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Friday, April 12, 2013

Chocolate Guinness Cake with Whipped Cream and Berries

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I’ve mentioned before that I really love assuming the role of birthday cake baker. Honestly, one of the reasons I’m most excited for finishing school (35 days!) is so that my free time can be spent on extra baking projects! Last month we celebrated my mother-in-law’s birthday and she made it easy for me, specifically requesting this Guinness Cake!
My sister-in-law Kate had already made it once for Lynn, so I was a little concerned that version two wouldn’t quite match up. Luckily for me, Kate passed along tips and tricks from her baking experience so I knew to use dark chocolate cocoa and to bake the cake in two cake pans rather than trying to cut it in half.
 The cake execution turned out to be a success, even though my overzealous filling threatened to spill over and defame my masterpiece. Surprisingly, Ryan managed to slice pieces and keep them intact on each plate…he is the king of presentation after all!
 Considering I’m not a beer drinker, I didn’t expect to like this cake. Turns out I can handle beer in some settings…bread, chicken sandwiches, and now chocolate cake! The Guinness flavor is present but it adds a richness and complexity to the cake instead of making you think you’re biting into a bottle of beer. The whipped cream and berries are light enough to offset the intensity of the cake, which was best when drizzled with extra ganache!
One Year Ago: Tiramisu Cupcakes
Two Years Ago: Lemon Cranberry Coconut Bread
Three Years Ago: Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Chocolate Guinness Cake with Whipped Cream and Berries
slightly adapted from Little Box Brownie

for the cake-
-10 ounces Guinness
-1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa
-14 tbsp butter
-1 3/4 cups sugar
-2 eggs
-2/3 cup sour cream
-2 cups flour
-2 tsp baking soda

for the ganache-
-10 oz dark chocolate
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 tbsp butter

for the whipped cream and berries-
-2 cups fresh berries, washed
-1 cup heavy whipping cream
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tbsp confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and liberally spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Heat Guinness, cocoa, and butter in a small saucepan and heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts.
3. Beat sugar, eggs, and sour cream in a bowl until combined. Add the Guinness mixture and stir to combine. Whisk in the flour and baking soda. Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake for 45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 20-30 minutes before removing cakes from pans and allowing to cool completely on racks. (Cake layers can be made one day ahead of time. Once cooled completely, wrap well in plastic wrap and foil and store at room temperature).
4. To make the ganache, set a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add chopped chocolate, cream, and butter to the bowl and heat until butter and chocolate have melted. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
5. To make the whipped cream, beat heavy cream with confectioners' sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
6. To assemble the cake, place one layer on a cake stand or serving platter. Top with whipped cream and half of the berries. Add second cake layer and pour ganache over top cake layer. Finish with remaining berries. Serve cake slices with extra ganache.