Monday, February 16, 2009

Chocolate Guinness Cake and Valentine's Day Menu

For the past several years, Joe and I have passed on expensive dinners out on Valentine's Day in lieu of making something nice at home. Last year's Valentine's Day ended at the pet neurologist with a half-paralyzed cat, so we were hoping that this year would be a little better. I planned out a menu but neglected to take pictures of anything except the cake before we polished it off.

Valentine Day's Menu
Pan-seared bay scallops over linguine with a tomato cream sauce
Roasted Asparagus
Garlic Cheddar Biscuits
Becker Vineyards Viognier
Chocolate Guinness Cake

Since I had some Guinness leftover from the Guinness Beef Stew, this cake that popped up on Annie's Eats blog seemed like a natural choice. I had actually been debating between several desserts including a chocolate chunk bread pudding with Kahlua in it, but there is something about a cake that seemed nice for Valentine's Day. It turned out so moist and flavorful. The Guinness-chocolate combination is incredible, and the frosting complemented it nicely.

I had a few minor problems: I don't have a springform pan, so I used a regular 9-inch cake pan, and it overflowed in the oven. Nothing caught fire though. I also took it out a little early, and the center sank a bit, though it was nothing a little frosting couldn't fix!

Chocolate Guinness Cake
source: Annie's Eats

For the cake:
1 cup Guinness beer
10 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups superfine sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese (no need to soften)
5 tbsp. butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the sides of a 9-inch round springform pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, combine the Guinness and butter. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add the Guinness mixture to the bowl and mix until incorporated. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of the mixer and mix on low speed until just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes back clean. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, remove the sides of the pan.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream on medium-high speed. Add the powdered sugar to the bowl in batches, beating on low until just combined and then on high speed until desired consistency is reached. For a stiffer icing, add more powdered sugar. Frost cooled cake as desired.