Forget about wine and cheese; a far better combination is stout and chocolate. This cake combines the two and is guaranteed to satisfy the fussiest chocoholics, even if they are teetotal.
110g butter, at room temperature
275g soft brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
175g plain flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200 ml sweet stout – I find Murphy’s works well, but Guinness can be a tad too bitter
2oz cocoa powder
110g plain chocolate
2 tbsp sweet stout
110g icing sugar, sifted
Grated or curled chocolate to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180⁰C/Gas 4. Prepare two 20cm sandwich tins and line with circles of greased greaseproof paper.
Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then gradually beat in the eggs until well incorporated.
Sieve the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a separate bowl, and sieve the cocoa powder into a third bowl, into which you gradually mix the stout.
Gradually fold small amounts of the contents of the first bowl into the creamed butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the cocoa and stout.
Divide the cake mix between the two prepared tins and bake in the centre of the oven for about 30-35 minutes until the tops are springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tins for about five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
To make the icing, gradually heat the chocolate and the stout in a bowl placed over a saucepan of hot water.
When the chocolate has melted remove the bowl from the heat, beat in the butter, leave to cool for a few minutes, and then mix in the icing sugar.
Fill and top the cakes with the icing, using a palette knife dipped into hot water for a smooth, shiny effect. Finally decorate the top with grated, curled or flaked chocolate.