Once a year I make a three-layer, deep, dark chocolate Guinness Extra Stout cake with ganache frosting. Paying homage to Guinness, I make it on St. Patrick’s Day and sprinkle a bit of edible gold dust and sparkling green sugar flakes over the top.
Since I’ve learned I’m allergic to wheat, I’ve gone gluten-free. I’ve adjusted most of my recipes, but this is one recipe I’m leaving as written at Epicurious. (You might also enjoy reading the comments on the recipe here.)
Regardless I can no longer eat it, I enjoy making it as much as I used to enjoy eating it: immensely! This year, I gifted the cake to friends, which is why it’s pictured on a cardboard round set on the base of a cake carrier instead of a crystal serving platter that matches its level of indulgence.
It might be three
miles layers high, and ganache might sound complicated, but the cake is simple to make. Really.
Tips: use the best ingredients you can find and afford. The batter will seem too thick, like chocolate pudding, but it’s supposed to be that way. You will need the biggest bowl you have to mix it. Before I had a KitchenAid, I made it with a $10 hand mixer and large plastic bowl. This year I made it in my KitchenAid and the batter filled the mixing bowl within one inch from the top!
I decrease the sugar to 3 1/2 cups (any more might affect the texture) and use bittersweet chocolate for the ganache. You can use both semi and bittersweet chocolate – or one or the other — for the frosting, which you can adjust to your sweetness preference. Sometimes I lightly coat the layers with raspberry jam before I spread the ganache over them, which is tasty and a nice trick if you find you baked it a few minutes too long and it feels dry. The cake will become more moist once it’s covered in ganache, whether you jam it or not.
Sometimes I serve it with homemade-whipped-cream flavored with a little Bailey’s or cinnamon. Or with a small scoop of beautiful vanilla ice cream. Depending on what’s fresh at the market, raspberries, blackberries or currants are lovely with it as well. I add a tablespoon of unsalted butter to the ganache, which helps it spread easily and gives it a lovely shine. I suggest increasing the ganache by a quarter to a third more. If you find you have too much, you can always scoop it and make homemade truffles…or eat it with a spoon until it’s gone as I’ve been wont to do ;)
Quarters or slices of the cake freeze well.
This is a once a year cake. We eat healthy as a rule so that we can indulge once in a while — this is the perfect cake for doing so!
* The stout gives the cake a deep, rich flavor, but the alcohol will bake out.