Friday, November 7, 2008


We do love crab parties. That's me at the end of the table with apron on, picking crabs. It's so much fun, and makes for good conversation. Except it was too close to the election. One person was for Obama, the rest of us for McCain. Whew. Almost went into fisticuffs. Hope we can all stay friends now that it's over.
Guy loves setting the table for crabs with his special crab paper and his homemade crab plates. We'll have to wait till next year to do this again. And luckily, it's a non-election year.

We had a crab party Sunday night, to eat up the last of our crabs. It's not that the crabs are done, it's just that Guy's tired of setting and emptying the traps. And we've eaten our fill of crabs this year. Apple pie was the main dessert, and this was just a side experiment. Our neighbor/friend drinks Saranac Black & Tan and we always have some in our fridge for him. So instead of buying Guinness, which no one here drinks, I subbed the Saranac. I was all set to not not like this cake, because I'm not a beer drinker and could never quite adapt to the flavor. I decided to just try a bite so I could say I tasted it. And I ate the whole thing. It was absolutely delicious. Tender, moist, flavorful and delicious, not too sweet, just enough of everything. And there's no heavy beer taste. In fact, I couldn't taste the beer much at all. Just this wonderful chocolate flavor. The recipe I followed called for a cream cheese icing with heavy cream added. I added just a touch of melted chocolate to it, and it was yummy. Instead of making the batter in a springform pan, I decided to use my little ramekins, but there was still batter left over. So I used my 6-cup bundt pans and two of my 4-1/2" springform pans. End result: I got one 4-1/2" "layer cake," made with the two springform pan cakes; 2 little bundt cakes, and 4 individual cakes from the ramekins. These sizes are much more usable for me. The 4 ramekin cakes are gone and the others are in my freezer, all frosted and waiting to be thawed. This is definitely a cake I will make again. My thanks to for this wonderful recipe. I'm printing it below in its original form, because I followed it to a "T", except for the little bit of chocolate added to the frosting and except for the Saranac in place of the Guinness.

Chocolate Guinness Cake
Rating: 10 out of 10
CAKE: 1 cup Guinness (or other Stout)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar (I used regular)
3/4 cup sour cream (I used lite)
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking soda
FROSTING: 8 oz. cream cheese
1-1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease and line with parchment paper a 9" springform pan.
2. Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan and add the sliced butter. Heat until the butter is melted and remove from the heat. Whisk in the cocoa and sugar. In a separate bowl, beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla. Add the sour cream mixture to the Guinness mixture in the saucepan. Finally, beat in the flour and baking soda.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, checking with a toothpick for doneness. (My little pans took 20 minutes.) Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

4. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until well combined and creamy. Add the cream and beat again until it's a spreadable consistency. (Slowly add the cream and beat well afterwards.) At first there seems like a lot of frosting for just the top of a 9" cake, but don't skimp! The idea is to frost the top of the cake until it resembles the frothy head of a pint of Guinness. It's quite dramatic and lovely. (Note: I admit I skimped by cutting the frosting recipe in half, and drama aside, it was enough frosting for me.)

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