Thursday, 28 July 2011

Forever Nigella: The day I saw the Domestic Goddess and Chocolate Guinness Cake

I saw Nigella once. 

I was walking down the King's Road in Chelsea (you may well ask what on earth I was doing in the Sloaney heartland, well, I used to work in a nearby hospital).

And there she was. 

The Domestic Goddess herself. 

Just sauntering past me.

Now this is Kate Middleton's stomping ground, and locals must be used to seeing Very Important People Who Feature Regularly in Hello Magazine strolling in their midst. No one battered a very-expensively-mascarad eyelid as Nigella swept by.

I meanwhile, awestruck, flattened myself against the nearest shop window, in incredible wonder that Nigella was within touching distance! Heck, I could have reached out and poked the Domestic Goddess! 

(The irony wasn't lost on me that I'd suctioned myself onto a Boot's shop window, at the time advertising some miracle anti ageing cream. So there I was plastered onto an advert for wrinkles while the woman with THE MOST FLAWLESS SKIN IN THE WORLD EVER passed by)

Did I ask for her autograph? Did I compliment Nigella on her Devil's Food Cake? Did I ask for the secrets of her skincare regime? 

I did none of the above.

I starred, open mouthed, gave an involuntary bow and hyperventilated.

Afterwards, once I'd recovered, I congratulated myself on having a new Number 1 Celebrity Spot. Nigella stormed to the Number 1 position. The previous occupant had been Pat Sharp, off of Fun House, spotted on a late night Birmingham New Street to Aberystwyth train eleven years ago*.

Anyways, all this is a lengthy preamble to introducing my first contribution to Forever Nigella: Chocolate Guinness Cake. 

Forever Nigella is a really lovely blogging challenge involving all things Nigella, and created by Sarah at Maison Cupcake. This month the theme is iced or chilled desserts  and is hosted by Arthi at Soul Curry.

You may rightly question how this particular bake qualifies as 'an iced or chilled dessert'. Well, I figured that Chocolate Guinness Cake ought to really be enjoyed with a cold glass of the Irish stout that gives the cake its name, which is ideally served iced cold. This, I agree, is a very tenous link, but I have my fingers crossed that it counts. 

The original recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cake is from How to be A Domestic Goddess and can be found here, on Nigella's website.

Baker's notes....
  • When removed from the oven, it does have a certain 'aroma'; as A delicately put it: 'It smells kinda earthy and musty, like soil, doesn't it?'. Upon which I refused to give him a slice until he had apologised, and meant it.
  • If I'm honest I was a little dubious as I decanted the Guinness into the cake, but, it lent itself to a beautifully dense, rich and chocolately cake. 
  • And the sweet, more-ish cream cheese frosting perfectly resembles the creamy Guinness head.

* It remains my lifetime ambition to appear on this show with Pat and the twins. 


  1. Hi Kate, this is a really funny blog post! I can just imagine you plastered against the window as she swanned by. I too saw a famous foodie the other day and couldn't find anything to say! I felt like a plonker. Not Nigella, sadly.

    Loved Fun House - wish it was back on TV!

    Welcome to Forever Nigella in any case - a lovely looking cake! I love this blogging event, it's always good fun.

  2. Funny. Maybe Nigella remembers you as the person plastered onto an advert of her favourite anti ageing cream:)

  3. LOVED this post ~ laughed my way through your opening paragraphs!

    And, the cake looks divine too!


  4. That cake is a must do one have been meaning to make it for ages...the post was lovely...and funny...and of course many of us are green with envy (and wrinkled). x

  5. Ha ha, it is kind of tenuous but I'll let you off since it's such a great story!

    I know someone who lives very close to Nigella in Belgravia and hear that she's very friendly and approachable in "real life". Mind you, I was terrified when I met her at a book signing too...

  6. I love this cake. Isn't it so, so yummy? I baked this for red nose day and it was very popular. I met Nigella on my birthday last year at a book signing. She's very friendly. I worship Nigella.

  7. Now I have the Funhouse theme tune stuck in my head, thanks for that! ;-)


    Anyway the cake looks yummy! I've actually made this before, for St Patricks Day this year (well I thought it was rather appropriate!) and I know what a delicious cake it is, really must make it again soon.

  8. Do you reckon you all might sign my petition begging ITV execs for the return of Fun House?? TV hasn't been the same since! Thank you for all your great comments, I appreciate very single one, thank you.

  9. Kate a wonderful story and fabby cake! Nothing like a Guinness - perfect in a cake!

  10. I have heard great things about this guinness cake. A family friend once made it and mum couldn't stop raving about it. This post is hilarious by the way, great celebrity spotting story. I love how you always have an interesting anecdote to go with each cake post. I also loved Fun House as a child and was desperate to ride the go karts!

  11. Great post and I would have done the same as you or maybe planked a big ol' kiss on her, arrested...probably!

  12. Very funny! I think I would have fainted if she passed so near to me !!
    Nigella's chocolate guinness cake is simply the best. Every time I make it for a family do it gets gobbled up and I have photocopies of the recipe to hand for those that just can't live without it. At our work charity cake stall each year it is the first to sell out and we get asked for it over and over.
    The most amazing thing is, it's so easy to make, too.

  13. Lucky you...I think I would have just grabbed her and scared her ;-)...I think this cake is the best and I have made it a zillion times too ;-)Gre8 post!

  14. I love this cake it's a recipe I return to again & again. The story of your close encounter with Nigella made me chuckle out loud.

  15. I've seen this cake in tea shops up and down the country but never dared to ask for a recipe. I didn't know it was a Nigella! Thanks for pointing me to the recipe - I will have to try it as soon as humanly possible. And - Pat Sharp - Fun House - those were the days!!

  16. Very funny reading. I think all react the same way, when we run into a celebrity. I get no reaction at all, was what happened to me one time I saw Johnny Depp in Paris, I think I was paralyzed. I love your blog and your cake

  17. lol not many blog posts have me giggling like this! Good story and I like the recipe too. Thanks for sharing:)

  18. I have to admit that the Guinness cake has never really appealed to me, but you do make it look so delicious I might have to give it a try!

    I'd be a bit in awe if I saw someone famous too - I don't think I ever will though, what with living in the North - just think how much fuss is being made about part of the BBC moving to Salford. Anyone would think they were being asked to move to Siberia. We don't bite in the North (well, not often....)

  19. Great post. I would have done the exact same thing, had I seen the Goddess in the flesh!
    This cake really does look like a pint of guinness and I must say - VERY tempting!

  20. I cannot stand Guinness as a drink but love that rich flavour it lends to chocolate cake. I've had this recipe on my radar for a while, so I'm glad to hear it was a success!


Thank you very much for your comment- I appreciate every single one of them!