I suspect the grand panjandrum, whoever he or she is, in charge at Diageo’s (owners of Guinness) marketing department, may have been mostly occupied these past ten days with ordering in cases of celebratory champagne. The reason? On a recent state visit to Ireland the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh watched a master class in how to pull a pint of Guinness. A short few days later Barrack Obama also on a visit to Ireland was pictured downing a pint of the black stuff. These images have appeared in media outlets worldwide; a marketer’s dream and the type of publicity that no amount of money can buy.
All this hoopla about Guinness reminded me of the chocolate and Guinness cake I had at the Books for Cooks café in London in April see here. Today I decided to make it myself. The recipe comes from Nigella Lawson’s cookery book Feast.
FOR THE CAKE
250g unsalted butter
400g caster sugar
1 x 142ml pot sour cream
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 1/2teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
FOR THE TOPPING:
300g Philadelphia cream cheese
150g icing sugar
125ml double or whipping cream
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C, and butter and line a 23cm springform tin.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The cake is incredibly easy to make and is dreamily deliciously. The recipe will make 12 portions.