By The Lady
So, it was The Gentleman’s birthday recently, and he stated that he wanted to try making Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Guinness Cake from her book Feast. I slapped the spatula out of his hand and insisted that one cannot simply make their own birthday cake, one must have said cake made for them! So, to the kitchen I went!
I decided I would try something a little different because a) I like to try new things and b) I was not prepared and had no Guinness handy (really, it was more b!) Instead of using Guinness, I substituted it for Hitachino Nest’s Espresso Stout. I decided to go for this beer because like Guinness, it is also a stout and I felt like (hoped) the chocolate flavour already in the cake combined with the espresso flavour would truly be a flavour sensation! I made some changes to Nigella’s recipe to compliment the coffee/chocolate combination, which I think were tasty and worthwhile additions!
250 mL Hatachino Nest Espresso Stout
250 gm unsalted butter
1 Teaspoon of Seven Seeds Espresso Coffee
75 gm cocoa powder
400 gm caster sugar
142 mL Sour Cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
275 gm plain flour
2 ½ bicarbonate soda
150mL cream cheese
75 gm icing sugar
65mL double cream
For the cake
Preheat oven to 180°C and line a springform tin.
Pour your beer into a large saucepan and gradually add the butter and heat all until butter just melted. Also, add the Seven Seeds Espresso coffee while the butter is melting.
While your beer and butter are melting away, whisk in the cocoa and caster sugar.
Beat your sour cream with the eggs and vanilla.
Pour sour cream, egg and vanilla mixture into the beer/buttery saucepan.
Lastly, whisk in the flour and bicarb.
Pour your cake mixture into the lined springform pan and bake for 45 minutes (Nigella says 45 – 60 minutes, but I would suggest checking in on your cake at 45 minutes!)
Remove cake from oven and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack. When completely cool, place on your desired cake stand/plate/platter!
For the Icing
Beat together double cream, cream cheese with electric hand beaters. Gradually add sifted icing sugar. Pour icing over cake and spread away to your heart’s desire! (Nigella’s recipe actually used twice as much of the ingredients for the icing, but I found that made way too much, so the measurements in our recipe are adjusted to what would be a suitable amount for this cake!). In her recipe, Nigella suggests icing the cake to look like a frothy Guinness. We feel like our beer cake looks more like an over-excited beer whose foam has fallen over the edge of the glass (much like how I feel when I see Nigella – a little over-exited and unable to contain myself!)
The resulting cake was perfect for a birthday cake as it was rich and decadent, two requirements in birthday celebrations! The Chocolate Espresso Beer Cake had a lovely moist and fudgey texture with a crispy edge, which was a delightful combination. The icing complimented the cake well, but as I mentioned earlier, the original measurements resulted in an overload of icing, so I have halved it for your cake baking convenience. Considering the cake had a large amount of sugar, it was not overly sweet which is always a delight. The coffee flavour was quite subtle, so this cake wouldn’t scare off coffee haters (in fact, The Gentleman’s granddad is a coffee hater and he found the cake to be quite enjoyable!). One of our cake tasters even said that it had a nutty, pecan-like flavour, despite containing no nuts! Overall, I think we all enjoyed celebrating The Gentleman’s birthday in Chocolate Espresso Beer Cake style!