My Dad used to play basketball before we were born. We have pictures of him on the basketball court, in his tiny basketball shorts circa 1975. My Dad is also an absolute wind up merchant and stirrer. When we were kids Dad had the usual stories about walking 10 miles in the snow every day to school, a distance that seemed to increase by a mile every time he told the story, but he also had some special stories. One of his favourites was the story about when he used to play for the Boston Celtics. My brother loved the story about how Dad used to shoot hoops with Larry Bird. In a child’s head the details of the story were unimportant. In fact it seemed completely plausible after all we knew he played basketball we had seen the photos. Mum used to tell us how he was called ‘legs 11’ because that was his number and he used to live in another country. As far as we were concerned he was the font of basketball knowledge and a sporting genius.
One day we were playing at Rachel’s house and my brother proudly told her father how his Dad used to play for the Boston Celtics. Rachel’s father scoffed let out a chuckle and told my brother he didn’t think that was true. The amused expression on his face told me that clearly there was some adult knowledge here I wasn’t privy too and so instead of supporting my brothers proud boast, I kept quiet. My brother being younger and less perceptive insisted it was true and that Dad had played with Larry Bird. This claim was met with absolute laughter and by then I started hissing at my brother to stop talking. Once again his lack of perception intervened in his reasoning abilities and he continued to argue passionately with Rachel’s father, retorting the ultimate in all argument clinchers ‘he did too!’
This Father’s Day I tried to combine my Dad’s favourite flavours into one special cake to celebrate a man who could tell his children absolute whoppers straight faced and unflinchingly The cake recipe I used suggests using a bundt pan, I however opted for a two layered cake. I paired it with the caramel bourbon frosting which was extremely yummy, even for someone like me who isn’t a great fan of caramel. The Bourbon cuts right through any sickly sweetness and makes the cake decidedly grown up. If you are concerned that the cake will taste like Guinness, don’t be. It simply adds depth and character.
Did your father tell you outlandish stories about his past lives?
Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bourbon Caramel Frosting
Serves 8 – 10
- 1 cup of Guinness
- 250 gms of unsalted butter
- ¾ cup of cocoa powder
- 2 cups of Plain Flour
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- ½ tsp if bi carb of soda
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup of sour cream
- Pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
2. Grease 2 20cm cake tins with butter and line the bases
3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powders and salt in a large bowl and put aside
4. Place butter and guiness in a pan and allow the butter to melt, then add cocoa powder and whisk to combine
5. Allow the chocolate mix to cool
6. Beat eggs and sour cream together and then slowly add the slightly cooled chocolate Guinness mixture. Add the flour mixture and continue to beat until combined
7. Pour half the batter into each tin and then bake in the oven for 20 – 25 mins or until skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake is springy to the touch
9. Allow cake to cool completely before icing
Caramel Bourbon Frosting
- 1 cup of caster sugar
- 2 cups of icing sugar
- ¼ cup of water
- 8 tbsp of butter
- ½ cup of cream
- 1-2 tbsp of milk
- 3 tbsp of bourbon
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
1. Whisk the bourbon into the cream and set aside
2. Combine the caster sugar and water in a saucepan and place of medium heat. Bring to the boil shaking the pan occasionally, I find it better that you don’t stir or whisk it.
3. Once the mixture turns a caramel amber colour and then take of the heat.
4. Add 6 tbsp of butter. Be careful the butter will cause the mixture to bubble and froth. Whisk in the butter until it is melted.
5. Once the butter has melted, slowly pour the cream mixture into the caramel mixture. Once again the mixture will bubble considerably. Place the mixture on a low heat again and then mix until completely combined.
6. Put caramel in a fridge until it is cool and firmer
7. Once the caramel is cooled cream together the 2 tbsp of butter and caramel.
8. Add the icing sugar one cup at a time, alternating with 1 tbsp of milk and continue to beat until smooth.
9. Place the frosting in the fridge until it is firm enough to easily spread on the cake.
10. Place one of the cakes domed side down on the serving plate. Top with some of the frosting and then sandwich the other cake on top. Use more of the frosting to spread on the tops and the sides of the cake.