Irish Stout Cake with Irish Cream & Espresso Buttercream Frosting
When Cooking Light magazine briefly went out of business, they sent me Eating Well in its place. I frequently try recipes from both and like how they lighten up recipes and explain why they use the ingredients they recommend. The March issue of Eating Well, featuring an Irish Stout Cake topped with Irish Whiskey whipped cream, caught my attention.
Many chocolate cake recipes call for adding coffee to boost the flavor. This recipe uses stout, which, with its warming notes of caramel and roasted coffee flavors, also intensifies the chocolate flavor. Since this is an “Irish” cake, I used Guinness stout and Kerrygold Irish butter. I use Kerrygold for all my baking as it has a higher butterfat content for more flavor and texture.
(Tom’s comment: “Where’s the ‘light’ part of ‘cooking light’?”)
When measuring the Guinness, pour slooowly to avoid getting a big foam head. I measured the dark liquid portion of the stout and did not include the foam when measuring (see photo).Quick note on salt. Not all salts are created equal. I never use table salt anymore as the flakes are larger and I think it has a chemical taste. For baking, I use Baleine fine sea salt because it has smaller crystals which dissolve quicker (and because baker Dori Greenspan said to use this one). For everything else, I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt. My favorite finishing salt is Fleur de Sel from the Camargue. We tasted this on a trip to France eons ago, and it has been a favorite ever since.
While the Eating Well recipe called for a whipped cream topping, I decided to go all in with a buttercream frosting flavored with Irish Cream and espresso from Sally’s Baking Addiction (she has great recipes!). If you don’t have an espresso maker, combine a strong black coffee with espresso powder.
Use whichever Irish cream liqueur you have on hand. We happened to have Carolans because of the very pretty lady who was taste testing it at the liquor store on the day Tom went shopping.
(Fun fact from The Delish: The name Carolans is inspired by Turlough O’Carolan, a blind Celtic harper, composer, and singer from the 17th century.)
When I first tasted the frosting, I thought it was too sweet for the cake … but I was WRONG. The Irish cream and espresso flavors meld perfectly and enhance the chocolateyness (is that a word?) of the cake. Not to mention, this could be the lightest, fluffiest frosting I have made. Wow!
My taste tester (thanks Susan!), thought the cake could use more frosting and we agreed that it definitely needed the frosting to make the cake shine. The recipe makes plenty of frosting so you can frost the sides or, if you prefer your frosting with cake (LOL), split the cake in half and add a layer of frosting in the middle.
This scrumptious dark chocolate cake is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or a spring get together of your chocolate loving friends!
Irish Stout Cake:
1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
1 ¼ cups Guinness Irish Stout (don’t include the foam when measuring)
4 oz. (1/2 stick) unsalted Irish-style butter, melted
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Irish Cream and Espresso Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz. (1 stick) unsalted Irish-style butter, softened to room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons Irish Cream liqueur
1 ½ tablespoons espresso, room temperature
[OR ½ teaspoon espresso power combined with 1 ½ tablespoons strong black coffee, cooled to room temperature]
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Coat a 9-inch-square or round baking pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment and lightly spray with cooking spray. If using a square pan, allow the parchment paper to overhang by 2-inches on each side to use as handles to remove the cake from the pan.
In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together (flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt). In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients (eggs, stout, butter, oil and vanilla). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just smooth and combined (do not over-mix).
Bake the cake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean (30 minutes in my oven). Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
With a hand held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, salt, Irish cream and espresso (or coffee mixture if using that instead). Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium-high speed and beat for a full 2 minutes.
If the frosting is too thin, add up to ½ cup more confectioners’ sugar. If the frosting is too thick, add another tablespoon of Irish cream.
Cake recipe very lightly adapted from Eating Well
Baileys Coffee Buttercream Frosting recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Need more delicious St. Patrick Day’s recipes? Check out our
Guinness Chocolate Pudding with Irish Whiskey Whipped Cream and Irish Coffee from the Buena Vista in San Francisco