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Friday, March 16, 2012

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Mmm..Chocolate + Guinness. Today is the big finale to our Guinness Three Ways Challenge and the Chocolate Guinness Cake is ready and waiting for dessert.  The aroma of this cake cooking is wonderful and makes the whole house smell like a German bakery!  Check back later for an update to our main course, Irish Lamb Stew.

This would be a great treat for St. Patrick's Day or as a special dessert for anyone who is a fan of dark beer.  The "stout" flavor is mellowed slightly by the cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla, but it is not an overly sweet cake.  Enjoy this cake with a scoop of Guinness Ice Cream, a little whipped cream or just a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top.
1 3/4 cup Flour
3/4 cup Natural Cocoa Powder (not Dutch processed)
1 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
2 sticks + 5 TB Unsalted Butter, softened
2 1/4 cups firmly packed Light Brown Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Guinness Stout (do not include foam when measuring)
1 cup Finely Chopped Pecans, divided
Confectioners Powder for dusting, optional

Preheat oven to 325 and place oven rack in the center position. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan or a springform pan. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with a 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the brown sugar and beat at high speed until very light and creamy, about 3 minutes.

Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and reduce speed to low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the stout in 2 batches and mixing until well blended. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of chopped pecans and mix just until combined.

Remove bowl from the mixer stand and stir a few times with a spatula to make sure the batter is evenly blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake the cake for 70 to 75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan and on a rack for 20 minutes.

Invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely.

Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with confectioners sugar or add a scoop of Guinness Ice Cream vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream as a final touch.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

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