With both St. Patrick’s Day and a major nor’eastern (aka, a snow day for the kids) happening this week, it’s most definitely time to get our drink on — and our cake on too. Luckily, we were able to consult with a beer pouring expert — the Guinness Brewery Ambassador, Eoghain Clavin — to learn how to pour the perfect pint. Because, yes, it matters.
And because we can pretty much only drink one or two pints before promptly falling asleep, I’ve thrown in a recipe so that you can use leftover bottles to make a super tasty Chocolate Guinness Cake too. Honestly, I can think of no more appropriate way to spend a St. Patrick’s week snow day than drunk baking.
How to pour the perfect pint
1. Start with a clean, dry glass, preferably a 20-ounce pint glass. Because it’s a pint of beer. Get it? Also, if you have a tulip-shaped one, even better since the wider neck interacts with the nitrogen bubbles in some technical way that matters. (I could get scientific here, but I’m thinking it’s better to fly through the logistics and start drinking.)
2. Hold the glass at a 45 degree angle and never allow the spout to touch the glass. Yes, I said spout because, technically, the perfect pint comes out of a tap. That said, there’s no reason not to use this method with a glass or can too. It won’t be quite the same, but it’s still the best move.
3. Begin The Pour. Yes, that’s the official name, thank you very much. Make sure that as the beer nears the top of the glass the liquid never touches the spout, glass, or can. Stop an inch or two short of the lip of the glass.
4. Allow the beer to settle. As in, put it down and don’t start drinking yet. I know, but seriously — this allows the nitrogen bubbles to help form the beautiful creamy head that you want to top a perfect pint. The settle is done when there is a distinct line between the dark liquid and the creamy white head, and it may take a few minutes to achieve.
5. Now that you’ve shown restraint, you get more beer! How rewarding is that?! Top your pint off by slowly pouring more beer right into the center of your leveled pint glass to create a domed head, which despite the sound (especially if you’re the parent of a newborn), is a good thing. Ha.
6. Drink up. Or see below.
Chocolate Guinness Cake
Given that I can tolerate one, maybe two pints, max, I’m putting the rest of my six-pack to good use with this recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cake. You can make it today and use our tips on how to store baked goods to keep it fresh until Friday, St. Patrick’s Day, or you can just eat cake. Because snow day. Or if there’s no snow in your neck of the woods, because sunny day. Or rain. Or whatever.
We really don’t need to think hard on a reason to make this.
Chocolate Guinness Cake
Adapted from Nigella
Makes one 9″ single layer cake
For the cake:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup Guinness (poured so that you’re getting 1 cup of actual beer, not foamy head)
2 cups granulated sugar
4 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
5 tablespoons sour cream or plain Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
For the icing:
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9″ springform pan and line the bottom with parchment. Combine Guinness and butter in a saucepan set over medium-low heat and cook until butter melts. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar and cocoa powder until well combined; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Add Guinness mixture and mix until well combined. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool cake completely in the pan.
3. To make the icing: Stir or whisk confectioners sugar to break up the lumps. Add cream cheese and mix until smooth. Add heavy cream and continue mixing until smooth and spreadable. Top the cake and serve!