In October 2014, Littlepod launched the very first National Real Vanilla Day at Bickleigh Castle in Devon. One of our wonderful demonstrators was co-founder of Hills & Parkes Deli (and now a qualified chef!), Emma Ring. She treated us to this creamy Guinness and Chocolate Cake and even let us have the recipe. So here it is. Enjoy!
250ml (9 fl.oz) Guinness
250g (9oz) unsalted butter
80g (3oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
400g (14oz) caster sugar
1 tsp LittlePod vanilla paste
140ml (5 fl.oz) buttermilk
280g (10oz) plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
For the icing:
50g (1&3/4oz) unsalted butter, softened add a little vanilla paste
300g (10&1/2oz) icing sugar
125g (4&1/2oz) full-fat cream cheese
Cocoa powder for dusting (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F)/gas mark 3, then line the base of a 23cm (9inch) spring form cake tin with baking parchment.
2. Pour the Guinness into a saucepan, add the butter and gently heat until it has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the cocoa powder and sugar into the warm liquid. Mix together the eggs, vanilla paste and buttermilk by hand in a jug or bowl, and then add this to the mixture in the pan.
3. Sift together the remaining sponge ingredients into a large bowl or into the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer. Using a hand-held electric whisk or mixer with paddle attachment, set on a low speed and pour in the contents of the pan. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are incorporated.
4. Pour the batter into the pre-prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed, and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool, and then remove from the tin on to a wire rack, making sure the cake is cold to the touch before you frost it.
5. Using the electric whisk/freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, combine the butter and icing sugar together until there are no large lumps of butter and it is fully combined with the sugar in a sandy mixture. Add the cream cheese and mix at a low speed, then increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
6. Place the cooled cake on a plate or cake card and top generously with the cream cheese frosting. The cake can be decorated with a light dusting of cocoa powder. I also added white chocolate buttons and a little extra frosting but decorate how you wish!