Thursday, November 3, 2011

Guinness chocolate cake, Guinness Beer Braid and Beef and Guinness Pie

This is probably three blog posts but, as I've written them over a week they have been amalgamated.  I don't really drink alcohol so I'm often behind in discovering the impact of different alcoholic beverages on cooking/ baking.   I have a new favourite beer!  It is Guinness.  I've never actually drunk any, but it is a damn good cooking liquid.

My favorite blog Lovely Wee Days tests recipes and shares the results. It is the first place I search now when I want a good cake recipe. They have reviewed and baked quite a few, and it is a good location to find a special occasion cake.

I'm often disappointed by chocolate cakes - particular dry cakes that look chocolate-y but do not taste great.
For this reason I was intrigued by their post mentioning Guinness Chocolate Cake.  It is a Nigella Lawson recipe and quite possibly one of the simplest cake recipes that I have come across.  Yum Yum Yum.  The cake has a depth of taste that ordinary chocolate cake lacks.  It is not overly sweet, and it is very moist.

I didn't feel like properly lining a cake tin as I was rushing to get this cake in the oven before the creche pick up.  So I used two single use cake rings from my beloved Daiso store in Auckland.  It is the first time that a product from the store hasn't lived up to expectations!  Both rings burst and luckily the oven tray below caught most of it!  The slightly less depleted one will go to work with my husband tomorrow.  Health professionals of course advocate healthy, well balanced lifestyles.  But a decent chocolate cake left in the break room will be gone by lunchtime I'm sure!

Nigella suggests a cream cheese icing in her recipe - as an homage to a glass of Guinness with a foamy white head.  Lovely Wee Days went with a fudge icing.  What do you think?  I'm torn.

Also, I don't really drink so I'm curious as to why there appears to be a solid plastic ball in the can of Guinness.  Funky manufacturing defect, standard can of beer inclusion or unique to Guinness?  I'm sure a few seconds of internet research would clarify things, but I prefer to ponder over the options.

This rather blurry photo was taken late in the afternoon on my iPhone.  I'm quite intrigued by how it has come out.

I only needed 250ml of my 440ml can of Guinness so decided to use the last of my fresh yeast and beer to make beer bread.  You can use any basic bread recipe, substituting beer for water.  Lagers make a light bread, darker beers lead to darker breads. ETA: if you are using a bread maker to knead the dough as well as using fresh yeast then let the yeast froth up with the sugar/ honey and water first.  Then throw in the other ingrediants.  This way you will know if your fresh yeast has worked.

This was delicious.  The beer and fresh yeast were an amazing combination.  Sooooo good.

Now I only had three cans of Guinness left so decided to make Beef and Guinness Pie.  I added two teaspoons of tomato puree, and about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.  My husband went nuts for this meal.  Pies are quite the special treat and he was very happy to take a leftover pie to work the next day.  These pies can even be frozen with the uncooked pastry lids for later baking, but since I used store bought pastry we just microwaved the leftover pies then reheated them in the oven to crisp the pastry.  If only the girls liked casserole mix! 

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. gosh that guinness of yours went a far way! Pies and bread look delicious. I am intrigued by the cream cheese icing with cream in it that Nigella suggests.My fudgy icing was v gooey so perfect if serving as a dessert with a fork or spoon but messy otherwise. Re: the ball in the guinness - from memory this was a first year marketing case study many years ago and has something to do with making it froth better??!! I have only used the bottles as they were on special and are a smaller volume - it can be pricy stuff :)

  2. I loved the chocolate fudge icing Becs made. I'ved tried it with a chocolate cream cheese icing and much preferred the chocolate fudge version. Such a good cake! I've been making it with Renaissance Craftsman chocolate stout. A 500ml bottle is about $9 and enough for two cakes (I freeze half for later use).

  3. Oh @becs and @libby - thanks for your comments. As a non-drinker I had no idea that it came in bottles, but could visualise oversized cans! I might have to look into the other stouts - chocolate stout sounds yummy! I got a four pack so have enough for a cake this weekend (adults standing around without forks just napkins so maybe the cream cheese icing) and I'll use the leftover for another yummy bread. Then I'll have one can left! If the weather stays bad it could be another casserole. It was so, so good. The bread was awesome - I think the fresh yeast/ beer combo was just amazing.

  4. I've now made the cream cheese icing - it was awesome, really light and delicious. I made the cream cheese so can't give a brand (making cream cheese is easy, just silver top milk, germs and 24 hours). It really suited the cake.