At the end of May it was time to celebrate Brad's birthday. The above picture was part of a birthday video Johanna made for him using the song I Only Have Eyes for You. The idea was inspired by an album made decades ago by my uncle Eddie, a jazz musician. It was entitled "I only have eyes for Shu", and featured a picture of an owl with images of him in the eyes. Both Johanna and Goldie only have eyes for Brad so a birthday cake was in order. He is a fan of both good beer and fine whiskey. Because the flavor tends to get lost in the cake I opted for a Guinness cake rather than whiskey cake, reasoning that he would prefer to drink his fine whiskey rather than adulterate it with additives such as flours, sugar and cocoa.
Nigella Lawson has a wonderful Guinness cake that I adapted for the occasion. I think the Guinness is used to get a really dark cake. It is really easy to make and requires minimal equipment and effort. Grease and line a 9 inch springform pan. Preheat oven to 350
Put 1 cup Guinness in a saucepan with 17 tablespoons butter cut into pieces and heat until butter is melted. ( I used the recipe on her website, the one in her book, I discovered later, uses only 10 tablespoons.)
Remove from heat and whisk in 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa and 2 cups sugar ( I used 11/2 cups.)
Beat 2 eggs with 2/3 cup yogurt (that is what I had on hand, she uses sour cream) and 1 tbsp vanilla and stir into the Guinness mixture.
When mixed, stir in 2 cups of flour and 1 tbsp baking soda
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. In my electric oven 45 minutes was fine. Let cool in tin on wire rack. When cool, place on serving plate.
To make icing
Beat 8 oz of cream cheese
Using a strainer or sifter add 3/4 cup confectioners sugar (she use 11/4) and 2 tbsp corn starch and beat to incorporate
Beat in heavy cream - about 1/4 cup until it is spreadable
Spread on cooled cake so that it resembles dark Guinness with a white head
I think the cake is good enough to eat without the icing, but then it wouldn't look like Guinness.