Preparation / Directions:
For the icing
4oz (110g)plain chocolate 2 tablespoons sweet stout 2oz (50g) butter 4oz (110g) icing sugar (sifted) 1oz (25g) walnut pieces, finely chopped
8 walnut halves grated chocolate
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (350oF) (180oC)
First brush two 8-inch (20cm) sandwich tins with melted fat and line the bases with circles of greaseproof or silicone paper (Bakewell), also brushed with melted fat.
Then cream the butter and sugar together, beating thoroughly for about 3 or 4 minutes until pale and fluffy. Now gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, beating well between each addition. Next sift the flour baking powder and bicarbonate of soda on to a sheet of greaseproof paper. Then weigh the cocoa and put in a separate bowl- gradually stirring the stout into it. Now carefully and lightly fold into the mixture small quantities of the sifted flour alternately with the cocoa- stout liquid.Then when both have been added, divide the cake mixture equally between the two tins and level it out.Bake the sponges in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes.The cakes should be flat on top and feel springy and will have shrunk slightly from the side of the tin.Leave them to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool further.To make the icing, melt the chocolate with the stout in a bowl set over a pan of hot water.Then when it's melted remove the bowl from the water, beat in the butter and leave to cool a little before beating in the icing sugar.Now remove a quarter of the icing to a separate bowl and stir in the chopped walnuts.After the icings have cooled to a spreadable consistency, sandwich the cake with the walnut icing.Then spread the top and sides of the cake with the rest, smoothing it over with a palette knife.Now arrange the walnut halves at regular intervals around the top edge of the cake and sprinkle lightly with the grated chocolate.Now try to be patient and allow the icing to become firm before eatin