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Chocolate guinness cakes with baileys irish cream

Baking Cake
Serves 8
Featured in
Sweet cookbook

The recipe in Nigella Lawson’s wonderful book, Feast, inspired our version of these cakes. We have amplified the Irish element in her original recipe by piping Baileys-infused mascarpone cream into the middle of the cakes. Thanks to Daniel Karlsson for this idea. This is then followed by a light drizzle of chocolate ganache, followed by shavings of chocolate! It sounds extravagant, we know, but it’s actually a really easy cake to make, all whisked together in one bowl. The secret to making a really shiny chocolate ganache is to use a food processor, as we do here.


120ml guinness
120g unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
30g dutch-processed cocoa powder
200g caster sugar
65g soured cream
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
130g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
5g chocolate (70% cocoa solids), shaved with a peeler (this is about a square of chocolate, but it’s hard to shave such a small amount, so just shave it off the block you have)
125g mascarpone
45ml baileys irish cream
40g icing sugar, sifted
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped into 2cm pieces
100ml double cream
1½ tsp golden syrup
1½ tsp unsalted butter, soften


  1. Preheat the oven to 195°C/175°C Fan. Grease and line the long side and the base of eight small loaf tins with a strip of parchment paper. Allow a 2cm overhang on each side to help you lift out the cakes later on.
  2. Place the Guinness and butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Stir gently until the butter has melted, taking care that it does not come to the boil. Sift the cocoa powder and sugar together into the pan and whisk into the mix, then transfer to a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soured cream, egg and vanilla, then pour this into the Guinness mix, whisking as you do so. Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda together into a bowl, then whisk this into the mixture until smooth and combined. Pour the batter into the tins and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before gently easing them out, using the parchment paper overhang to help you. Gently run a knife around the unlined edges if they are stuck, then place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the Baileys cream, whisk together the mascarpone and Baileys using an electric hand-held whisk, if you have one, or by hand. Add the icing sugar and continue to beat on a low speed until the mixture is combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and whisk until the cream is thick enough to spread. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
  5. When the cakes are completely cool, make a cut in each cake by running a small paring knife down its centre, leaving 2cm uncut at either end. Transfer the cream to a piping bag fitted with a 1½cm wide nozzle. Gently ease the piping bag into the opening of the cut side of each cake and pipe in the cream until it starts to ooze out.
  6. To make the chocolate ganache, place the chocolate pieces in a food processor, blitz until fine and set aside.
  7. Put the cream and golden syrup in a small pan and place over a medium-high heat. As soon as bubbles begin to appear – just before it comes to the boil – remove from the heat. Get the food processor running again, with the chocolate still inside, and pour in the hot cream in a steady stream. Process for about 10 seconds, then add the butter. Continue to process until the mixture is shiny and smooth.
  8. You can also make the ganache by hand: just make sure the chocolate is chopped fairly finely before you scald the cream and golden syrup and pour it over the chocolate. Stir everything together with a wooden spoon until almost melted, then add the butter. Stir again until the ganache is smooth.
  9. Whether you make it in a machine or by hand, use a rubber spatula to scrape the ganache into a bowl and cover with cling film. Set aside until it has set to the consistency you want, then use it to ice the cake: if you want a thin layer to spread over the cakes, it can be poured over while liquid so that you get an even, light and shiny coating. For a thicker ganache with a spreading consistency, leave it for about 2 hours at room temperature before using a spatula or knife to ice the cakes. Spoon about one tablespoon over each cake: you want it to cover the cut with the cream oozing out. Decorate with chocolate shavings and serve.