by Julie Van Rosendaal
Nigella Lawson’s Guinness chocolate cake is perhaps the most popular version on the internet, having been featured in the New York Times food section twice. It’s large, high and dense, the sort of cake that’s often baked in a Bundt pan to ensure it’s cooked through and doesn’t wind up damp or sinking in the middle. I’ve rounded down the butter and upped the cocoa; if you like, bake it in two 8- or 9-inch layers, in a Bundt pan or as cupcakes. It’s even better with stout-laced frosting, which comes across as caramel-like; between the cake and frosting, you’ll use just about exactly one bottle.
1 c. Wild Rose oatmeal stout, Guinness or other dark stout
1/2 c. butter, cut into pieces
2 c. sugar
1 c. cocoa
3/4 c. sour cream
2 large eggs
1 T. vanilla
2 c. all-purpose flour
2-1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
3 c. icing sugar
1/4-1/3 c. Guinness or other dark stout
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and fit a circle of parchment in the bottom. (Alternatively, grease a Bundt pan or two 8- or 9-inch layer cake pans.) In a large saucepan, heat the stout and butter over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and cocoa. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Whisk into the chocolate mixture (make sure it has cooled enough that it won’t cook the eggs), then whisk in the flour, baking soda and salt. Pour into the prepared pan or pans and bake for 45 minutes to an hour – less for a Bundt cake and longer for the springform pan – or 30 minutes in two layer cake pans, or until the cake is set and springy to the touch. Let cool for 15 minutes before loosening the sides of the pan or inverting the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, beat the butter and about half the icing sugar until smooth; add the remaining icing sugar and 1/4 c. stout; beat until creamy and smooth, adding a little extra sugar or stout until you have a spreadable frosting. Spread over the top of the cooled cake.