A few weeks back I had been invited on a fun trip to Ireland to visit the Flahavan's oat mill. I had been looking forward to it, but then the cold I thought I had kicked came back with a vengeance and I couldn't make it. Getting on a plane with a temperature, aching sinuses and runny nose was out of the question. Disappointed, I retreated to my sofa, tea in hand.
I had, however, already planned a recipe "in honour" of that trip. Something involving oats and another typically Irish ingredient. Yup, Guinness. Of course the Chocolate and Guinness Cake is nothing new. The recipe by Nigella Lawson is a huge success and there's not much that could be done to improve it. However, I thought I could turn it into something a little bit healthier. You see, Nigella's recipe contains a whopping 400g (!!!) of sugar. Considering that I'm trying to kick my sugar habit, there was no way I was going to use this amount in one cake. Sure, it tastes fantastic and sweet, but my taste buds are very slowly adapting to less sweetness and I wanted to build on that instead of feeling like this cake would be some kind of setback. So I adapted Nigella's original recipe into something that would allow me to indulge in a nice piece of cake without feeling too guilty afterwards. I've replaced all the sugar with honey. I've also replaced the white flour with oats. Oats are naturally sweeter than flour which means you will need less sweetening overall. The oats I have used are not certified gluten free, but there are some out there which are and which would make the cake suitable for a gluten free diet. This version tastes chocolaty, a tiny bit bitter (like dark chocolate) and is really complemented by the honey and lavender frosting. If you're interested, here's how to make your own.
You will need the following ingredients:
For the cake:
- 250ml Guinness
- 250g unsalted butter
- 300g Flahavan's Jumbo Oats
- 80g cocoa powder
- 150ml runny honey
- 140ml milk mixed
- 1/2 tbsp vinegar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the topping:
- 200g unsalted butter
- 200g cream cheese
- 300g mascarpone cheese
- 100g set honey
- 2tsp lavender
And here's how it's done:
- Preheat your oven to 180C.
- Generously grease a spring form (23cm) with butter.
- Put the oats into a food processor and process until they're flour-like.
- Mix the bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into the processed oats.
- Mix the milk with the vinegar, add the eggs and whisk together.
- Pour the Guinness into a large, wide saucepan.
- Chop the butter into slices and add to the Guinness.
- Heat the Guinness and butter to melt.
- Once melted, add the cocoa and honey and whisk.
- Add the milk and egg mixture and whisk.
- Now add the oat flour mixture and mix well.
- Pour the mix into the spring form and put into the oven to bake for 45-55 minutes.
- After the cake is baked, leave it to cool completely in the form.
- To make the icing, first grind the lavender finely with a pestle and mortar.
- Mix the butter, cream cheese and mascarpone.
- Add the set honey.
- Now put the ground lavender through a fine sieve and add to the cream. The reason I'm putting it through a sieve is because I want the taste without any coarse bits.
- Whisk all together and put in the fridge for an hour.
- Once the cake is completely cooled, top it with the lavender cream.
I hope you like this version. As I said, it won't be as sweet which might not be to everybody's taste, but it doesn't make me feel as guilty as the original version. If you like the small ceramic bowls and plates, you can order them from Nom Living where they have the most wonderful selection.
And now I'd like to ask for your help. The Saveur Blog Awards 2015 are in their nomination stage. This is one prestigious award. There are of course gazillions of mega talented food bloggers and super amazing food photographers out there which means that I probably won't stand much of a chance. However, I'd still like to try. So, if you like what I do here, then I would be really grateful if you would head over the the Saveur Blog Awards Nominations page and nominate my blog. The numbers do count and each nomination and vote makes a difference. Nominations close tomorrow, yikes!
Thank you! x