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My adorable nephew Sam turned 1 last week, and I offered to make the “grownups” cake, as his parents got him his own little piece of sugary heaven.  I decided to make Nigella’s chocolate guinness cake.  I’ve seen the recipe a number of times, and Nigella doesn’t mess around with desserts.  I figured that since the cake was for the grownups, why not have beer in it?

The cake I ended up with was chocolate, but not overpowering like my other chocolate-chocolate cake I make all the time.  It also had a cream cheese icing that wasn’t super cream cheesy, it also had some whipped cream in it, which toned it down nicely.  Definitely a keeper.

Cake

1 cup guinness
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon (yes, you read that right) vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350.

Butter and line a 9 inch springform pan.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine guinness and butter.  Once butter is melted, whisk in sugar and cocoa and stir until combined.

In a mixer beat the sour cream and eggs, and then add in vanilla.  Beat in the chocolate guinness mixture until smooth.  Mix in flour and baking powder and soda until smooth.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until toothpick inserted comes out relatively clean.

Cool completely in the pan, and then remove when ready to ice.

Icing

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a mixer, cream cream cheese.  Add in confectioner’s sugar and whip until smooth and fluffy.  Add in cream and mix again until fluffy.  Icing can be put in the fridge to set for a while before using.  When icing the cake, only ice the top so that it resembles a pint of guinness.

All the adults at the party agreed it was a quite tasty cake.  And for someone who doesn’t drink guinness, I definitely loved it.

Today my office threw a bridal shower for our coworker Lauren.  I knew immediately that I wanted to make my red velvet cake, which happens to be one of my favorites.  My best friend in California, Whitney, even requested I mail her one for her birthday earlier this month.  Sadly I didn’t figure out how to do that in time.

Red Velvet is something I only recently discovered, and I’m not even sure how I did.  Must be that wanna be a southerner kind of thing.  I even had red velvet cupcakes at my wedding reception, down in the South.  See?

I think one thing I love about red velvet cake is the fact that it has cream cheese frosting.  I LOVE cream cheese frosting.  I don’t really like carrot cake, so red velvet cake was the best outlet for me to get my fix.  It’s weird, I love cheesecake and cream cheese frosting, but don’t like cream cheese on my bagel.  My husband is the exact opposite, which I guess in the long run is a good thing, otherwise I’d be baking cheesecakes all the time.

Cake

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease and flour 3 9″ round cake pans.

Mix together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.  Add in the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the 3 pans.  Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart.  Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating halfway through.  Make sure cake is pulling away from sides, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges.  Remove from the pans, and cool completely, rounded side up.

Frosting

1 pound (2 8 oz. containers) cream cheese, softened
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated.  Increase the speed to high, and mix for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.  Add in the vanilla and mix briefly.  Make sure to scrape down sides occasionally.  Store frosting in the fridge until it chills a bit.

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