There are a handful of cookery writers that I trust implicitly: Jamie Oliver, The Hairy Bikers, and Nigella Lawson chief among them. Pick up any of their books, turn to any recipe, follow the instructions exactly and you will end up with something delicious. Every time.
This is a Nigella recipe, and the first time my wife made it we knew that it was a cake that we could come back to time and again. It is now a firm family favourite, baked for birthdays, family gatherings and any other time we feel like it.
Yes it’s wickedly indulgent, but somehow, because it is so light and moist, it doesn’t really feel like it. It’s not one for anybody on a diet though!
Photo Credit: James Merrell
For the cake:
250g unsalted butter, chopped into slices or cubes
75g cocoa powder
400g golden caster sugar
140 ml soured cream
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the topping:
300g cream cheese
150g icing sugar
125ml double or whipping cream
Heat the oven to 180°C/350ºF/gas mark 4. Grease and line a 23cm/9 inch spring form tin.
Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted whisk in the cocoa and sugar.
In a separate bowl, beat the soured cream with the eggs and vanilla and pour into the beer and butter, then whisk in the flour and bicarb.
Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 – 60 minutes.
Leave it to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
When the cake is cold, lightly whip the cream cheese until it is smooth, sieve in the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Add the cream and beat again until it is thick and unctuous. Spread the topping thickly over the top of the cake so that it looks just like a well-poured pint of Guinness.