Nigella does a Guinness and chocolate cake, and the internet is awash with variations, with a dark, rich, malty chocolate sponge. But for my cake, I wanted the beer to be on the outside.
For the beer buttercream, you need to reduce the beer down - but don't worry, it doesn't take long and it's not complicated. You then pour the cooled, thick liquid into freshly-whipped buttercream for a boozy flavour.
I've used Bath Ales Barnsey bitter for this, although any rich, dark beer would work - stout works well too, as you'll see from my Mini Chocolate and Guinness Cakes I made earlier in the year. And I haven’t spread the buttercream all over the sides of the cake on purpose - the swirly frosting on the dark base reminds me of the froth on top of a freshly poured pint.
Cuts into 8-10 slices.
For the chocolate cake:
150g softened butter
125g caster sugar
80g dark chocolate (I’ve used 85% cocoa content for a richer flavour), plus extra for the topping
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk
250g butter, slightly softened
250g icing sugar
50ml full-bodied beer (dark bittter, stout, etc)
First, make the chocolate cake. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190ºC/375ºF. Line two 20cm sandwich tins with greaseproof paper and a little butter around the edges and put to one side.
To make up the cake, place one of the cake layers onto a board or serving plate and spread half of the buttercream on top. Gently place the other layer on top, pushing down very carefully. Swirl over the rest of the buttercream, forming peaks. Scatter some chocolate curls or shavings over the top before serving.
This recipe appeared in the Food Monthly section of the Reading Post newspaper on 11 June 2014.