Chocolate, potato and stout

Chocolate, potato and stout

Sticky Fingers Green Thumb
Tara Pearce, Tim Hillier

Buttery mashed potato often ranks in people’s top-five comfort foods. If (like me) your eyes are bigger than your belly, try saving two-thirds of a cup of leftover mash for this hearty cake. The pillowy mash lightens up the dense, malty flavours of the stout beer and dark chocolate, while the toasted meringue icing mimics the head of a well-poured Guinness. For an added lick of cocoa, look into getting your hands on a boutique chocolate stout.


Quantity Ingredient
150g potato, peeled and cut into cubes
150g good-quality dark chocolate (approx. 60% cocoa solids), broken into chunks
500g unsalted butter
400g soft brown sugar
8 eggs
300g plain (all-purpose) flour
50g dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
300ml stout beer

Meringue icing

Quantity Ingredient
120ml water
550g sugar
10 egg whites, at room temperature


  1. Add the potato to a saucepan of boiling water and cook until tender. Drain, return to the pan and mash until smooth, then set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Lightly grease and line three 15 cm round cake tins with baking paper.
  3. Place the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water and melt gently, stirring, until completely smooth. Remove from the heat.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and eggs and beat well, then stir in the mashed potato. Sift over the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and gently mix together, pouring in the stout as you go to form a batter.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of each comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool slightly in the tins for 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  6. While the cakes are cooling, make the meringue. Add the water and 440 g (16 oz/2 cups) of the sugar to a saucepan, stir to dissolve and bring to the boil. Using a sugar thermometer to check, bring the mixture to a temperature of 180°C (350°F).
  7. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites together in a bowl using an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add the remaining sugar, reduce the mixer to medium speed and continue to whisk, slowly adding the hot sugar syrup, for 8 minutes or until the meringue is thick and glossy and the bowl is cool to the touch.
  8. Place one of the cooled cakes on a serving plate or stand and spread with a quarter of the icing. Repeat with a second cake. Place the third cake on top and spoon the remaining icing over the top and sides, using the back of the spoon to make light indents in it to create peaks and swirls. To finish, use a blowtorch to lightly toast the meringue peaks.

Save your gnarly potatoes

  • Old and ugly, these guys can be replanted to generate your very own potato crop. Making sure your potatoes have a few ‘eyes’ sprouting, simply cut them in half and leave them to dry overnight, before planting them in a well-composted soil trench about 20 cm deep and 10 cm apart. New shoots should appear in a few weeks.
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