Chocolate Guinness cake has a fantastic depth of flavour and a wonderfully rich, moist texture, perfect for a celebration (or St Patrick's Day)
- 250g (9oz) butter
- 250ml (9fl oz) Guinness or other stout
- 85g (3½oz) good-quality cocoa
- 350g (12oz) caster sugar
- 150g (5oz) Greek yogurt
- 2 large, free-range eggs
- 1tbsp vanilla extract
- 275g (9½oz) plain flour
- 2½tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 300ml (½pt) ruby port
- 50g (2oz) caster sugar
- 1 firm dessert apple, peeled
- 600g (1lb 5oz) full-fat Philadelphia cream cheese
- 300g (10oz) icing sugar
- 23cm (9in) loose-bottomed cake tin, oiled and bottom lined
Heat the oven to 180 C, 160 C fan, 350 F, gas 4. For the cake, melt the butter with the Guinness, remove from the heat; whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the yogurt, eggs and vanilla, stir into the Guinness mix; stir through the flour and bicarb. Transfer to the tin and cook in the centre of the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack.
For the apples, heat the port and sugar in a pan with 300ml (½pt) water. When the sugar has melted, add the apple and simmer gently for 30 minutes, turning now and again. Remove the apple, leave to cool, turn the heat up and reduce rapidly until you have a thick syrup. Slice the apple thinly, removing the core; leave the syrup to cool. Beat the Philadelphia with the icing sugar.
To assemble, cut the cake in half horizontally. Spread half the cream cheese mix on to the base, replace the top half, top with remaining cream cheese and arrange the apple slices in a circle. Pour over a little port syrup, and serve the rest on the side. The cake will keep in the fridge for 2 days – only top with apples and syrup at the very last minute. The un-iced cake can be frozen.
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