A bit of a misnomer, this, as I left out the raisins! This is one of Dan Lepard's recent recipes, originally published in Sainsbury's Magazine, which has received much acclaim from bloggers such as Choclette and Joanna at Zeb Bakes. As with many of Dan's recipes, it's an unusual method, starting with making a sort of porridge by cooking oats and cocoa in stout. However it's a simple 'mix in the pan' recipe which isn't difficult to follow. The cake tin size isn't mentioned in the online recipe, but the original recipe states a 20cm (8") square tin.
I left out the dried fruit because the Chief Tester (and biggest eater!) doesn't really like it in cakes, and added my own stout-flavoured frosting, as the one in the recipe looked far too sweet and over-generous for our tastes. I didn't have Guinness available, so used Murphy's Irish Stout, which I keep in stock for winter casseroles. For the frosting, I melted 175g plain chocolate with 30g butter in a small saucepan, then removed the pan from the heat and stirred in 2 tablespoons of golden syrup and 3 tablespoons of stout. I cooled this until it just held it's shape, then spread it over the cold cake.
The recipe produces a dense, moist, and (dare I say it?) chewy cake, which might not be to everyone's taste. It doesn't taste very sweet, as the sugar is counterbalanced by the flavour of the stout, so the very sweet looking frosting from the recipe may not have been as OTT as it first seemed on reading the recipe - in retrospect, a few moist, sweet, plump raisins or cherries dotted around might be an improvement too (although not from CT's point of view!). That reads as if I didn't like the cake, which isn't the case. I enjoyed it a lot and would like to try it again with the dried fruit added; I'm just trying to be objective about it. As it is such a robust cake, it would probably travel well (without the frosting), so would make a good addition to a picnic.