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I've made this chocolate Guinness cake (Nigella Lawson) before. It's delicious and looks good. But it would look even better baked in pint glasses (or half pint). It's a moist, slow-baking cake so should be fairly forgiving on cooking time.What should I consider before doing the experiment? Things I have thought of:

  • The glass breaking from heat.

    Obviously this is a risk. I believe it would be a small risk if I place the glasses on a cold, thick baking sheet so they warm gradually without thermal shock. If anyone has tried this and proved me wrong, I'd like to know.

  • Paint on the glass.

    Best of all would be to use a Guinness glass. But what would happen to the painted logo in the oven?

What haven't I thought of?

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    Probably easier to bake it normally then cut it to fit the glasses. It'll be darker and more Guinness-like that way too – ElendilTheTall Nov 4 '16 at 14:40
  • What do you mean by "consider"? Both scenarios (glass breaking and logo discoloring) are quite possible. But the likelihood is neither "so low it will practically never happen" nor "so high it will practically always happen". So all you have to know is "do I want to risk my glasses" which is not something we can answer. – rumtscho Nov 4 '16 at 15:28
  • @rumtscho I'm happy to risk glasses, which I'd buy specially. I'd be more worried about the paint scorching and affecting the flavour, though there would probably be a giveaway smell. – Chris H Nov 4 '16 at 16:12
  • I don't have any Guiness glasses, but the logoed beer glasses I have have the paint on the outside, so I didn't consider that scenario. – rumtscho Nov 4 '16 at 16:14
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    Also, burning off polymers in your oven can be a food safety issue even if the taste isn't affected. – rackandboneman Nov 7 '16 at 8:42
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What you want to do has been done successfully. There is a video and instructions here:

Guinness Cake baked in Guinness glasses

I believe the greatest risk of thermal shock would come when you remove the cakes from the oven. Do not take the glasses out of the baking pan and place on a cool counter top (doing this can break some heat safe glass). Cool in the baking pan on a cooling rack or on a pot holder/towel.

As far as the painted logo on the glass, if it is commercailly produced, the logo would have been heat processed/baked on, so the heat in your oven should not be a problem.

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    You must have had more luck with Google than me. I'd done an image search as well as a normal search – Chris H Nov 4 '16 at 16:29
  • Google and I are good friends ;) – Debbie M. Nov 4 '16 at 16:34
  • I think it depends on whether the logo is an appliqué or actually painted/etc. on. Appliqués may not be nearly so heat-resistant; they're often damaged by the much less bothersome temperatures in the dishwasher, after all. And - I would be hesitant to translate "it has been done before" to "it is safe to do", many many many "don't try this at home" cases disagree with that... – Joe M Nov 4 '16 at 20:20
  • "the logo would have been heat processed/baked on, so the heat in your oven should not be a problem." For all we know it could be a plain silkscreen, do you have documentation about the processes used commonly and/or by Guiness? – rackandboneman Nov 7 '16 at 8:44
  • @JoeM dihwasher detergent in hot water can easily affect print/paint that dry heat can't (e.g. ceramic casserole dishes with paint over the glaze). However I've come across baked industrial paints that start to smoke at 120°C, as well as others that need over 150°C to harden, which is why I was wary. Even the embossed glasses have some print on them. Maybe a plain glass would be the way to go – Chris H Nov 7 '16 at 9:03
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Using drinking glasses, or even canning jars, risks the glass cracking, splintering, exploding, or shattering. Even a canning jar is not built to withstand oven temperatures higher than 120 C/250 F degrees. True, it's been done, baking cakes in a jar meant for preserving. Far safer would be to use tempered glass containers, which are designed to withstand oven temperatures as high as 300°C/572°F such as these ramekins on Amazon.

@ElendilTheTall has the best approach: bake the cake and pack it into your lovely, full set of Guinness glasses.

  • The warnings are fair, so +1. But I have often oven-sterilised glassware, for which the usual approach is to start in a cold oven, but works well so long a cold glass isn't placed onto a hot shelf. – Chris H Nov 7 '16 at 9:05
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I'd worry that it's not going to rise and set properly. A pint glass isn't uniform. The bottom will set before the top does. There's a good chance you'll end up with something like a molten lava cake -- not necessarily a bad thing, but perhaps not what you're looking for. (And I would be very careful about serving it hot: people will expect to touch the glass, which will be very hot.)

You could try cooking it in a water bath, which will protect the logo as well. (If you could find one with an etched rather than painted logo, it would survive oven heat.) The top may feel a bit tacky at the end; conceivably a minute under the broiler (but set on the bottom rack, to protect the glass) would fix that.

  • I'm not intending to serve it hot, as to complete to the look requires icing. Setting rate is a good point. I was more concerned about the top cooking too fast but the other way may be more important as you suggest – Chris H Nov 4 '16 at 16:16
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    I'm a little confused why you think the bottom will set first. When you bake in an actual glass baking dish the top definitely sets first, then the bottom and edges, and the middle last. Uneven glass could shift things around a bit between the bottom and sides, but I'm not sure I see how it'd make the bottom set first. – Cascabel Nov 4 '16 at 17:12
  • A pint glass is narrower at the bottom than at the top, and I'd be concerned that it would set too quickly. – Joshua Engel Nov 7 '16 at 19:18
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Place the glasses on a cold, thick baking sheet would be more thermal stress.

Your best bet would be not to preheat and let it cool in the oven
Not best for the cake but best for the glass

Glass is pretty heat resilient

  • How would it be more thermal stress to place a cold glass on a cold baking sheet than to place the same glass on a hot oven shelf? – Chris H Nov 4 '16 at 16:13
  • @ChrisH In a hot oven you could introduce temp differential if the thick baking sheet did not have the same temp as the glass. And I suggest you don't preheat anyway. – paparazzo Nov 4 '16 at 16:51
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    @ChrisH A cold baking sheet won't stay cold long. It'll heat up fairly quickly (metal is a good conductor, and you've given it a lot of surface area), and then transfer heat into the bottom of the glass more efficiently than air would. (Of course, no matter what you do, you still have the thermal stress of the outside of the glass being hot while the inside is <100C thanks to the cake batter, so I'm not sure that the baking sheet is the biggest issue.) – Cascabel Nov 4 '16 at 17:06
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What type of glass? If it is Borosilicate glass (used in lab glassware and corning made PYREX kitchenware before the PYREX brand was sold) You should not have any problems as long as you handle your glassware carefully (Borosilicate glass is slightly more brittle than the more common soda lime glass but has better thermal properties making it a good choice for use in ovens and some stoves). Soda lime glass may also be acceptable if it is tempered but it requires a different type of care as it is less impact brittle but more vulnerable to thermal shocks.

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    It's a standard pint glass... which is just plain glass. – Catija Nov 5 '16 at 0:03

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