Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Double Feature

This past weekend I was finally able to "grow-up" in a sense, I hosted my first dinner party. Albeit, it was held in my moving box laden apartment, with all of us eating on our laps in my living room, but whatever works. My friends and I had planned a traditional, pot-luck style Irish feast in celebration of St. Patrick's Day weekend. After researching Irish food I stumbled upon a recipe for Irish Soda Bread, this happens to be on my baking bucket list, so it was added to the menu without question. Let me just say, I have made homemade bread before and this was a whole new experience. It was dense and crumbly, and I was warned in the recipe to not knead it too much, or else it would be tough when baked. I was going to include a picture of the bread, and although it tasted delicious, it was not terribly pretty when it came out of the oven. What was beautiful was my Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting, at least it was the second time I made it. The oven in my rental and I have never been on good terms, it doesn't maintain temperature and takes great pleasure in burning my masterpieces. After attempting to salvage my first cake, which was a burnt mess, I raced to the nearest 24 hour market and bought all the same ingredients for round two. This time I was prepared, I sat in front of the oven with all my windows open and the oven door cracked so I could babysit my cake. It came out beautifully, and the end result was one I could finally be proud of. The dinner party was a huge success with all of us stuffed with great food, and green beer by the end of the night. Now I just need another holiday as an excuse to throw a fabulous dinner party...

Irish Soda Bread

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus two more tbsp. melted for the crust
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and be sure the rack is in the upper-middle position for optimal baking. Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl. Now, here comes the messy part, work the softened butter into the flour mixture with your fingers, until it forms coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until it starts to come together. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead about 12 - 14 turns, it will still look 'unfinished' but that is what gives it the rustic Irish charm! Pat it into a round about 6 inches across and 2 inches high, place in a greased parchment-lined baking dish. Be sure and score the top of the loaf with a cross pattern before you bake it. According to Irish legend it allows the fairies to escape the loaf. Bake for approximately 40 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Brush the top of the loaf with the melted butter and serve at room temperature.

Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting

For the Cake -
  • 1 1/2 cups dark stout beer, such as Guinness
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
For the Frosting -
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 7 tbsp. Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 5 - 6 cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two cake pans and line them with parchment paper, trust me it will work wonders for the layering. Melt the beer and butter together over medium heat and whisk in the cocoa, ensuring a smooth texture. Allow it to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and sour cream together until smooth, in small batches alternately add the flour mixture and the cooled cocoa mixture to the eggs and sour cream. The batter will be very thick and dense, but don't worry, it will make for a very rich cake. Divide it amongst the two cake pans and bake for 30 - 35 minutes. While your cakes bake, in a more trustworthy oven than my own, you can whip up the easy and delectable frosting. Blend the cream cheese, butter, and Bailey's together until smooth and add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. If it still looks too thick for spreading, carefully add a tsp. of milk until it appears more your style. Layer the cakes on top of one another and be sure not to skimp of the frosting in between. You should have enough left to cover the sides and top of the cake as well as have a bit left over for decorations if you desire. I went for a more rustic look and topped mine with green and chocolate sprinkles.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment