Guinness might sound like an unusual ingredient to use in a chocolate cake, but it adds a rich yet earthy flavour.

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 70 minutes

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Serves: 4 people

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For the topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 4. Grease an 18cm round cake tin, line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper and set aside on a baking sheet.
  2. Place the butter and cocoa in a medium pan on a medium heat to give a smooth, melted mixture, stirring occasionally. Remove and leave aside to cool a little.
  3. Whisk the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla together in a large jug until smooth, then stir in the Guinness.
  4. Mix the sugar, flour and bicarbonate of soda together in a large bowl. Add both wet mixtures and whisk everything together to give a silky, smooth batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 75 to 80 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean from the centre. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out of the tin and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the meringue topping, place the sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla extract in a large heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water without allowing the water to touch the base of the bowl. Using an electric whisk, beat for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves, giving a smooth mixture. Remove from the heat and continue to beat until really thick and glossy, which should take 6 to 8 minutes.
  7. Sit the cake on a serving plate or cake stand. Pile the meringue on top of the cake and create a swirly pattern with a palette knife. Create a lightly toasted finish using a kitchen blowtorch (or by placing the cake briefly under a hot grill) and serve.

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