My 'wee' brother turned 30 on the first weekend in July (he is much taller than me, which isn't hard, and has just turned 30 so really he isn't wee at all, but he's still 'my wee brother' to me). We had a lovely surprise meal for him with family and friends at his favourite Indian Restaurant. Unfortunately due to timing issues, it was later in the evening, neither Baby R or D where able to come. D and I were a tag team, I went for dinner and D put Baby R to bed and I drove home, took over baby sitting duties and D went out for drinks with the boys and girls. This arrangement suited me down to the ground as I got an early night. Party animal I am not, especially when you have to get up at 6am every day!
Anyhoo I took on the task of making the birthday cake. I feel big birthdays really deserve a homemade cake. Well all birthdays do but finding the time isn't always easy, but you must find the time when your favouritest littlest brother turns 30! I was resigned to making my signature victoria sponge cake with icing which I feel is a bit played out and as a result I wasn't really overly excited about baking. Then I did a little browsing on the internet and found a very exciting sounding recipe for a Chocolate and Guinness cake. Yes you heard right, GUINNESS, the black stuff. On a side note: I know this will probably disgust many of you but I am quite partial to a really cold half of Guinness. My friends and I call it our Holiday Half - we always have one when we go on our hols to Donegal. Happy memories! Anyway back to the cake: It's a Nigella Lawson recipe I stumbled upon. I haven't baked in a while and the things I read about this recipe had me so excited about getting into the kitchen again. And let me tell you, it was the easiest recipe ever, so simple you could make it blindfolded! And what's more it was a hit. Everyone loved it. I felt guilty taking the praise because it was so seriously easy to make but it did taste delicious and it's my new favourite cake recipe. Thank you Nigella, you really know your stuff. I didn't use Nigella's recipe for the cream cheese frosting, I found another recipe as I wanted to ice the whole cake and needed a firmer frosting. The all important age was marked out in Smarties (ah my inner child was very happy).
30 birthday candles outlined the perimeter of the cake and I also added a little non-toxic glitter to the top for an extra sparkle. The smarties seemed to fade after about 2 hours on the cake so it looked lovely and pastelly which was a-ok with me!
Oh I do love a surprise cake coming out in a restaurant, the surprise, the singing of Happy Birthday, the inevitable embarrassment I love it all! But I do not love having to call the birthday boy back from the almost entering the bathroom knowing the cake is about to arrive and having to ask inane questions while your little brother looks at you like you have gone insane. "What did you have for your meal?", "Did you enjoy it?", "Have you ordered that before?". All the while thinking please won't someone help me and where on earth is that cake??!!!
My husband said it was good to have me back in the kitchen again and my older brother who is a total foodie said it was the best cake he'd eaten in ages, high praise let me tell you. I really should have taken a photo of the inside of the cake but I really am a disorganised blogger so apologies (I usually feel I have to say sorry for something!) Anyway I'm taking this opportunity to pass this recipe on. You have to make this cake. Go on, ya will, ya will, ya will, ya will*........
*Said in the style of Mrs Doyle
Edit: would be good if I gave you a link to the recipe dear reader, haha I'm an Eejit! http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/chocolate-guinness-cake-3086/
Edited further to add: Ooops I've just realised another omission by me! In my haste to get this post done I forgot to mention that I didn't follow Mrs Lawsons frosting recipe. I'm not saying there was anything wrong with Nigellas frosting, it just looked a little loose to me and as this was a birthday cake which had to be decorated on the top and the sides I decided to look for a more traditional cream cheese frosting recipe.
In the end I made it using 60g of unsalted butter, 200g full fat cream cheese and 400g of icing sugar. The recipe is here. I have to admit though that I absolutely hate butter cream icing so I was worried about the original 70g of unsalted butter that the recipe called for. So I used 50g initially and then I chickened out thinking that I didn't really know better even though sometimes I think I do and I was worried the frosting would be too loose so I added in another 10g of butter. Edit I think you have to be careful about over whipping the cream cheese and also about making sure you use FULL FAT (a moment on the lips and forever on the hips as my mother says) cream cheese. Anyway you'll be better than me and you'll actually follow the instructions and don't think you know better than someone who clearly knows what they are on about. I think I can safely reiterate my earlier point - I am an eejit.
Have fun with this recipe.