Well, not really. A bit of family heritage and some Guinness though. I love Guinness, at least I love it aesthetically. The taste doesn't do much for me. I'm not really a beer/lager/stout/ale kind of gal. I wish I was. I made valiant efforts in my teens to force myself to enjoy it but no luck. I find the idea of a cold beer on a hot day appealing but then I drink it and eugh. That said, I've grown to really enjoy red wine as I have aged so maybe I just need another stab at the whole beer thing...
Anyway, Guinness, gorgeous. Its thick, rich, dark body and its contrasting creamy head... Beautiful. (I know this sounds quite sexual but it's true, what can you do?). I don't want to drink the stuff but I do admire it and it is amazing to cook with. It takes your stews to a whole other level of deliciousness - so rich and dark. I have been meaning to try and make a Guinness and chocolate cake for ages and Christmas seemed an appropriate time. I don't like Christmas cake (aren't I being fussy today!?) and I wanted a rich, wintry cake alternative and this seemed just right. Guinness and chocolate is a notorious combination. The Guinness adds depth and darkness to the chocolate, moisture to the cake and counteracts any excessive sweetness. Awesome.
Attractively styled with sockets in the background - baked goods must be kept on top of the toaster to be sure that they are out of the puppy dog's reach in our house. That and I'm lazy and we were about to eat it.
Result: Excellent. The cake was amazing still a tiny bit warm from the oven. You have to let it cool before you ice it but it is a massive brick of cake so it insulates the middle really well. It was moist and dense and dark. This isn't an airy, fluffy wisp of cake but that isn't what you want in our freezing dining room where we often have to wear coats. This is a hearty, warming cake. The icing marries beautifully with the cake bulk. I thought the Guinness added a slight, strange banana-y taste but no one else agreed and, as my sister pointed out, it has been a loooooong time since I ate a banana so what would I know. [Bananas rank highly on my least favourite food list - behind smoked salmon and cauliflower but above a whole raft of other things]. You only need a small piece of cake and it is a very large cake so it is a relief to be able to say that it ages well. I think most cakes are rubbish by Day 2 but this one is still going strong on Day 5 (?). It has compacted slightly and become denser and almost pudding-y. Also, the imaginary banana smell seems to have gone which is good news for me.
What do you think? Intriguing, yes?