ST PATRICK’S Day is fast approaching and for most it’s a time to celebrate Ireland’s patron saint with a few pints of Guinness and a good knees-up!.

But there are many delicious ways to celebrate this religious celebration that goes far beyond an excuse for a pint or two of the black stuff.

Guinness is ideal to bake with, adding flavour to soda breads and cakes.

So for this year’s Irishness I present to you a shamrock of a recipe called Guinness and Chocolate Cake – loaded with complexity and licorice intensity, my kind of grown-up cake finished with a cream cheese frosting icing.

This cake is magnificent in its damp blackness, giving extra depth and helping to keep the cake moist.

I can’t say that you can absolutely taste the stout in it, as there is for sure a certain resonant, ferrous tang which you will just love.

The best way I can describe it is to say it’s like gingerbread without the spices.

There is also enough sugar in the recipe to counter any potential bitterness from the Guinness.

To finish off, I think chocolate frosting icing flavoured with Baileys takes away the dark majesty of the cake.

And would recommend a cheese cream icing to echo the pale head that sits on top of pint glass of stout.

However, it is perfectly acceptable to leave the cake un-iced: in fact it tastes gorgeous plain with a pint of Guinness in the other hand.

The recipe is also worth cutting out and putting on the fridge door as Father’s Day is just around the corner, being perfect for celebrating an occasion revolving around your dad.

For any Guinness connoisseurs out there, you probably know that Guinness comes in draught and extra stout.

It doesn’t matter which you choose, if you have a favourite I say go for it, as the recipe only takes half a bottle, and the leftover is always for the cook while the cake is baking and not for the Irish stew later on.

But don’t fall asleep while your cake is baking – set the timer, because this cake is a knockout spiked with stout, and I promise you’ll be still talking about it at Easter, burnt or not!

So have a great St Pat’s Day, do a little jig, wear your green leprechaun shirt and shamrock hat with pride, drink your Guinness and eat your bacon and cabbage.

But also let’s remember the lesson of St Patrick - trust in God’s purpose for your life, never let doubts control your thought, keep your integrity in all things, and take on the humble service of God.

And as the saying goes, you will find a leprechaun and his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow if you bake this cake this weekend!

* Guinness is an Irish dry stout created in the Dublin brewery of Arthur Guinness in the 18th century.

It went on to become one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, now brewed in almost 50 countries and available in more than 120 countries. Annual sales have totalled 850 million litres.

Guinness features a burnt flavour that is derived from malted barley and roasted unmalted barley.