently converted the recipe into cupcakes and found that filling the liners to 3/4 makes the perfect size cupcake (no overspill) and requires about 18-20 min cooking time. The recipe above results in approximately 24 cupcakes (amazing). You may need to make a little more icing for cupcakes if you're generous (which I am). They were absolutely perfect. I always decorate with milk and white chocolate buttons, which add an extra bit of deliciousness to the cake.

    Posted by tgamnigella on 6th March 2017
  • This is just Devine!!! Highly recommend it, I didn't have a large" deep "enough tin, so divided to mixture between two sandwich cake tins & filled middle with chocolate icing to stick both cakes together & it was delicious! P.s I could happily eat the cream cheese frosting on its own it's heaven...no wonder I'm so fat!

    Posted by 15jess on 13th February 2017
  • WOW. I am a chocoholic but I have very high expectations for chocolate cakes - they have to be good and this one is one of the BEST I have ever had! I love the 'damp' texture and the guinness and cocoa is brilliant. Tweaked the recipe - used Greek yoghurt instead of sour cream and dusted the top with icing sugar instead of the cream topping, and it was marvellous. Thank you, Nigella, a recipe for keeping hold of definitely!

    Posted by 1zzyM on 5th February 2017
  • I have just made this wonderous cake in the form of 48 cupcakes and 3 normal 9 inch size for the brilliant bunch of workers at a DIY SOS big build in Blackpool. It went down a treat with everyone asking for more.

    Posted by jojomuffin on 5th July 2016
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