I wasn't planning anything special for St. Patrick's Day until I came across a recipe by Nigella Lawson, who was just interviewed on npr. She has a fantastic recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cake, originally from her cookbook, Feast (Hyperion, 2004). I am a devoted fan of Nigella's; she is a British journalist turned food writer with a sensuous and easy style of cooking. While Nigella has a luxurious voice and a posh accent, and the cake is definitely rich, it is very easy to throw together and made of simple, unfussy ingredients. I had all of the ingredients in my pantry, so I adapted it for a quick work-night dessert. I think my prep time was 10 or 15 minutes. Then it baked while I made a quick dinner. It was out of this world delicious, fudgy and moist, with an earthiness added by the Guinness. I baked it in a Bundt pan instead of the springform pan she calls for, to make it fancier, and I dusted it with powdered sugar instead of the cream cheese frosting she recommends, to make it healthier (sort of). It's to die for.
A little late for St. Patrick's Day, but a good way to use up any leftover Guinness, if you have any.
Chocolate Guinness Cake
1 cup Guinness Stout
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Optional: confectioner's sugar, Guinness stout ice cream
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Butter and flour a Bundt pan.
3. Pour the Guinness into a saucepan, add the butter, and heat over low heat until the butter has melted.
4. Whisk the cocoa and sugar into the Guinness-butter mixture.
5. Beat the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla together.
6. Add the sour cream mixture to the pot and mix well.
7. Whisk in the flour and baking soda.
8. Pour contents into your prepared baking pan and bake until done, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
9. Garnish with confectioner's sugar, if desired. Would be excellent with Guinness stout ice cream.