Close your eyes and imagine falling back into a whirl of liquid dark-black chocolate, so moist and munchy that it covers you like a warm duvet and so soft that you feel surrounded by silk and cotton.
This is the almost erotic feeling you get while first trying this magnificent and perfected cake, a duet of bittersweet Guinnessand rick chocolate modified from a brilliant recipe of Nigella Lawson.

for the cake

250 ml Guinness
250 g butter
75 g unsweetened dark cocoa powder
400 g confectioners’ sugar
142 ml sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
275 g all-purpose flour
2 ½ Tsp baking powder

for the topping

300 g cream cheese or curd cheese
150 g confectioners’ sugar
125 ml whipped cream or low-fat yoghurt

Preheat the oven to gas mark 180°C, and butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin.

Pour the Guinness into a pot, 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 slowly pour Guinness mixture in, constantly stirring. Finally whisk in the flour and baking powder.

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.

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