So here’s the deal.
Richard hates his birthday.
I’ve christened him the birthday grinch he’s that bad. He insists his Mum forgetting his 6th birthday doesn’t have anything to do with it although he makes a point of reminding her on an annual basis so maybe it does.
No, really. He just hates the fuss and the bother. And the yearly reminder that he’s never going to be 19 years old ever again, the captain of his University rugby team and totally ripped. Which apparently translates as women throwing themselves at him with wild abandon. Something that doesn’t happen very much these days.
As luck would have it though, this year his birthday coincided with Mahjong Friday being held at our place the night before the big day. Which meant that all our closest Shanghai friends would be in the same room the night before his birthday. It would be rude not to make a bit of a fuss surely?
Richard is partial to a pint or two of Guinness and since his birthday is two days before St Patricks Day this Chocolate Guinness cake had ‘make me’ written all over it. I don’t normally makes cakes because there’s only so much cake two people can eat and to be honest, the amount of butter and sugar in the recipe has always put me off. But I justified it because a) there would be 12 of us eating the cake b) it’s a birthday cake and what the hell it’s only once a year.
Although when I was weighing the butter I did have to stop for a minute and pause. That’s a lot of butter.
I cut down the sugar to 350g and although I think you could cut it down another 50g and get away with it, the reality is it’s probably a futile effort given the other ingredients! Although every bit helps I suppose.
Thoughts of clogging everyones arteries aside, this is a dead easy cake to make once everything is weighed. Even the most heavy handed in the kitchen would be able to turn out a decent cake from this recipe. It’s a gorgeously dense, moist black affair – the texture reminds me of parkin cake if any Brits remember that?
I asked The Cat Lady if she had any candles to bing over on the day – being a mum to 3 she’s a lot more organised on birthdays than I am or ever will be. Of course she said. Now she’s a Californian blonde so I guess that’s her excuse for mistaking rocket launchers for candles.
There may have been some alcohol consumed before we tried to light the ‘candles’ in the kitchen, but at one point I was convinced either the fire alarm was going to go off or we were about to say hello to our neighbours upstairs.
In any case, Richard was suitably embarrassed which was the whole point of the exercise.
This is a cake I’ll make again probably leaving off the topping if it’s just for the two of us – the ingredients divide nicely in half too which means I’ll be able to make 12 cupcakes which we would easily demolish over a few days between us.
Nigella's Chocolate Guinness Cake
For the cake
- 250 ml Guinness
- 250 g unsalted butter
- 75 g cocoa powder
- 350 g caster sugar
- 140 ml sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 275 g plain flour
- 2 1/2 tsps bicarb soda
For the topping
- 300 g cream cheese
- 150 g icing sugar
- 125 ml double cream
Preheat the oven to 180C and butter and line a 23cm springform tin.
Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan (the one you use for pasta/spaghetti is perfect), add the butter and heat gently until the butter is melted.
Turn off the heat and whisk in the cocoa and sugar.
Mix together the sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract and then pour over the buttery beer concoction.
Whisk in the flour and bicarb - you will have a dense chocolate sauce at this point.
Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45 -60 minutes. It's ready when a toothpick comes out clean.
Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack.
Whilst you're waiting for this to happen you can make the topping. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, sieve over the icing sugar and beat them slowly together. Add the cream and beat again until you can spread the mixture easily. Or tip all the ingredients into a processor and whizz for a couple of minutes.
Ice the top of the cake once it's completely cold.
Happy birthday, grumpy husband x