Garlic Gus and the Guinness Cake

Wouldn’t that be a perfectly delightful title for a fairytale??

Except it is not a Fairytale. It is the true story of my new friend Gus & the Guinness Cake I made for our St. Patricks Day dinner.

This is Gus.


He is super charming in a pixie-ish kind of way. I love him.  I think he is my new boyfriend. (Sorry Charlie)

Gus lived in a Kingman antique shop until a few weeks ago when my sister & I ventured in. I spotted him on a half off shelf (HALF OFF!) and was falling hard, but then my sister moved a plate on another shelf and two minutes later there was the sound of breaking glass. Which automatically leads to a small amount of panic in an antique shop.

It seems when my sister moved the plate she was looking at, it knocked over a little tiny red hen dish. Presumably a super rare Fenton hen because it cost my sister $22 for all the pieces. And in the excitement and confusion that ensued, Gus was forgotten.

And I had serious regret.

I wanted a do-over with Gus.

And I got one this weekend when my sister came to visit. She had rescued Gus from that antique shop, which was quite brave of her after the great Red Hen Incident of 2010.

Now he lives on my counter. I super love him. Mr. Right is not too impressed with Gus. He also said he could taste the whole wheat flour in my Guinness cake, which I think is a big fat lie. Because he has no idea. Here is an actual conversation that took place at our house some time ago:

Mr. Right: “What is for dinner?”

Me: “Pierogi”

Mr. Right: “Is that chicken?”

Me: “No, it is pierogi”

Mr. Right: “I don’t like that”

Me: “You’ve never had it”

Mr. Right: “Yes I have”

Me: “Oh Yeah? Then why did you ask me if it was chicken?”

So you see how it is completely impossible for him to detect the use of whole wheat vs white flour in pretty much anything. He only knew because he heard me say “I made it with whole wheat flour”  Then apparently his taste buds kicked into maximum overdrive and he could just tell.

My friend and neighbor had invited us for corned beef & cabbage in honor of St. Patricks Day. (although we actually ate it on the 15th, which I hope is ok with all you Irishmen)

I wanted to make some kind of Irish dessert and frankly, it was this or Potato Candy.

We had some leftover Guinness because Mr. Right also likes Black & Tans.

You boil the Guinness with the butter and cocoa powder.

It turns into a lovely buttery, chocolatey beer syrup.

And add it to your dry ingredients and blend it up.

I decided to make a layer cake out of it. Which I normally don’t do layer cakes. Because they are somewhat of a pain.

Do you see these cake pans? They are genius cake pans. See the little clever lever thing? That is attached at the center and then you just slide it around  after your cake is done and it pops right out like magic.

I am going to have to research if you can buy these kind anymore. These are pretty old. I bought them at an estate sale, which is a nice way of saying a dead persons garage sale.

I wonder how many cakes they have held over their lifetime.

Frosted with chocolate ganache, which is unbelievably easy. Except DON’T try and save calories and use half & half instead of heavy cream. I tried that once. Bad.

Straight from the Guinness website:

Chocolate Guinness Cake

1/4 cup cocoa powder (to dust the baking pans)
2 sticks butter
1 cup Guinness
2/3 cup Dutch process dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly dust two greased 8 inch springform pans with cocoa powder. In a heavy saucepan or microwave oven, heat butter, Guinness, and cocoa powder until butter melts. Let cool. Sift dry ingredients together. Add the Guinness-cocoa mixture, and beat thoroughly for 1 minute on medium speed. Add the eggs and sour cream and beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Place pans on a wire rack, cool for 10 minutes, remove the sides, and cool completely. Use a long serrated knife to even the tops of the cakes. Using a flexible spatula, spread each layer with a thin coating of chocolate frosting, stack, and cover the sides with frosting.

Chocolate Ganache

1 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon dark rum or brandy (optional)

  1. In a heavy saucepan, bring cream just to a boil.add rum/brandy and pour over chips. Whisk until smooth
  2. For a pourable ganache, cool until mixture reaches 85 degrees F-90 degrees F and is slightly thickened, about 40 minutes. Pour over cake, allowing some to flow down the edges to completely coat. Spread ganache with a spatula if necessary to evenly coat, working quickly before it thickens. Chill until set.
  3. For spreadable ganache, chill until mixture reaches a spreadable consistency. Spread over cake. Chill until set.

About Janice

I am 40 years old. Loving life and (finally) being a grown up. I have 3 great kids that sometimes make me want to drink copious amounts of wine. I have been married to my amazing husband since 2001. I have more great girlfriends than you can shake the proverbial stick at. Join me in this adventure that is my life.
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