The theme for the second Forever Nigella, hosted by Sarah of Maison Cupcake is Seduced by Chocolate, and as Nigella is all about the sinful pleasures in life, (well sometimes, lets not forget the irritatingly named Temple Food chapters), there are a lot of chocolate recipes to choose from. I in fact ended up making two, but only one is really the focus of this blog.
I made Nigella’s flourless chocolate cake from Kitchen for Manny’s work as a last minute “good luck moving offices” cake last Thursday night. It was a very simple cake to make and the sliver I tasted before it was whisked off to LR HQ never to be seen again tasted delicious. Something to make again I’d say. And make properly next time - this was meant to come with a margarita cream however someone, who shall remain nameless, appears to have drunk the miniature of tequilla I keep for baking so it was delivered without cream - which didn't seem to matter as it was scoffed sharpish and feedback from Manny's colleagues was very favourable. And none came home which is always a good sign.
I then couldn't decide what to make for my proper Forever Nigella entry. The peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake looked so good, as did the chocolate and honey cake, with little tiny bees on top. And then there were the churros. Hmmm churros. However one recipe caught my eye – the Guinness and chocolate cake. I like booze and I like chocolate = sold!
From her book Feast, for her Guinness and chocolate cake, Nigella (obviously from the title) uses the black stuff from Ireland. I chose to go a little more local, opting for some Kernel Brewery Export Stout (1890 London) an award winning stout from my local brewery in Bermondsey. It was incredibly tempting just to drink all this and make a different cake - I'm not a fan of ale really, but I do love a good stout.
I seem to choose well with the Nigella recipes I make - this cake was even simpler than the flourless chocolate one! And the simplicity doesn't mean the cake wasn't tasty - the results were fantastic!
Obviously I couldn't resist it and had to cupcake a couple of spoonfuls of the cake, but who can blame me, aren't they pretty?!
So as well as cupcake'ing the recipe I made the proper cake. And boy it was a beauty - an astounding colour, black as night with a moistness that only lashings of butterbeer can provide!
And once I covered it in splodges of ooooozing vanilla creamy creamy cheese frosting it was a thing of beauty. I know it's not shop pretty but I love it!
And it tasted as good as it looked – very moist cake and incredibly flavoursome with some of the notes of the stout (rich dried fruit, rum and raisin, espresso, chocolate etc) coming through. I’ve made Guinness cake before and although this stout was slightly more expensive I’d definitely recommend spending a little extra as it is worth it and gives it a lovely intense flavour. I also added a good splash of vanilla paste to the frosting as I can't resist adding vanilla to anything, and it really brought out the flavour of the cake for me. The frosting was fabulous - even pudding cat Angel gave it the paws up for taste. Lets face it there is little you add cream to that doesn't taste better after!
I've included the recipe below -with some changes I made but if you want Nigella's original version you can find it on her website, link above.
250ml Kernel brewery porter
250g unsalted butter
400g caster sugar
1 x 142ml pot sour cream
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 1/2teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
300g Philadelphia cream cheese
150g icing sugar
125ml double or whipping cream
(optional) Good splodge of vanilla paste (I used quite a bit - I love vanilla!)
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C, and butter and line a 23cm springform tin. I would pre-heat the oven a bit before starting - this cake took me less than 10mins to make so the oven wasn't quite heated and I had to wait!
Pour the Kernel Stout (or whatever Stout you're using) into a large saucepan, add the butter, sliced - and heat until the butter's melted. At this point, take off the heat and whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Nigella does the rest of the cake in the pan, but I poured the butterbeer mix into my large bowl here as it was easier to beat everything together in the bowl.
Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
Pour the cake batter into the lined tin and bake for 45 minutes. Mine took 45mins but Nigella states it could take up to an hour.
Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Be careful transferring the cake – it’s quite squishy!
Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together.
Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. This is where I added a good splodge of vanilla paste. Slap the frosting on the cake and lick the bowl clean if you have any left.
Serves: yields about 12 slices (or less if you have a husband who doesn’t understand the concept of a small slice).
Can't wait to see what next month's Forever Nigella challenge brings - thanks again to Sarah for hosting this fabulous event!
Btw, not all of the cake was covered in sprinkles - just for the blog - those things are killer on your teeth!