Landlady Jane asked me to make a cake for her friends who had sadly suffered the loss of their husband/father and, given a free reign, with comfort being the optimal work, I went for a big chocolate and stout cake. Yes chocolate and stout, in the same cake. It seemed appropriate because
a) it’s a chocolate cake, you don’t get more comforting than that
b) it contains a pint of Guinness for anaesthetic effect
c) it’s very black and so suitable for mourning situations
To top it off I piped what I hoped was a nice message on the top:
Rich Stout Cake
225g soft butter
350g soft dark brown sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp bicarb of soda
400ml stout or Guinness
100g cocoa powder
150g dark chocolate
Cream the butter and sugar and gradually add the beaten egg. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarb. Mix together the Guinness and the cocoa (letting the head settle first… of the Guinness, obviously) which may seem impossible but persevere, it does work. Add the grated chocolate. Lick all the escaped grated chocolate off the counter.
Add flour and stout mixture alternately to the sugar mix. It usually ends up quite a wet mix but don’t worry – all will be well.
Bung in giant cake tin and put in preheated (you mean you forgot to turn the oven on already?) oven at 180 degrees C. Takes about 1-1 1/4 hours to cook.
Make chocolate ganache (with double cream heated to simmering point poured over a bar of dark chocolate and then whipped til thick) chocolate sauce (as before but add spoonful of golden syrup and slug of spirit of your choice – spiced run is good) or with creme fraiche with orange zest if you feel that way.