Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Maybe it's the Booze...

Have I ever been on time for anything a day in my life? Well, perhaps, but recently I've found myself lagging behind a lot more than usual! At least when it came to making this cake for my mom's birthday I was actually on time - I finished the "cake" part of the recipe on her very birthday! Never mind that it needed a good three days to age and mellow out - her party was the Sunday after, giving me ample time to prepare fillings and plan the decorations before putting it all together.

The filling and ganache went together beautifully, and the cake was assembled and glazed in a snap that morning! Even with the chilling needed after the ganache flood, it was done well before the guests were ready for it. Okay, okay, so I was finishing the cake as guests were beginning dinner... at least I finished it before dessert, right?

This would be the quintessential Guinness stout chocolate cake recipe that I'm sure you've seen around the blogging world for the past gazillion years (heck, I've even posted a variation before!). It resurfaces every St. Patty's day or so, and usually emerges in beautiful photos of elegantly frosted cupcakes, glossy glazed Bundts, snow-capped springform rounds and thinner, single layer cakes. A quick browse of the Food Blog Search tool comes up with a ton of recipe options, not to mention the variety on sites like Allrecipes and Epicurious and the printed version by Nigella Lawson!

I actually did use the Epicurious version as my baseline for this concoction, though based on various reviews on the site I heavily modified it - at the very least doing away with their ganache recipe and using my own version (with a mix of $25 worth of semi- and bitter-sweet chocolates, and lots of heavy cream!) along with making a cream cheese and cinnamon filling that set off the almost black cake perfectly. When it came time to do the decorations (at 4PM the day of the party, but nevermind that!) I fell victim to the convenience of the CakeMate tubes and store-bought sugarpaste flowers I had at my disposal. It's no secret around here that I loathe my piping bag and the cleaning that comes with it, so really in the end the tiny amount of frosting decoration I did was so not worth dragging it out!

Like I've mentioned before, this was actually one of four birthday cakes I put together in the past couple weeks. I'll share the others eventually as I steal bits and pieces of free time (and in the cake of my dad's, finish the darn thing! It's safe and sound in the freezer right now, tee hee). For now though, this cake is going to find a home at Poornima's blog Tasty Treats where there's an awesome event called For the Love of Chocolate!

Oh, and take it from a room full of people who fell into chocolate comas that evening at the table... a small piece will more than suffice.

St. Patty's Cake
Serves 24 generously
2 cups Guinness Stout
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened, Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cups icing (powdered) sugar
5 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
5 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, grease and line two 9" springform pans.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness with butter and bring to a simmer.
  3. Stir in brown sugar until blended, then add cocoa powder, whisking until mixture is smooth.
  4. Remove from heat and cool while preparing dry ingredients.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  6. In another large bowl, beat eggs and sour cream well.
  7. Add slightly cooled beer mixture to eggs, beating just to combine.
  8. Add flour mixture and mix briefly with the beaters, then use a rubber spatula to fold the batter until completely combined.
  9. Bake cakes about 40-45 minutes, or until a tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean.
  10. Cool completely in tins before turning out, filling and frosting.
  1. Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and cinnamon.
  2. Begin adding the sugar to achieve the desired consistency for the filling (should be fairly sturdy but still easily spreadable).
  3. Spread entire amount of frosting over the bottom layer of cake, top with the remaining cake layer and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.


  1. Place the chocolate into a bowl.
  2. Place the cream in a saucepan over medium heat and bring just under the boil.
  3. Remove from heat and immediately pour over the chopped chocolate, stirring with a silicone spatula or whisk until smooth.
  4. Allow the ganache to cool 10-15 minutes before pouring over the (cold) cake - start at the center of the cake and work outward with a knife or spatula to cascade it over the sides.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 505.1
Total Fat: 26.8 g
Cholesterol: 95.5 mg
Sodium: 138.7 mg
Total Carbs: 63.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.2 g
Protein: 6.3 g

Ooh!! And and and... did you know that Ricki over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs is having a giveaway bonanza to celebrate her brand new (and gorgeous) site? She's got a nice big bottle of maple syrup (the real McCoy!) to give out and if you're like me in the T.O. area you can even win one of her cakes!! Check out her post here!


  1. Stunning, stunning cake!

  2. I couldn't ask for more chocolate...that cake looks heavenly...thanks for the lovely entry

  3. Wow! Just....WOW! I've never actually hear of Guinness cake! It looks incredible!

  4. I was very tempted to make a version of this on St. Paddy's Day. Love your twists:D

  5. I too made a Guinness cake but used Baileys Cream Cheese as a frosting. I like the thought of using a ganache.


Thanks for the feedback!