As I’ve talked about before (here and here), I have always been thoroughly enamored with all things Irish. I adore the names, language, music, accent, and that unique Irish beauty; the misty, romantic melancholy of it all. I feel a certain connection to Ireland, though I don’t possess a drop of Irish blood– I’ve even worn an emerald Chaddagh ring (purchased lovingly in Galway) every day for the past 16 years. And I married an American-Irishman, so there’s that. 🙂 Ironically, one important part of Irish culture that I don’t jive with is a certain penchant for booze. I’ve never been a big drinker, though I do love a good Bailey’s on the Rocks. But beer… never been a fan. I even had an idiot boyfriend back in the day tell me that I would be the perfect girlfriend… if only I drank beer. And as a younger, sillier version of myself, I tried to like it –I really did!– but I just find it bitter, bitter, bitter. And Guinness?! Blech. However, I eventually found a delivery system for stout beer that was not only tolerable, but outrageously delicious and decadent. I think you know I’m going to say… CAKE. I can’t stand the taste of stout on its own, but my god!! when you add it to chocolate, it becomes a magnificent entity unto itself, a sum infinitely better than its parts. The chocolate-stout combination is delectably complex and rich; it’s a little amazing how these two flavors play off each other so perfectly. Mind you, I’m not usually the biggest fan of chocolate combinations (peanut butter, fruit, etc.) because I feel like the competing flavor eclipses the chocolate’s unparalleled splendor, but this flavor marriage is completely an exception– they make each other better in every way.
In light of all this, I was soooo ready for St. Patrick’s Drunk Bundt Cake to pop up on the Baked Sunday Mornings schedule this week! It is Baked Occasions‘ celebratory Irish recipe for that little drinking party that happens on March 17th. This cake is the, uhhh, holy trinity, if you will, of Irish spirits, containing not only a healthy swig of stout, but also Bailey’s Irish Cream and whiskey in the glaze. (By the by, Irish Husband says Jameson is the whiskey of choice… can’t mess with that.) I cannot think of a better way to honor the St. Patrick’s tradition– at least for a person who doesn’t drink the black stuff straight!
As for the stout, the recipe recommends Guinness or a nice chocolate stout. I’ve used chocolate stout a number of times for baking, and I love the combination because it brings out the chocolate flavor even more. I went with Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (Rogue is suggested as well), which is not quite as thick as Guinness, but this was not a problem.
This batter is made 100% in a saucepan– no mixer, no bowls! I’m pretty sure that’s a first for me, and it made for easier-than-usual cleanup. You start by combining chocolate, cocoa powder, stout, and butter in the pan and bringing this mixture just to a boil. To this malty brew you add brown and granulated sugars, canola oil, and vanilla extract. The next added ingredients are eggs and egg yolks, heavy cream, and sour cream, but the mixture was super hot and I was worried about the eggs scrambling, so I let it cool for about 10 minutes before adding them.
Once the eggs and dairy have been added, the final step is folding in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda), which were a bit difficult to incorporate– I thought for sure there would be tons of flour pockets in the baked cake, but there were only a few. I will probably sift the dry stuff into the pot next time for a smoother batter.
I have learned from making several BAKED Bundts that “make sure the pan’s nooks and crannies are all thoroughly coated” is cookbook-speak for “this mofo is gonna stick like hell”. Such cakes need generous greasing, and I usually spray my pan and then rub it in evenly because the liquid pools in the bottom grooves, but this time the pooling wasn’t that bad, so I let it be. This, I feel, was a mistake because the cocoa powder didn’t evenly coat the pan. (Can I just say that I find it almost *physically* painful to dust cake pans with expensive cocoa powder? It’s nice to use cocoa vs. flour for really chocolatey cakes, but the amount that gets wasted in knocking it out of the pan, especially a Bundt, gives me the sads.) At any rate, I poured in the batter and crossed my fingers…
The cake baked for 55 minutes, and it looked soooo iffy. The top (bottom) of the cake was chunky/craggy looking, and I really didn’t think it would come out of the pan intact. Indeed, the topmost surface layer ripped off, but nothing that couldn’t be covered with glaze.
Said glaze is very easy to make– you’ll simply cream the cream cheese to smooth it out, add the confectioners’ sugar, then add heavy cream, Bailey’s, and whiskey. I used a hand mixer for this– no need to bust out the big guns. My glaze was extremely thick, and I wanted it to drip down the sides of the cake a bit, so I thinned it with a few tablespoons of heavy cream and a little extra Bailey’s… because who doesn’t need more Bailey’s. It was still so thick that it needed to be spread with an offset spatula, and I didn’t end up using all of it. And naturally it was a most appropriate occasion for green sprinkles! I used a combination of nonpareils, jimmies, and mini shamrocks.
Soooo, this cake… Just. Wow. Despite the early uncertainties, it was perfectly moist, fudgy, evenly baked, and TO DIE FOR. Irish Husband said it was in the Top 3 of cakes that I’ve ever made. (I think that’s just because it has stout in it… 😉 ) I was so thrilled with everything about it, truly. My tasters loved it, and I even had a dream about it last night, so we’ll call this one a keeper! The boozy trifecta is perfectly balanced– the stout, Bailey’s, and Jameson all shine through in the best way possible without any harsh alcoholic aftertaste.
Listen. You have 4 days before St. Patrick’s Day, which is plenty of time to stock up on Irish booze and make this phenomenal cake. I seriously can’t stop gushing about it– it’s one of the absolute best recipes in Baked Occasions so far. You can find the recipe for St. Patrick’s Drunk Bundt Cake (perfectly named, obviously) over at Baked Sunday Mornings, and check out our group’s Irish collection! 😀
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2016.