Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Chocolate Guinness cake for St. Patricks day

St Patrick's day isn't really a big celebration here but I couldn't let it pass by without a mention, especially as I had found the perfect recipe for it.

Anyone who knows me could tell you that I love chocolate and I love Guinness so the idea of combining the two together in a cake had instant appeal, the fact that I had all the ingredients and it's st Patrick's day left me with little choice but to try this recipe out.The cake itself has a whole cup of Guinness in it as well as cocoa, flour, butter and an alarming amount of sugar. I hope you can see from the photo just how moist soft and rich it is, you really can taste the Guinness too which I was particularly pleased about. The topping is a simple cream cheese affair of the kind you'd put on a carrot cake, I've flavoured mine with Irish whiskey but you could also use Baileys to good effect.I've made a lot of chocolate cakes in the past and I can safely say this is one of the best, it's deep flavoured, rich and not at all dry. Perfect!

There are recipes for this cake all over the Internet, I found this one over at Moveable Feasts who got it from the New York Times. It looks like originally it came from Nigella. I should have guessed...


For the cake:
Butter for pan
1 cup Guinness stout
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/8 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar
3/8 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the topping:
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
A splash of Irish whiskey to flavour

1. For the cake: heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.

2. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.

3. For the topping: Using a food processor or by hand, mix confectioners' sugar to break up lumps. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add the whiskey and mix until smooth and spreadable.

4. Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Haddock with chorizo, peppers and potatoes

You may remember a few weeks back I wrote about the hamper of foody goodies I won from Unearthed, in amongst the feta, salami and olives was a little tray of mini chorizo sausages which were just crying out to be turned into a dish that was vibrant, colourful and summery. So that's what I did.Foodycat suggested I try pairing the chorizo with squid which sounds like a wonderful combination, unfortunately I didn't have any squid but I did have some Haddock fillets so in keeping with the seafood idea I used those instead.

I've mentioned before how much I like one-pot recipes and this is another on of those, it's a quick and easy recipe that gives fantastic results.
  • First I fried the little chorizos until their deep red paprika infused oil began to fill the pan then I added chopped new potatoes, tossed them in the oil and left it to sizzle for a few minutes with the lid on.
  • While the potatoes and chorizo were cooking I chopped some red and yellow peppers and crushed some garlic, I added these to the pan along with a generous splash of sherry and covered it again for five minutes more.
  • When the peppers had softened I added a handful of cherry tomatoes, laid the haddock fillets on top and covered the pan once more.
  • Five minutes later it's done! serve with the cooking liquid spooned over the top and some good crusty bread to mop it up.