It's St Patricks Day, so it has to be a Guinness inspired canapé. Nigella’s Guinness and chocolate cake seems to fit the bill perfectly. It is a grown up chocolate cake, not too sweet, but still very delicious. It keeps brilliantly and is moist and light. Made as a traybake it easily cuts up into mouthful sized squares, so perfect as a petit four. Quick and simple to make, the hardest part for me were the icing sugar shamrocks. A blob of cream would be far far less time consuming.
250g butter, in small cubes
75g cocoa powder
275g plain flour
2.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
400g caster sugar
142mls sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla essence
Heat oven to 180ºC and grease and line a 20cm square tin.
Pour the Guinness slowly into a large saucepan, so that it doesn't froth up. Add the cubed butter and heat until the butter has melted.
Sieve the cocoa and sugar and stir into the Guinness and butter.
Lightly whisk the eggs, add the vanilla essence and sour cream and pour in.
Whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and make sure it is all well mixed, with no lumps of flour showing.
Cook for 40 - 45 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time, make sure its not burning on top. Poke a skewer into the middle to check it's not wet inside and, if it is okay, take the cake out of the oven and cool it in the tin.
When it's cool cut into brownie sized portions and serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. For smaller petit four portions, use a ruler to cut even sized squares, decorate with whipped cream or an icing sugar motif - if you have lots of time to waste.