Monday 11 March 2013

Chocolate Guinness Cake - We Should Cocoa

The theme for this month's We Should Cocoa challenge has been set by Lucy of The KitchenMaid, and she has chosen the theme of 'fame'.

Well, putting together fame and chocolate certainly provoked a lot of thought on my part - it can have such a wide interpretation. Famous recipes? Recipes named after famous people or places? There are plenty of recipes out there, but nothing seemed very appealing. I rejected the original Toll House cookie recipe, Sachertorte, Nanaimo Bars (done those already) and several others.

It wasn't until I reached into the back of a cupboard, for a tin of Guinness stout for a beef casserole, that inspiration struck. A chocolate recipe containing a famous ingredient! What could be more famous worldwide than the drink Guinness?

Nigella's chocolate Guinness cake is the first recipe to come up on a Google search, but I didn't have any sour cream. The second recipe needed buttermilk, also not in stock, but the third, from Delicious,  looked OK, and also had the advantage of cutting down the sugar quite a bit. The accompanying photo looked good too  - the frosting made the cake look like a glass of Guinness with a good head!

Making the cake itself went quite smoothly, although my batter wasn't pourable. The cake rose well, but sank a little in the middle on cooling. I wasn't too worried about this as the photo accompanying the recipe showed a sunken centre to the cake!

The frosting was a different story! I've told my husband that if I ever pick a recipe which melts white chocolate again he has to forcibly restrain me from making it! After half an hour in a double boiler, the white chocolate (Menier brand) still showed no signs of melting and looked distinctly scorched in places. I was about to throw it away and start again when I read a tip online about adding a little butter or vegetable oil. Two tablespoons of sunflower oil worked it's magic, and loosened up the chocolate. I had to pick out one or two large scorched lumps which showed no signs of melting, and the molten chocolate was still a little grainy, but I went ahead and used it. I didn't have any sour cream, so used 4 tablespoons of fromage frais in the frosting instead. The resulting white chocolate cheesecake frosting was deliciously sweet and creamy..

The cake texture was soft and quite crumbly, but not dry. The flavour was delicious, not too sweet and very chocolatey. It definitely needed the sweetness of the frosting to contrast with the slight bitterness of the Guinness in the cake.

We Should Cocoa is a monthly cooking challenge which brings together chocolate in some form with a specially chosen ingredient. Originally hosted by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog and Chele of Chocolate Teapot, the challenge now often uses guest hosts, as with Lucy The KitchenMaid, this month. Lucy will post a round up at the end of the month, although entries so far can be seen on this link to the challenge.


Unknown said...

what a stunner... a very handsome looking cake indeedy... shame you had issues with the white chocolate but it seems as though it was worth it in the end... gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

It looks delicious - our chocolate Guinness cake recipe has a simple pour on chocolate icing, but it doesn't look anywhere near as pretty as this one. Re the white chocolate - I think the secret is to look for one with a high % cocoa butter, or it won't melt properly. When I'm making caramelised white chocolate, it needs to be at least 30% cocoa butter, or it will just go grainy and gritty rather than smooth.

Suelle said...

Thanks for the tip, Celia. I could understand an 'eating' chocolate giving problems, but Menier chocolate is sold specifically for baking!

Anonymous said...

Cooking with Guinness is wonderful.

Katie said...

Looks great and very much like a glass of guiness. White chocolate can be so tricky. I remember trying to melt some in the microwave once and the middle practically caught on fire!

Caroline said...

Gorgeous looking cake, I do like the contrast of the two layers.

White chocolate is so odd to work with isn't it. I remember trying to melt some a while ago in the microwave and it scorched really badly but then last week I very successfully melted Green and Blacks in the microwave. I was only using small amounts, used the defrost setting and kept stopping every 20 seconds, or less when it started to melt. And I stopped before it had all melted and stirred until the last bit had liquified. A bit involved but no scorching. Annoying about the Menier though, especially when it's sold for baking!

Hello said...

I love this cake, i've made it a couple of times. I like your version with white chocolate, i've never thought of making the frosting with white chocolate before, I usually use sour cream frosting.

Choclette said...

Oh wonderful Suelle, that cake looks just about perfect. Your the first person I've come across so far that has used a famous ingredient. I've really been enjoying reading the different interpretations of this challenge. Thanks, as always, for entering.

I always have problems with melting white chocolate. I usually use Green & Black's. I think it just melts at a very low temperature and generally gets too hot before it has time to melt - that's my interpretation anyway!

Unknown said...

Famous ingredient, brilliant! I've actually just made this cake - to Nigella's original recipe - and it has sunk in the middle too. I'm going to take your advice and avoid white chocolate icing though.
Thanks so much for entering this month, Lucy