It’s almost Saint Patrick’s Day! I had a couple of days off from work early this week so I thought I would take advantage of that and make my big Irish feast! I LOVE corned beef and cabbage so of course I made that, some Irish Soda Bread and I had to choose a dessert. Last year I made Bailey’s Cream Pie, the year before Bailey’s Brownies and this year I chose to make an Irish Car-Bomb Cake. If you aren’t familiar with the drink it is typical served this way: Guinness (Irish stout beer) in a pint glass, Bailey’s layered on top of Jameson Irish Whiskey in a shot glass and then the shot glass is dropped in the pint glass and you drink the whole thing like that. Very quickly usually. Oh yes, I have been to my share of bars to celebrate St. Patrick’s day chugging these concoctions! I haven’t actually has an Irish car-bomb in a while so I figured this cake would fill that void. If you can call it that.
Whether or not this kind of drinking “activity” is up you ally this cake will be. The cake itself is made with Guinness. You don’t even taste the beer all that much, it just adds an almost coffee-like element which works wonders to accentuate the flavor of the chocolate itself. There is also sour cream in the cake to keep it nice and moist.
Between the layers of cake is the whisky component. I made a bittersweet chocolate ganache containing Irish whiskey. You can add more or less to taste and you can even brush the cake layers lightly with whiskey if you would like. I feel like sometimes i get carried away when using liquor in recipes so I exercised some self-restraint and stuck to adding about 3 tsp. to the ganache. Next time I think I will lightly brush the cake layers with some whiskey to add another layer of flavor and moisture but the choice is yours.
One component is still missing from our “car-bomb”, the Bailey’s! To make this cake even sort-of look like the drink, I decided to make a thin-ish butter-cream containing Bailey’s and frost the cake over the top and down the sides here and there in thick “drips” to look like an overflowing pint. Use an off-set spatula to work the butter-cream all over the top of the cake to the edges and then take some frosting down the sides in a few places in rounded smears. I made a rough finish with the spatula over the top instead of going for a super-smooth look. Another bonus of using the Bailey’s in the frosting is that it even gives it a slight tan color, much like the head on a Guinness! If you had some green sprinkles and were feeling so inclined you could also let those loose over the top. I think it turned out great, plain and simple like this. I added a bit more liquid to this frosting than I normally would so that it would be easier to create this “frothy” effect and it worked wonderfully! You don’t want your icing to be runny or pourable at all, just thinner than you would like for say, piping.
In the recipe for the cake you will notice that the beer is heated on the stove with the butter to incorporate the two. I saw some other recipes that called for “melted butter” as an ingredient instead of cubed butter. These recipes did not heat the beer with the butter. I was curious if I could use melted butter because it seemed a bit easier than getting out another saucepan but I noticed something in the reviews that changed my mind. People had significant difficulty incorporating the beer and butter with this method and said that the two ingredients kept separating. A solution that some people offered was allowing the beer to go flat before mixing the two. So unless you want to let the beer go flat first, I would stick to heating these two ingredients to really allow them to incorporate. I had no trouble whatsoever.
Irish Car-bomb Cake
(Adapted from “Chocolate Guinness Cake” on Taste of Home.com)
Ingredients for the Guinness Chocolate Cake:
- 1 cup Guinness, room temperature (or other dark stout beer)
- ½ unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 3 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or paste)
- 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- Baking spray or additional softened butter and flour for greasing pans
Ingredients for the Bailey’s Buttercream “Head”:
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 3-4 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish Cream, to taste
- ¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1-3 tbsp. heavy whipping cream, or to reach desired consistency (should be a bit on the thin side for buttercream)
- 2 tbsp. light corn syrup, optional
Ingredients for the Whiskey Ganache Filling:
- 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (up to 62% cocoa), finely chopped
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3-4 tsp. Irish Whiskey, to taste
Directions for the Cake:
- Grease two 9-inch spring-form or cake pans. Line with parchment rounds and grease those as well. (Grease with butter and flour or use baking spray).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in the center position
- In a small saucepan, heat beer and butter until butter is melted
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar and cocoa until blended
- In a medium mixing bowl combine the eggs, sour cream and vanilla
- Whisk the beer mixture into the egg mixture until smooth
- In a medium bowl whisk together the two flours, baking soda and salt
- Whisk the flour mixture into the egg/beer mixture until smooth. Do not overmix
- Divide batter evenly between the two pans
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs
- Cool completely in pan on a wire rack and the remove from pan
Directions for the Butter-cream:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter until smooth
- Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated
- Gradually add the sifted sugar, about ½ cup at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl between additions
- After all the sugar has been added, mix in the Bailey’s and heavy cream. Start with 1 tbsp. of heavy whipping cream and add more as needed to reach desired consistency
- To frost the cake for the look of the head on a beer the frosting will need to be on the thin side. Not drippy but not too stiff
Directions for the Ganache:
- Place the chocolate in a heat-proof medium glass bowl
- In a small saucepan on the stove, heat the heavy cream on medium heat until steam just starts coming off the surface
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 5 minutes undisturbed
- Whisk the chocolate with the cream until fully incorporated
- Whisk the whiskey into the ganache. Start with 2 tsp. and add more to taste
- Set aside to cool until thickened a bit, about 20 minutes
Directions for Assembly:
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or plate
- Spread the ganache evenly, and thickly over the cake almost to the edge
- Place the second cake round over the ganache
- Frost the cake with the buttercream as desired. To make it look like the head on a beer, roughly swirl the frosting over the top and down the sides here and there to look like thick “drips”.
- Store cake in a cover container at room temperature or in refrigerator if desired
I need to give a shout-out to Siobhan over at tastyrecipesandotherstuff for inspiring me come up with this cake! I saw her post for “Chocolate Guinness Cake” which really got the wheels turning! Thanks for the inspiration!