3 September 2011

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey's Buttercream aka My Birthday Cake!

Can anything sound any more Irish than that right there? Can anything sound any more GORGEOUS! Ok maybe the Irish accent literally sounds more gorgeous - any tall, dark handsome lad with an Irish twang and I'm putty in their hunky hands. As soon as I saw this cake on the absolutely unique and wonderful blog Global Table Adventure I knew I was going to make it. And when is more suitable to have a booze-laden cake than for a 20th birthday :) Gosh...20...that's an age which just say's 'responsibility begins now' and I'm not sure Im suitable for the job!

Above is the AWESOME present my wonderful Mum got me, yes that is the prettiest most beautifully made cake stand that ever did exist (maybe a little biased..) and yes she does know me very well indeed! Below is the all-important cutting of the cake and making a wish :) This may or may not have been before 11 in the morning...self-control of a 2 year old

I'm not going to lie to you my lovely foodie friend's, I didn't do this cake complete justice and if you are cleverer than me and invest in more than one 8inch cake pan then any attempt you make will go much more smoothly than mine! I had to bake one sponge at a time and rushed taking the first one out of the pan whilst it was warm in my haste to get the next one in the oven - lesson numero uno, never try and remove a piping hot cake from a pan without a removable base, and at the very least remember to run a knife around the edge first! Im a fool, and in making these 2 rooky errors (that just highlight the fact I am not eligible of the 20-year-old title) I had a sponge that insisted it wanted to be part of a 4 layer cake rather than 2 - ie. I may have invented a self-splitting sponge, if only thats what I was after this time!

Click to enlarge any photo if you wish :)
Ok...confession time. My little village did not have Guinness Extra Stout anywhherree - only this double stout or normal Guinness. I opted for the double stout. So this cake is actually a bit of an Irish Imposter
You can kind of see in the photo below top-right how the upper sponge is barely holding itself together! This is the result of my previously mentioned impatience. When it was slathered in mountains of icing it all stayed together fine though - just to show you if a baking adventure doesn't go quite right, do not stress, most things can be rescued!

I'm not going to ramble on as I have the last deeply delicious slice of cake to devour and lottsssaa leftover Bailey's to drink (such a hard life!) To sum up my feelings about this years birthday cake of choice - if I was only allowed to eat this for the 365 days until my 21st birthday, I think it would be a darn good year indeed!

I weighed as I went and the weight measurements included my not be an exact conversion but is what I used. Without further ado here is what you have been waiting for - it is an unbelievably easy yet beautifully rich and entrancing cake. It's incredibly moist crumb and gorgeously unique flavour will, after a few intriguing first bites, leave you scrambling for more. It is a cake that you are not going to forget easily and is definitely best enjoyed with a tall glass of your favourite tipple :)

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey's Buttercream
Adapted from Global Table Adventure
Makes 1 8inch layer cake

For the cake
1 1/2 sticks (6oz) butter
1 cup (240ml) Guinness Extra Stout*
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (66g / 2 1/4 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups (300g / 10 1/2 oz) sugar
1 1/4 cups (180g / 6 3/8 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs

For the buttercream
3 sticks (12oz) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups (420g / 15oz) powdered/icing sugar, sifted
2-4 Tbsp Bailey's (I used 3)

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
Melt the butter in a small saucepan, remove from the heat and whisk in the Guinness, vanilla and cocoa
Whilst the mixture cools slightly, grease and line 2 8inch cake pans with parchment
Whisk together the sugar, flour and baking soda in a large bowl
Pour in the Guinness mixture and whisk in the 2 eggs
When the batter is completely smooth, pour evenly into the 2 pans**
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean
Leave to cool completely

For the buttercream: whip together the butter and sugar adding in enough Bailey's for it to be loose, fluffy and yummy :) The longer you whip it, the whiter it will be (5-10 minutes) ***

To assemble: level off the cake layers with a serrated knife if needed ****
Spread roughly 1/3 of the buttercream on the bottom layer of cake. Top with the second cake layer and wiggle it until they line up correctly
(Optional but I definitely recommend) Do a crumb coat - use another 1/3 of the buttercream and spread it all over the top and sides of the cake. It doesn't have to be neat but just stops any brown crumbs from showing in your final pretty cake
Refrigerate to set it, a few hours or overnight if you wish
Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, dollop the final 1/3 of the frosting on top of the cake. Spread evenly over the top and sides

* As mentioned with the photos, I did not have Guinness Extra Stout to hand so used another double stout. I have done a little research since and think, at least in the UK, normal bottled Guinness would be an equally good substitute
** As I did not have 2 pans I poured it into a measuring jug (as seen above) and weighed the batter to make sure I split it evenly. Just incase you have the same situation I found the batter weighed 1.054kg, so each pan had 527g worth of batter that was 425ml in volume (exact? me?)
*** I don't have a stand mixer so attempted to do this with an electric whisk. It worked but you will get a whiter and faster result with a stand mixer!
****I only levelled the layer I used for the base

And there you have it - one dreamily moist Irish cake that will warm your soul. It's best to store it in the fridge but I personally preferred to eat it at room temperature and it keeps very well, last piece disappearing as I type (5 days after the cake was made) and I think its actually improved with time :)

     Click for the Printable

UPDATE: Made this cake again for another birthday and...yeah it's a good cake. Make it, love it, be chubbyhappy :) can see that post here

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