Guinness

Chocolate Guinness fondants with cheesecake ice cream

chocolateguinnesscakes

The above photo does not do this pudding justice. I was a bit tipsy by the time I served/photographed it (as one often is after two previous courses and two bottles of wine!).

On the subject of food photography, I really enjoyed reading this article by the brilliant Ruby Tandoh about sharing pictures of food online. In it she argues that food that looks amazing doesn’t always taste so.

I particularly loved this paragraph and I will bear it in mind every time I beat myself up about my poor photographs for this blog. Whilst my photos maybe a bit crap they are at least honest and the food has tasted good (otherwise I would not offer you the recipe).

If you want to post your meal online, post away. Upload a picture of that sausage and mash. Don’t worry that the light is dim, that the gravy sloshes in a swampy pool across your plate. Sharing is a generous act, but perfectionism smothers that goodness. Upload the unfiltered, ugly pictures of your failed birthday cake, or your fish and chips in grease-soaked paper. Or, if you want to fuss over the exact positioning of four blueberries on top of a smoothie bowl for an hour before you tuck in, do that – but don’t forget to enjoy your food.


Getting back to the point, it was my 10th wedding anniversary on Friday and to celebrate I wanted to cook a special meal inspired by the food served at our wedding.

Our ‘big day’ was not at all fancy and our budget cake was a Chocolate Guinness one kindly made by my sister.

weddingcakes

I wanted to remember this in my anniversary menu but I don’t believe in serving cake as a dessert (unless it’s hot with custard). So I had the idea of making hot chocolate fondants flavoured with Guinness instead. And then to mirror the cream cheese icing on the cake serving the fondants with a cheesecake ice cream.

It worked really nicely so here are the recipes.

Chocolate Guinness fondants

Serves 4

  • 100g of good quality (70% cocoa) dark chocolate
  • 75g of butter
  • 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks
  • 50g of muscavado sugar
  • 50g of plain flour
  • 100ml of Guinness

Butter four ramekins with butter and place in the freezer to chill.

Set your oven to 170oC.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a pan over a low heat or in the microwave. Allow the mixture to cool a little and then stir in the two egg yolks.

In another bowl, beat together the two whole eggs, sugar and Guinness until light and foamy.

Fold in the chocolate mixture and the flour with a metal spoon until well incorporated.

Spoon the mixture into the chilled ramekins and bake for 9 minutes, or until the surface is set but there is a slight wobble in the middle.

Turn out onto plates and eat immediately with cheesecake ice cream (see recipe below).

NOTE: You can make these up in advance and keep covered in the fridge until you want to bake them. This is good if you’re making them for a dinner party. They also taste fine baked and then reheated in the microwave the next day.

Nigella Lawson’s cheesecake ice cream

  • 175ml full fat milk
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 125g Philadelphia (or other full fat cream cheese)
  • ½ a teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 350ml of double cream

In a bowl beat together the sugar, Philadelphia, vanilla and egg.

Heat the milk in a saucepan until hot and then pour this over the cream cheese mixture.

Then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan and place over a medium heat until the mixture thickens, whisking all the time. Try not to let the mixture boil or it will curdle.

Once the consistency of smooth custard, remove from the heat and whisk periodically until cooled to room temperature. Then place in the fridge to get really cold.

Finally add the double cream (lightly whipped) and lemon juice and pour into an ice cream maker. Churn until thick then put in the freezer to finish hardening.


Here’s a random photo of some baguettes I made this week. Aren’t they beautiful?

beautiful-baguettes

Not beautiful but very happy – Ben and I on our wedding day 10 years ago.

ben-and-zoes-wedding-029

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The best chocolate cake ever courtesy of the Domestic Goddess

chocolate guinness cake 2
I’ve had more requests for this Chocolate Guinness Cake recipe than any other by a long shot. It’s legendary in our family and is quite simply the best chocolate cake ever. People never believe me when I tell them that it’s super easy to make but it’s true. There’s hardly any mixing involved and limited measuring as you use a whole pat of butter, a whole carton of sour cream etc. Just make sure you buy a good quality spring form cake tin – my original cheapo Tesco one was leaky and it was heart breaking when the runny mixture ended up on the bottom of the oven.

You can’t really taste the Guinness (it just adds a malty stickiness) so don’t be put off making it if you’re not a fan. I’m never sure whether the addition of Guinness means that you ought not to give it to children. Surely the alcohol burns off in the oven?! Call me a bad mother but I DO let my children have a slice and they don’t seem to be any more vibrant than usual after a sugary chocolaty fix.

The ingredients are pretty expensive (around £6) but you do end up with a large cake which can be cut into at least 12 large slices.

I usually end up tinkering with even the best recipe but the only change I’ve made to this one is to leave the double cream out of the icing. It means one less ingredient to buy and I think it tastes fresher with just cream cheese and icing sugar (if you want to keep to the original then you add 125ml double cream after mixing together the cream cheese and icing sugar). The main cake is exactly as Nigella makes it.

Nigella’s Chocolate Guinness Cake (from ‘Feast’)

Makes 12 large slices

For the cake

  • 250ml Guinness
  • 250g butter
  • 75g cocoa
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1 x 142ml pot sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  • 275g plain flour
  • 2½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

For the icing

  • 300g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 150g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180oC fan and butter and line a 23cm spring form cake tin.

Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter and heat until the butter has melted. Then whisk in the cocoa and sugar.

In a separate bowl beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla, then pour into the saucepan with the butter, cocoa and sugar.

Finally, whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.

Pour the cake mixture into the tin and bake for 45 to 1 hour (for me this timing is frustratingly vague – from experience I usually opt for nearer to 45 minutes as it’s better for this cake to be slightly too moist than overdone. I just do the usual skewer test after 45 minutes and if it comes out clean then I take it out then). Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack.

When the cake is cold sit it on a flat plate ready for icing.

For the icing, lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth and then add the icing and beat again until incorporated.

Put the icing on top of the cake, and distribute roughly so that it looks like the frothy top of a pint of Guinness.

NOTE: Don’t be tempted to use half fat cream cheese for the icing – the lower fat content makes it too runny. I also find that it pays to use branded Philadelphia even though it’s more than double the price.