Monday, 1 July 2013

Nana's 80th birthday- Guinness and Chocolate Cake with Port Poached Pear

80th birthday cakes
 For my Nana's 80th birthday we decided to surprise her with a party at a local pub where we had all hidden in a back room with balloons, cake and an all you can eat carvery! Right up my Nana's street!
Everyone made loads of effort with gifts, secret family discussions, Chinese whispers invitations and and military operation all day diversions. It was great to see she looked so taken aback and she definitely appreciated all the effort. My cousin Mollie sang a few songs and played her guitar and I made a birthday cake I thought she would like. I couldn't choose between a ginger cake or something with Guinness as I thought she would like both flavours. I decided to make both; some stem ginger cup cakes and a Guinness, and Port poached pear cake and display them in an 80. That way there was plenty to go around.

Guinness and Port Poached Pear Cake

Nana's 80th Birthday surprise!

This recipe is a combination of two I found online, one from Nigella and the other from Women&Home. I chose to use pears instead of apples as that is what I had in the fridge. You can freeze this cake un-iced and keep fresh for 2 days. It is incredibly moist and the sugar counteracts any bitterness in the stout. You could use blackcurrants instead of pears or apples and this would bring about a nostalgic combination.

Guinness Chocolate Cake with Port Poached Pears


For the cake
250g butter
250ml Guinness or other stout
75g cocoa
350g caster sugar
150g  Sour Cream
2 large, free-range eggs
1tbsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2tsp bicarbonate of soda

for the port poached pear
300ml port
50g caster sugar
1 firm pear
for the filling and topping 
300g cream cheese
150g icing sugar
125g whipped cream

1. Heat the oven to 180 C/160 C fan/ 350 F. Grease and line a 9in loose-bottomed cake tin. 
2. Melt the butter with the Guinness over a pan of hot water in a heatproof bowl. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa and sugar.
3. Beat the sour cream, eggs and vanilla until combined and add into the Guinness mix.
4. Stir through the flour and bicarb and once mixed thoroughly, transfer into the tin evenly and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack.
5. For the pear, heat the port and sugar in a pan with 300ml water. When the sugar has melted, add the pear and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove the fruit to cool and reduce the remaining liquid rapidly until you have a syrup. Slice the fruit thinly, removing the core; leave the syrup to cool.
6. Whisk the cream until thick and then beat in the cream cheese with the icing sugar. Combine and chill.
7. Once chilled to room temp, cut the cake in half horizontally. Spread half the cream mix on to the base.
8. Carefully layer on the top half and cover the top with remaining cream. Arrange the fruit on top and drizzle on a bit of syrup as you desire.

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