Chocolate Guinness Cake with Irish Whiskey Cream Cheese Icing

Saturday, March 16, 2019

I'm a fan of big and dark brews and Guinness was one of my first. I actually enjoyed the coffee-like roast-y malty taste, especially when accompanied with that creamy luscious head.

So for a dessert for St. Patrick's Day, a cake made with this iconic brew seemed in order, and Nigella's Guinness Chocolate Cake was a recipe I chose because ... duh, it's Nigella! I loved how the cake didn't require me to bust out my stand mixer: you make it in a saucepan. Win! However, it needed two bowls for some beating action for the cream cheese icing. But that icing, though ... it made it all worth it!

I did make this recipe my own by swapping butter for beurre noisette, browned butter, which gives off such an amazing aroma, I'm sure it did wonders for the cake. Aaaand I also amped up the cream cheese icing by spiking it with ... you got it ... Jameson Irish Whiskey. Because ... St. Patrick's Day!

So here sits a rich and decadent chocolate cake, upon which sits an ethereal, thick and velvety layer of cream cheese. Fairly simple in execution, very minimalist in aesthetics, but oh so satisfyingly delicious.

I don't have to sell you the recipe, you know it's Nigella's. And if you've cooked and baked with beurre noisette, you'll know anything could be taken to the next level with that stuff. As for the spirited cream cheese icing, totally optional, of course. But why take a chance and miss out?


Chocolate Guinness Cake:
275 g (2 cups + 3 Tbsp) all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp baking soda
275 g butter (1 cup + 3 Tbsp) unsalted butter
150 ml (2/3 cup) sour cream
2 large eggs, at room temperature
250 ml Guinness
75 g Dutch processed cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
350 g (1-3/4 cup) dark brown sugar
50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Irish Whiskey Cream Cheese Icing:
1 tbsp (15g) gelatin
60 ml (1/4 cup) boiling water
200 g (1-2/3 cups) icing sugar, sieved
250 g (1 cup) cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp Jameson Irish Whiskey
180 ml (3/4 cup) heavy whipping cream


Chocolate Guinness Cake:
1. Butter the bottom and sides of a 23 cm / 9 inch springform tin, then line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and the baking soda. Set this aside.
4. In a saucepan, start browning the butter on medium high.
5. When butter starts foaming, lower the heat to medium. Stir often with a heatproof spatula until butter turns deep gold in colour and brown specks appear. This may take up to 5 minutes.
6. While waiting for the butter to brown, whisk the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl, and set it aside.
7. To the saucepan, add the Guinness, the cocoa powder and the sugars, and stir to combine, making sure to break up the chunks of cocoa.

8. Take the saucepan off the heat, then stir in the sour cream mixture.
9. In two additions, fold in the flour, well enough so no floury lumps remain.
10. Transfer the batter to the prepared tin and bake for 45 - 50 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
11. Cool the cake in the tin for 15 minutes, before inverting it on to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Irish Whiskey Cream Cheese Icing:
12. Pour the boiling water into a small heatproof bowl, then sprinkle the gelatin powder on top. Stir to dissolve, then set aside to cool.
13. In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese with the sieved icing sugar until lightened in texture, about 3 minutes.
14. Add the Irish whiskey and the cooled gelatin mixture to the cream cheese and beat for a further 2 minutes.
It is important to add the gelatin when just cooled, and the gelatin hasn't set.

15. In another medium bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until firm peaks form.
16. Fold in the whipped cream to the cream cheese gently, in three additions.
17. Place the cream cheese icing in the freezer for 10-15 minutes until firm enough to hold its shape.
18. When cake has completely cooled, cover the top of the cake in a thick layer of icing, mimicking the thick creamy head of the famous brew.

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