Two hundred years ago, St. Patrick saved the Irish from The Great Potato Famine.
Wait, no. That’s not right.
Well he definitely saved someone…from something…and now we celebrate his legacy in the states with green beer during brief stops on pub crawls.
Can you believe it’s March already (half way through March, actually)?! March marks my absolute favorite time of year–the time when everything turns green (nope, not spring) and everyone turns Irish–a time for celebrating St. Patrick. Does anyone love Saint Patrick’s Day as much as I do?
Ah, St. Paddy. The patron saint of Shamrock Shakes. The inventor of the car bomb and tiny cinnamon covered coconut balls. Ye was a great man!
It’s been instilled in me to love St. Patrick’s Day. From the day of my birth, I was indoctrinated into an Irish Catholic community that praised our patron and celebrated our heritage.
My family founded the Bucks County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee in 1989, and still runs it to this day.
I imagine myself during the first parade, a wee lass of only 8 months, sitting atop my father’s shoulders. Astoundingly, fame at such a young age did not thwart my ability to relate to the common people at all.
St. Paddy’s Day is as sacred a holiday as they come in my family. Come parade day I sport my favorite Kelly green tutu (standard parade attire), adhere shamrock stickers to my pink cheeks, and march (read: dance) down the parade route to the beat of bagpipes.
I look forward to parade day all year. Little girls in dancing shoes and big, curly wigs. Boys in flat caps and Notre Dame apparel. A slurry of people of mixed heritages in green and orange, celebrating and dancing to live music*.
*Dancing brings people together, remember that.
When the parade ends, we move to the Hoolie. A hoolie is a gathering of Gaelics; an assembly of Celtics! It’s basically an after party where I eat way too many hot dogs and accidentally spill my beer on way too many people (oops). The Hoolie always features a rockin’ Irish band and talented dancers…and then there’s me, Irish twerking in the back corner of the dance floor.
If you’re anywhere near Bucks County, PA this saturday then grab ye kilt and shimmy ye shamrocks down to the parade route to join in on all the fun and festivities! More information can be found here and here.
Now, on to the good stuff.
Irish Carbomb cakes have made their way to the Pinterest hall of fame over the past few years. I’ve made my fair share and let me tell you, they are dangerous. Not because of the alcohol, of course, but mainly because I can (and have) eat the whole cake by myself.
Carbomb cakes are made using Guinness in the cake batter, they’re filled with a whiskey ganache, and then topped with Baileys-buttercream frosting. While you can’t taste the beer in the finished product, you can certainly taste the whiskey in the ganache and the Baileys in the frosting. The Guinness is my favorite part, though. Like I said, you can’t exactly taste it, but it adds a depth to the chocolate that is incomparable. The finished cake is rich, but not quite sweet.
I’m in love with the combination of chocolate and Guinness so I knew I would inevitably be making another car bomb cake this year. I switched things up, however, and left out the traditional Baileys-spiked buttercream frosting. I’ve never been a frosting fan and the extra calories I saved from all that butter are an added bonus.
I also omitted a half cup of sugar from the original recipe. I didn’t miss it. Lastly, I made sure to use Kerrygold Irish butter in this recipe. Contrary to popular belief, butter can actually be good for you–you just have to make sure you’re getting it from grass-fed cows. Kerrygold is an amazing brand and you will most likely find it in your local health food store.
I glued the layers of my cake together with whiskey ganache, and then topped it with the leftover ganache and some green sprinkles because, well, why not?
I’ve been eating this cake everyday for the past week. SOMEONE TAKE IT AWAY FROM ME (no, don’t!).
1 cup Guinness stout (I used extra stout)
1 cup room temperature unsalted Kerrygold Irish butter (or regular unsalted butter)
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoons salt
2/3 cup sour cream
8 ounces bittersweet or milk chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (more or less to taste)
1. To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray your cake pan with oil lightly (I used 2 round cake pans..I think they’re 8×2…although I can’t be sure…sorry) Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sour cream until combined–you could do this by hand, like I did, or use a mixer. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among cake pans (for two layers..you could use more cake pans for more, thinner layers). Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17-25 minutes. Cool layers.
3. To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling and Topping: Roughly chop chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until for a few moments. The longer you let it cool, the thicker it will be. I left mine thin enough to be poured on the cake.
4. To Assemble the Cake: Lay each cake layer flat and carefully cut the top of the cake (ONLY IF YOU NEED TO) to ensure that the tops are flat and even. Do this little by little to ensure that you don’t cut too much. After the tops of your layers are flat, spread your whiskey ganache onto the top of one layer. I poured enough ganache so that it was just thick enough to cover the cake layer–not too much. Then, carefully place second layer atop the first. Drizzle as much or as little ganache on top as you would like (I covered the top, because I like chocolate and I like whiskey…no judgement, please). Finish with sprinkles, if desired.
I’m so excited for St. Pat’s weekend. I’m going to celebrate with lots o’ Guinness. Does anyone else have anything cool that they do to celebrate?