Picture this: in one hand… chocolate. In the other… a pint of Guinness. Now… put ’em together!! Are you kidding me…?? Just who was it that put this killer combo together AND did they receive something appropriate… other than getting to eat this fantastically dee-lish cake!!
As I write this post, I’m thinking back to years ago when I worked at the Chinese Laundry Cafe, in Kingston, ON. I had started working there as one of the bakers, and before I knew it, I was also working as a bartender and waiter. Easiest job I’ve ever had…? Defo, selling the desserts, including the infamous cheesecake, that I had previously baked!! ps STILL have that cheesecake recipe in my head after all this time. I’d love to know how many were made and eaten during the cafe’s time.
The funky little cafe was close to the student ghetto of Queen’s University, so natch, many of the clientele were the students. Sadly, the cafe is no longer there, but I’ll never forget winter term, when the students would come in for dessert. The girls…?? Usually ordered a specialty coffee, hot chocolate or tea (did you ever try their Wild Turkey Tea!!) with their cheesecake. The guys…?? Beer. Yes, with their dessert. The first time someone ordered that combo, I’m thinking whaaaaat..? So I asked them. “Awesome” they said. “You have to try it.” Awesome it was!
I’ve always been a fan of using alcohol in the kitchen – and baking is no exception. It’s truly amazing what you can make with even the smallest amount of Limoncello, Grand Marnier or an award winning dark rum with a lovely caramel finish, like Gosling’s Black Seal from Bermuda. Someone nicknamed it Black Gold when I was living there…
Highly aromatic and highly flavourful, are the keys. Guinness is no exception and obviously it’s uses other than quenching your thirst, are not limited to savoury foods. While looking online there were many versions of chocolate cake and cupcakes, using the famed stout. Even if you’re not a beer drinker, not to worry. The cake won’t taste like beer. The heat of the oven long cooks off the alcohol, leaving only this certain je ne sais quoi…. a certain something that marries well with chocolate. Indeed!
Chocolate Guinness Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Moist, dark & flavourful you could almost call this ‘a cake for guys who like cake!’ It will also be known as the easiest cake you’ve ever made, and will probably be one you go to time and time again. Don’t worry about any alcohol content, as it will be cooked off from the heat of the oven. Just think of any sauce you’ve had in a decent restaurant and how good it tasted. Carrying a good deal of the credit… probably was alcohol of some kind – wine, port, madeira… you get the picture. And the taste. YUM.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces to melt easily
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups superfine sugar (blitz it in a food processor for a few seconds)
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
For the icing:
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups icing sugar
2 T heavy cream (not totally necessary and may thin your icing too much, but using it does lighten the icing)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter a 9-inch spring form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
For the Icing:
Add cream and beat until you have a spreadable consistency.