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Brum Legends #1: The Chocolate Guinness Cake at the 6/8 Kafe.

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Beyond Fabulous: A freshly baked chocolate Guinness cake as photographed by the baker himself. Courtesy of Gavin Page.

Beyond Fabulous: A freshly baked chocolate Guinness cake as photographed by the baker himself. Courtesy of Gavin Page.

It is without a doubt, one of the best desserts I have ever tasted. And if you’ve ever ventured into the 6/8 Kafe near Temple Row, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

The perfect blend of dense and moist yet strangely light chocolate sponge, with the out-of-this-world cream-cheese topping. It almost looks like a short, squat pint of Guinness. But you can eat it and make nom nom sounds in the process. With Guinness, you can only gargle.

Did you ever watch that old TV show Twin Peaks? I love Agent Cooper’s obsession with the cherry pie at the RR Diner and his quote: ‘This must be where pies go when they die’.

Well this is the cake equivalent.

It haunts my dreams sometimes.

I confess, I became quite obsessed with it last summer, just before I became ill (don’t worry, it didn’t contribute).  My sister in law visited from Detroit and we polished off at least three slices between us in one sitting.

Then I bought the entire sample tray at 6/8’s stand at the Taste of Birmingham event and served it at a dinner party. And the legend spread further. ‘What is this morsel of heaven?’ asked my guests.

It’s not just me who has noticed this cake either. It has spawned much discussion on Birmingham forums, and even been featured on a baking documentary.   Enquiring minds really want to know about the cake that is fast gaining legendary coffee-shop status in these parts.

So I determined to find out who makes the chocolate Guinness cake and what makes it so special.

Gavin Page, the creator, runs his business, Tobizzy2bake (FUN FACT: the  name comes from his kids Toby and Izi – aw, sweet) from his home up in Shenstone and gets up every day at 5am to make ciabatta for Anderson & Hill and Brewsmiths, both in Brum. That stuff is awesome too btw.

‘I’m sorry if this is a little ‘dull’, but I’m quite normal, apart from being a middle aged male home baker,’ Gavin tells me, obviously perplexed that some mad woman wants to know all about him and his marvellous creation.

Ah, so modest.

There’s no big secret to the cake (that he’s willing to divulge) and he cooks all his bread and cakes in a standard domestic oven. So no Agas, Wolfs or fairy dust then. Good to know.

Gavin has been making this particular cake for years. It was only after he was made redundant after a 20 year career in motor insurance that he decided to share his talent with the wider world.

Well I for one am glad for Gavin’s career change. I’m always heartened to read stories of people making lemonade from lemons. (Brum lemonade anyone?)

As the legend spreads, so does Gavin’s list of appreciative coffee shops. Indeed, the cake can now be found in Moseley at Cafephilia which opened earlier this month on the Alcester Road.

Long may this fabulous cake continue to be found in our fair city.


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