Guinness is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Ireland, so it makes sense to feature a recipe that uses it in advance of St. Patrick’s Day.
Like many of my other favorite baking recipes, this one comes from King Arthur Flour. This cake is a monster – it can easily serve 24 people (especially after a big dinner). While there is no one step that is particularly difficult, all in all making this cake is an involved process. Make sure to build in enough time to allow the cake to cool completely before frosting it. The cake is a lot of work, but it is also incredible. The Guinness cuts the sweetness of the cake, and also makes it very moist.
If the cake looks too challenging, at least try making the topping that goes along with it – Jameson whipped cream. Simple to make with a slight bite from the whiskey.
- 2 cups guinness
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups Dutch-processed cocoa
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 large eggs
- 6 ounces sour cream
- 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 16 ounces heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- chocolate shavings for topping (if desired)
Step 1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9- or 10-inch round cake pans. If using 9-inch pans, make sure they are 3 inches deep. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper circles.
Step 3. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Take the time to ensure all the small pockets of dry cocoa have been absorbed. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Step 4. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together.
Step 5. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream until uniform.
Step 6. Pour in the cooled Guinness-cocoa mixture and mix together.
Step 7. Add the flour mixture and mix slowly. In the beginning it will look like the ingredients will spill out of the bowl, but take your time. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate everything.
Step 8. Divide the batter between your two pans and bake. I used 10-inch pans and the cake took 55 minutes to cook. With 9-inch pans the cooking time will be about 45 minutes.
Step 9. While the cake is baking, make the frosting. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, like Pyrex. Bring the cream to a simmer (bubbles will be coming to the surface, but it won’t be a rolling boil).
Step 11. Add the vanilla and stir to incorporate. Refrigerate the icing until it is stiff but spreadable. Don’t worry if the icing firms up too much in the fridge. Simply let it sit on the counter until it warms up again before spreading.
Step 12. By this time the cake will be done. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan. Removing the pan is a little tough. First run a knife around the edge of the cake. Then place an inverted wire cooling rack on top of the cake pan. Flip the cake upside down and set the cooling rack down. Then pull the cake pan, and parchment paper, off. Each layer of the cake will be sitting upside down. Allow them to cool completely – a couple of hours.
Step 13. Slice the tops off the cooled layers to ensure they lie flat. Place one layer, upside down, on your serving plate.
Step 14. Slide pieces of parchment paper under the rim of the cake, to protect the serving platter from errant icing. Then spread a little less than 1 cup of icing on the top of the layer.
Jameson whipped cream
Unlike the cake recipe, this whipped cream is quite straightforward. The amount of whipped cream made with the measurements below won’t serve 24 people – more like six. Because the proportions are 1:1:1,it’s easy to expand this recipe.
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon Jameson whiskey
Step 1. The key thing when making whipped cream is to have everything cold. This is especially true when adding additional liquid (alcoholic or not). Chill your mixing bowl and whisk in the fridge, and put the whiskey in the freezer.
Step 2. Whisk the cream for a minute or so, until it begins to grow in size. Then add the sugar and whiskey and continue to whip until soft peaks form.
You might not think that whiskey flavor goes with chocolate cake, but it works. The whipped cream is not overly alcoholic. Instead, it just provides a little extra flavor to the cake. The whipped cream is especially great when the cake has sat around for a couple days and is starting to dry out. After all, it will likely take you quite a while to finish the leftovers.