I am not a good “school mum”. I don’t give up my time to go into school and hear endless Biff and Kipper stories haltingly read by my children’s classmates. I don’t volunteer to ferry muddy children on and off coaches for school trips. I can’t imagine anything worse than attending a PSA meeting. And as for costume making – that amounts to a last minute rummage through the dressing up box, or if feeling organised, a quick Ebay purchase.. I nearly wept with joy this year when it was announced there would be no dressing up for the usually obligatory World Book Day.
However I do bake. Be it the school fete, the PSA fundraiser, the Christmas fair, the parents coffee morning, I happily provide as much cake as physically possible because it involves doing something I simply love. Yes I am that selfish.
This weekend the baking is for the school Fun Run (oh, the irony). We’ll be refueling with cake, cake and more cake after dragging hot tired 6 year olds around a hilly 5k course. This Chocolate Guinness Cake wins all popularity contests and has become so renowned and requested by school mums I’ve even been asked to bake one to be auctioned off at the summer fair. It is also my husband’s absolute favourite, and he is prone to sulking when he witnesses it leaving the house for better causes, so this will hopefully provide added incentive for him to actually turn up and support the event.
I wish I could claim this recipe as my own, but the cake itself is all Nigella’s, and much the better for it. However I do make a different icing from that suggested in her original recipe – a sweet vanilla cream cheese frosting usually found on carrot cakes that offsets the dark chocolate and bitter Guinness flavour beautifully.
Nigella’s Chocolate Guinness Cake
250g unsalted butter
400g caster sugar
142ml sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
Cream cheese icing
100g softened butter
100g soft cheese
300g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and butter and line a 23cm springform tin
Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan, chop the butter and add it to the pan then gently heat until the butter is melted
Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar and cocoa.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs together with the sour cream and vanilla, then pour into the Guinness mix the in pan. Then whisk in the flour and bicarb.
Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. (Check after 30 minutes and cover with foil if the top is browning too much)
Sit the tin on a cooling rack and allow the cake to cool completely in the tin.
For the icing, beat the butter with a handheld mixer until soft and smooth, then beat in the soft cheese. Slowly beat in the icing sugar a few spoonfuls at a time, and finally add the vanilla extract and beat again until you have a creamy white icing.
Smooth over the cooled cake and dig in!