It's that time where we all start splashing about the Guinness and celebrate everything Irish for St. Patrick's Day. And yes, I've made some little cakes. Have a look:
Chocolate and Guinness is a bit of a classic combination - if you like the cakes a bit more chocolatey, use a darker chocolate or experiment with a bit more of it in the batter. The Guinness buttercream is great - it's made by simmering the Guinness down for a few minutes until it reduces and thickens. You start with 100ml of Guinness, and you end up with just under 50ml - which is plenty, to be honest, and you probably won't use all of it to make the icing. If you have any reduced Guinness leftover, then freeze it and add it to your stews, pies or for the next time you make these cakes.
Chocolate Mini Cakes with Guinness and Vanilla Buttercream
For the cakes:
125g butter plus extra for greasing the tin
125g golden caster sugar
50g dark chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla essence
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
For the icing:
150g softened butter (I use salted butter, if you're using unsalted, add a small pinch of salt)
150g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
To start with, reduce the Guinness for the icing. Pour the Guinness into a saucepan and simmer on a low heat for 7-10 minutes. The Guinness will have reduced to just under 50ml. Put to one side and cool.
To make the cakes, preheat your oven to gas mark 3/170ºC. Rub a little butter into the holes of a 12-hole mini cake tin. Mix together the softened butter and the caster sugar and then crack in the eggs. Add the chocolate and the vanilla essence and then sift in the flour and baking powder. Divide the mixture between the holes of the tin and slide into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a cocktail stick pushed into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Leave to cool.
To make the icing, beat the butter and the icing sugar together and add the teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. Gradually, drop by drop, trickle in the reduced Guinness mixture until you have a fluffy, pale icing with the Guinness flavour that is also a good piping consistency.
Now, turn to your completely cooled cakes and cut them in half along the centre. Pipe a swirl of the icing over the top of the bottom half of each cake and then sandwich the other slice on top. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Are you celebrating St. Patrick's Day? What will you be cooking?