read, cook, eat october 2009: Lucy Waverman’s Guinness Cake

October 11, 2009
Lucy Waverman puts joy in my heart by pairing Guinness and Fry's cocoa.

Lucy Waverman puts joy in my heart by pairing Guinness and Fry's cocoa.

Sometime in the early 1970s, I recall an aunt in my Memere’s kitchen back in St. Boniface with her chunky sandals taking up the only other available chair, popping a chocolate in her mouth and washing it down with a mouthful of lager.

I cringed, but from what great heights was I looking down? Didn’t the Fortrel A-line tunic take me down a peg or two?

Because it seems ma tante wasn’t completely out in gauche field, although she was tipping the wrong brew.

I thank Lucy Waverman, cookbook authoress and Globe and Mail columnist, for revealing the magic of Guinness Cake, which she adapted from Nigella Lawson’s version in her book Feast.

My addition to the recipe?

  • It’s so moist and rich that, in my humble opinion, it does not need even the dusting of icing sugar recommended below.
  • It freezes beautifully, so if your cake-eating crowd is small, halve or quarter it and thaw as needed.
  • Finally, the recipe handily leaves a good swallow or two left in the Guinness can, so bottoms up and Guinness for strength!

Here is the recipe as it appears on my crumbling, yellowed clipping from the March 15, 2008  edition of The Globe and Mail.

Guinness Cake

What you need:
1 cup Guinness beer
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 T. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking soda
Icing sugar or whipped cream

What you do:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9-inch spring-form pan and line bottom  with parchment paper.
Pour Guinness into a large saucepan over medium heat. Add butter and heat until melted. Remove from heat, whisk in cocoa powder and sugar and resesrve.
Combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl and beat until uniform. Add sour cream mixture to Guinness mixture and whisk to combine.
Whisk in flour and baking soda. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out with crumbs clinging to it.
Place tin on a rack and leave to cool completely. Before serving, dust with icing sugar or lightly sweetened whipped cream. Serves 8 to 10.

God bless you Lucy Waverman. And ma tante? I’m so sorry I cringed.

Denise Duguay


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