Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Chocolate and Guinness cake

Hmm, I thought, when I spotted this recipe while leafing through The Hummingbird Bakery's 'Cake Days' book. Chocolate cake I like...but Guinness?

I will admit I had serious reservations about this cake, not being a fan of stout. As it turns out, I needn't have worried.

This is a moist, chocolatey, rich yet light-crumbed cake, with a sweet, tangy cream cheese frosting that complements it perfectly. The Guinness lends an extra depth of flavour, but in a blind tasting, you'd be hard pushed to correctly guess the identity of the mystery ingredient.

It's an incredibly easy cake to make. Chuck all the ingredients in, bung it in the oven, and hey presto! You can even use butter straight from the fridge (butter that isn't soft enough is the bane of my domestic existence) because you have to melt it anyway.

I found the cooking time recommended in the book wasn't long enough. After 45 minutes it was still liquid in the centre, so I left it an extra 15 minutes and then it was perfect.

This is a cake I know I'm going to make again and again - news my husband will be delighted to hear!

Chocolate and Guinness Cake
(adapted from 'The Hummingbird Bakery - Baking Days')

For the sponge
250ml (9 fl oz) Guinness
250g (9 oz) unsalted butter
80g (3 oz) cocoa powder (I used Green & Blacks)
400g (14 oz) caster sugar
2 large eggs, ideally at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
140ml (5 fl oz) buttermilk
280g (10oz) plain flour
½ tsp baking powder

For the frosting
50g (1¾ oz) soft unsalted butter
300g (10½ oz) icing sugar
125g (4½ oz) full-fat cream cheese (eg Philadelphia)
Cocoa powder, for dusting (optional).

One 23cm (9in) diameter spring-form cake tin

1. Preheat oven to 170°C / Gas 3, then line the base of your tin.
2. Put the Guinness and butter into a pan and gently heat until melted. Take off the heat and stir in the cocoa powder and sugar. Mix together the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk by hand in a jug or bowl, and then add this to the mixture in the pan.
3. Sift together the rest of the sponge ingredients into a big bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the mixer with a paddle attachment or hand-held electric whisk, set on low, pour in the contents of the pan and mix until you have a smooth (very runny) batter.
4. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for about 45-60 minutes (mine took an hour on the middle shelf of the oven) or until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed, and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool, and then remove from the tin to a wire rack. Make sure it's cold before you attempt to frost it.
5. Using the electric whisk or freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, mix the butter and icing sugar until it becomes a sandy mixture with no big lumps of butter. Add the cream cheese and mix on low, then turn up the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
6. Top the cooled cake with the frosting. You can make pretty swirls on top with a palette knife, or just smooth it. Add a light dusting of cocoa powder if you want to.


  1. Never made a cake in before with guinness either but decided to give it a go today.

    But I never learn as even though I made sure I had all the ingredients in the house, I didn't make sure that I had enough of each of the ingredients, d'oh!

    So ended up a bit short on caster sugar and made up about a 1/3 with granulated and also had to use a bit of flour as a substitute for some of the cocoa powder.

    I thought it wouldn't make too much difference but maybe it was my oven as it didn't seem to rise as much as yours and came out much flatter? I definitely used the right size tin as measured it. Might have been my fan oven? I used the temperature by about 20 degrees to 150 which is what I normally do and it was done in about 45 mins.

    Haven't tried it yet though so hopefully it's still delicious!

    Oh and did I mention that I also didn't have enough icing sugar so had to skip the lovely cream cheese icing and make do with just some normal icing....

    1. Oh what a shame about the icing! For future reference, in emergencies you can make icing sugar by blitzing granulated/caster sugar in a coffee grinder or blender.

      I don't think my cake rose that much - it was springy, but pretty level (not domed) when it came out of the oven. So hopefully yours will be delicious too. :-)

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