I have to admit I’m not really a beer drinker, so the idea of adding Guinness to chocolate cake just seems like a good way to ruin chocolate cake. I mean Bailey’s cream cheese frosting is clearly a no brainer, but beer cake? Gross. But, I must also admit that I am sometimes wrong. This is one of those “extremely infrequent” times. Hear me out.
GUINNESS AS AN INGREDIENT
Ok. So, I can honestly say I don’t know a barley from a hop. Beer mostly tastes the same to my uninformed palette and generally lands on the spectrum of more bitter to less bitter. I would say Guinness lands on the bitter side, but what the hell do I know. Now that’s not to say I haven’t downed my fair share of frothy pints or car bombs over the years. But trust me when I say, it all kind of tastes the same to me.
Of course cooking with Guinness is obviously different than chasing a shot of Jameson with it. Like wine and other liquors, the alcohol evaporates when it’s heated leaving a much different flavor profile than the one you are used to. In fact, Guinness has a variety of complex flavors that really stand out when you add it to a recipe. Trust me, it’s almost mocha-esque, which is why it works so well in desserts. So if you can get past the idea of bitter beer in something sweet like I had to do, you are definitely in for a treat. I even enjoyed the pre-cooked batter from the beaters.
MORE BAILEY’S PLEASE
Of course, we had to keep the Irish theme going with the addition of a Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheese Frosting. There are tons of recipes out there for Bailey’s frosting, but we liked the idea of a cream cheese version, since the cake is already so rich.
Once you add a layer of the frosting to the top of the cake, the end result is supposed to resemble a frothy pint of Guinness. Trust me, this version of a Guinness pint is WAY better than the original.
Adapted from NYT Cooking
FOR THE CAKE
Butter for the pan
1 cup Guinness stout
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar
¾ cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
FOR THE ICING
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
3 – 4 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
For the cake: heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.
In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to the Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda and whisk again until smooth. Pour into a buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, about 50 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.For the frosting, add soft cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and Bailey’s Irish Cream to a medium mixing bowl. Whip until smooth.
Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.