I truly believe that much of our lives are attached to culinary experiences. I know mine certainly is. Maybe my Italian heritage is to blame because I know that 90% of my life played out in the kitchen. So many memories are centered around being in the kitchen or around the dining table or in restaurants or relatives kitchens and dining rooms. I have such vivid childhood memories or sitting at the kitchen table looking at the pictures in my mothers Betty Crocker cookbook while she baked and I as question after question about what is this or that and why do you have to do that and why can’t I have some now. Sitting up on the counter while she made Swedish Tea Ring and waiting for what seemed like an eternity for it to cool so we could have a piece. The all day ritual of her making Creamed Chicken and Biscuits from scratch. It was and still is one of my favorite dishes of all time. Then there was my 16th birthday when my sister introduced me to Carrot Cake. I remember thinking she was crazy making me that cake for my birthday but what a culinary memory it produced. To this very day whenever I even see a recipe for carrot cake I am transported back to that day when I had my first piece of carrot cake. And of course there is my sisters killer mac and cheese. She made the best bar none mac and cheese. Whenever we would have a brother/sister day I would make her make it for me. I would sit at her kitchen table eating it with my niece and nephew and wondered if they had any clue just how special it was. I still make it using her recipe but I never get it the way she does. Maybe is it just because my sister didn’t make it for me.
The whole point of all this rambling is that there are those food moments that change you forever. The same thing happened to me the first time I read Nigella Lawsons How to be a Domestic Goddess. Of course I considered myself to be a domestic goddess long before I had ever even heard of Nigella Lawson but something about that book and those recipes forever changed how I read and used cookbooks. Just reading her descriptions of how the food was made, the feel of things, the sounds they made, the smells and tastes made you want to cook every recipe even if it was something you hated. Nigella and that book changed me and I have been a devoted fan ever since.
I first saw this cake on one of her “Feast” programs on the Cooking channel and I have wanted to make it for ages. Guinness isn’t usually something I have around the house and I hate buying a whole 6 pack of it just for the one cup needed for this cake. As luck would have it, I did buy it for St. Patricks day and had a bit leftover so at long last the cake is born.
One thing I should say about Nigellas cake recipes is that they are so easy. This cake is no exception, the entire cake being made in a saucepan in about 5 minutes.
Add 1 cup of Guinness to a saucepan along with 5 ounces of butter and heat it until the butter is melted. Next add 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa and 2 cups of sugar and mix them in. Combine 2 eggs, 3/4 cup sour cream and 2 tablespoons of vanilla in a bowl and then stir them into the mixture. Finally stir in 2 cups of flour and 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda and pour the batter into a springform pan. Bake for about 45 minutes and there you have it. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a rack.
The frosting is even simpler. Beat one package of cream cheese, sift in 1 1/4 cups confections sugar and beat until fluffy, then beat in 1/2 cup of whipping cream.
Turn the cake out onto a serving plate and frost the top of the cake. The cake is rich, chocolateyand very most. Definitely work buying Guinness for. And you can drink the Guinness with the cake. Wonderful