Friday, 22 October 2010

A dark affair: chocolate, stout, and raisin cake

half choc stout cake

I have always loved chocolate cakes - more so even than chocolate itself, or at least until recent years, in which time I've had the pleasure of discovering real chocolate. (The sickly stuff of my childhood never did it for me. And yes, I probably was a strange kid.)

But you'll never, ever wean me off chocolate cakes, and for that reason, I hereby confess to spending a shocking proportion of my time seeking out the best chocolate cake recipes.

For the most part, I'm a purist. I don't my my chocolate and/or cocoa messed around with too much. But when I spied a Dan Lepard recipe for a chocolate cake which also incorporates stout and raisins, I couldn't help but be tempted. It was the stout that got me, doctor.

Purist, be damned.

And so, I baked. It's an incredibly easy recipe, and pretty foolproof, so long as you don't heat the chocolate over a fierce flame. Chocolate is a fickle mistress, and likes to be treated gently. Overdo things, come on too strong, and - like most affairs of the heart - it'll all go horribly wrong.

Regard patience as a virtue, and you'll soon enough end up with a generous slab (the recipe doesn't say as much, but you'll need an 8" square tin) of a moist and seductively dark cake, with just a hint of bitterness to offset the richness.

whole choc stout cake

I used London Porter instead of Guinness, but I think - to give Dan his due - Guinness would indeed be better. If you're wary of stouts, or think you don't like them, there's no need to be afraid of the bitter tones in this cake, because (a) they are gentle, and (b) there is, in any case, plenty of sweet chocolate frosting to counter them.

In fact, I thought the recipe made rather too much frosting - I left about a quarter in the bowl. And even doing that, there was plenty on the cake. Mr Lepard clearly has a sweet tooth.

Overall verdict? A real heart stealer, and one that you can enjoy on the side without anyone else knowing... Oh, and it goes well with cream and/or crème fraîche, too, just in case you feel like upping the pleasure levels. Just saying.

slice choc stout cake


things we make said...

That looks like a serious bit of chocolatage. Worth trying out sometime soon, I think. Mr Tweet doesn't really like chocolate cake *the horror* so perhaps one with Guinness in may sway him.

Kavey said...

Want! :)

bellini valli said...

I have a soft spot for chocolate cake. This one sounds like somethinbg I would love to try.

Choclette said...

I made this one a few months ago and it's a real winner. Yours looks great with all the fudgy icing. I went for something less sweet, but might have to try it this way.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Claire - this cake should win Mr T over. It's not overtly chocolatey. Stout is definitely the moderating influence (hah!).

Kavey - :)

Val - you should!

Choclette - I'd say give the icing a go. I do like it, but certainly wouldn't use the entire recipe quantity!

Margaret said...

This is an unusual recipe and one that can be made by all skill levels. I too think he went OTT with the icing quantities.
The cake looks delicious and one I must try.

Cakelaw said...

What a fab looking cake! That piece at the bottom of the post is earmarked for me, surely? I enjoy reading Dan's recipes, and I have bookmarked many of them, though have yet to get around to making them.

LimeCake said...

that cake has a wonderful crumb texture! looks delicious!

Gin and Crumpets said...

I have a suspicion that the recipe doesn't make too much frosting. It makes enough to cover the cake and leave you with a bowlful to sit and eat afterwards as a reward for making such a superb cake. That's how I design all my recipes, anyway ;-)

It looks completely gorgeous. I started chewing the inside of my cheek just looking at it – mouthwatering.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Margaret - yes, indeed you must!

Cakelaw - same here, so I thought I'd better get started. This is a nice easy one to start you off

LimeCake - it is! Or it was... ;)

G&C - make the cake now! Don't shred your cheek. You need it for eating cake with.

Johanna GGG said...

oh how I understand your love of chocolate cake - I feel like I could just keep trying different chocolate cake recipes - this is definitely one that I want to try - sounds excellent

LexEat! said...

My never fail chocolate cake recipe has become Nigella's guinness chocolate cake - so easy, and, as you say, you can't really taste the guinness. Such a moist lovely cake. Her's has a cream cheese icing - which is yum and apparently is meant to look like the froth on top of a pint of Guinness.
Yours looks delicious, so will definitely give it a go next time I need a reliable cake!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Johanna - glad I'm not the only one ;)

Lex - yes, I've seen lots of comments about Nigella's cake. Never made it, and don't have any of her books. Guess I should try it one day! But this will do fine in the meantime... ;)

Cook in a Curry said...

Blimey! Huge craving for this right now. Would go done really well with a cup of tea. I love choco cake more than chocolate too. The photos look fab. Bet the cake was moist, sweet and just perfect with that thick layer of icing.

catty said...

That looks seriously moist and scrumptious! Purist or not, if you love chocolate cake, you should love it in ALL its forms... unconditional right??

George@CulinaryTravels said...

I *need* to make this soon.

Jamie said...

This cake looks absolutely fabulous! I have always been intrigued by chocolate and guinness together in a cake but boy have you ever convinced me! Beautiful! And I know what you mean about a fab chocolate cake over a chocolate bar. Love them both but...give me cake.

Nicisme said...

I shouldn't be looking at this when it's almost lunchtime, but I have a craving for cake now!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

This looks fantastic, I think I will have to make some for my husband.

Deeba PAB said...

Nom Nom Nom... I like Dan Lepards bread recipes, and now the chocolate cake is calling my name. Does look indulgent indeed!

Kath said...

Blimey it looks good, I have seen Nigella do a guinness and chocolate cake and always fancied making it. I too am always in search of the perfect chocolate cake and to be honest I don't mind if it takes me a long while to find, the fun is in the hunt.

Jacqueline said...

Oh wow! I nearly cried when I saw that last photo :)

Signe said...

You can never have too much chocolate cake. Lovely photos and recipe there A Forkful, shall have to try this myself! x

Chef Basket said...

This cake looks wonderful. Thanks for the post and the pictures.

Robo Stir said...

What a gorgeous cake. The pictures alone are mouth-watering!

Dylan Solesbee said...

Oh, that is so delicious! Just looking at the picture makes my mouth drool and crave for it! Haha! The way you designed it is so cute. All cheers to chocolate lovers! :)

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