Recently there have been several birthdays within my group of close friends.  Last week we decided to get together to celebrate them all at once.  We had dinner at our favorite local pizza place, and then went back to one friend’s apartment for dessert provided by yours truly.  I wanted to do something that all of the birthday honorees would like.  Of course none of us are picky when it comes to desserts, but I wanted it to really be special.  I ended up deciding to make one dessert per birthday boy/girl, something that they would really love and was perfect for each individual.  My friend J.W. loves Guinness beer, so I thought a Guinness cake would be just the thing for him.  And WOW, it really was!  He was SO SO SO happy about this cake, and he actually said it was his favorite cake ever.  That meant so much to me!

Everyone in the group really loved this, except for me because I really don’t like beer.  The cake was very moist and the Guinness flavor was prominent.  The method used for mixing the batter in the original recipe really left a lot of lumps in the batter that I noticed even after baking.  No one else seemed to notice or care, but it bothered me so I have altered the recipe below to avoid this issue next time. I baked my cakes in two 5-inch round cake pans and ended up with two very tall cake layers, as well as a little bit of batter left over.

Chocolate Guinness Cake
For the cake:
1 cup Guinness beer
10 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups superfine sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese (no need to soften)
5 tbsp. butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour the sides of a 9-inch round springform pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.  In a small saucepan, combine the Guinness and butter.  Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted.  Remove from the heat.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sour cream, eggs and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed until well combined.  Add the Guinness mixture to the bowl and mix until incorporated.  In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of the mixer and mix on low speed until just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes back clean.  Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.  Once cooled, remove the sides of the pan.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Cream on medium-high speed.  Add the powdered sugar to the bowl in batches, beating on low until just combined and then on high speed until desired consistency is reached.  For a stiffer icing, add more powdered sugar.  Frost cooled cake as desired.

Source: cake adapted from Angry Asian Creations, originally from Nigella Lawson
frosting adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, originally from The Gourmet Cookbook