Holidays are an exciting time for those of us in the food world, but the real treat is enjoying the holiday food. It means new and updated recipes, parties, gatherings, and something fun to look forward to.
St Patrick’s Day is one of my personal favorite holidays. I am Irish, not by a huge percentage but I celebrate the heritage I have. Most importantly, I truly adore Irish food. Bring on all the corned beef, cabbage, festive drinks and treats, and let’s not forget the most special of indulges – the Irish Car Bomb.
Yes, this is traditionally a beverage, but there has been an insurgence of dessert spin-offs the over the last several years. Why? Because the flavors work incredibly well in dessert form. Because let’s be honest, not everyone loves to take an actual car bomb.
Tell me you have had one, at least once in your life? If not, let me walk you through the basics. It consists of 3 parts.
- Can or bottle of Guinness Stout
- Half a shot of Baileys or another Irish cream
- Half a shot of Jameson or other Irish Whiskey
To prepare the beverage you will fill a pint glass about halfway with Guinness, add the Baileys to a single shot glass, layer the Whiskey on top of the Baileys, then drop the shot in the beer. Next, quickly cheers your friends (and I do mean quickly), then chug the entire mixture. There is a serious need to drink this fast. If you let the mixture sit for too long, it becomes, shall we say, less than appetizing.
Now, I realize this doesn’t exactly sound appealing. And yes, it does bring us all back to our college days. But seriously friends, as long as you drink it quickly, it tastes like a deliciously creamy milkshake. No joke! Those who enjoy this beverage once a year will agree with me, it is worth it.
Which is why we take these same elements and turn them into a sweeter, richer, dessert. Get it now? You will.
I began my car bomb dessert career making cupcakes. These are super popular, surely many of you have enjoyed these at some point in time. If you are a cupcake fan and have extra time on your hands, these Car Comb Cupcakes from Brown Eyed Baker are my all-time favorite. I have made these for years and they never disappoint.
But sometimes I want something different. Something that I can make in much less time, and is great for a crowd. As much as the frosting is a key component in any cupcake, it can be totally overwhelming. Not to mention insanely sweet.
So when I set out to create an alternative to the cupcakes, I wanted something with more of a chocolate focus. Something rich, cakey, and bursting with dark chocolate flavor. The whiskey ganache and Irish cream had to make an appearance somewhere, so we decided to make them into a drippable toppings and smother the cake with both.
I assure you the end product is still decadent and full of the flavors we love. And for those who aren’t big drinkers, this is a fun and festive take on the car bomb.
While this is far from a Paleo dessert, it is a great gift to bring to a party, or worth an indulgence for those who can manage it.
We have, however, included a gluten-free option for a slightly healthier spin. Hey, it’s St Patrick’s Day, and we tried.
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- 8 ounces 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate, if using bars cut into pieces or you can use chunks/chips
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1-2 tablespoons Irish Whiskey, to taste
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Large bundt pan
- Butter and cocoa for greasing pan
- ¾ cup Stout beer (Guinness is preferred but not the regular draught), or sub Root beer for gluten-free
- ¼ cup brewed dark roast coffee
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (Kerrygold preferred)
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups all-purpose or gluten-free flour
- 2 cups ultra fine/bakers sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup Baileys Irish Cream
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Heat chocolate and cream over a double boiler, stirring often until chocolate melts and the mixture is homogeneous. Alternatively, heat cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Watching the cream carefully to ensure it does not boil, heat just until bubbles begin to form around the edges. Pour heated cream over chocolate pieces and let sit for 1 minute, then stir to combine.
- Stir in Whiskey and salt to taste. Set ganache aside to cool to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and prep cake pan by greasing liberally with butter, then sprinkling with cocoa powder. Shake cocoa throughout pan then dump any excess. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat stout, coffee, and butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally until butter melts. Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
- In a separate large bowl or stand mixer, beat eggs and sour cream on medium until homogeneous, about 2 minutes.
- With the mixer on low, drizzle in cooled chocolate-beer mixture, beating until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add flour mixture in 3 small increments, beating on low until barely combined, then adding the next batch. Fold batter with a spatula to finish mixing, then pour into prepared pan. Do not over mix batter or your cake will be too stiff.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick poked in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Err on the side of under baking, you don't want a completely clean toothpick (aka an over baked cake).
- Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Add Baileys and sugar to a medium bowl, and whisk to combine.
- Once cake is completely cooled, run a flexible spatula around the edges, and invert onto a parchment lined sheet pan or platter.
- Warm the ganache in the microwave if needed, you want a consistency that allows you to drizzle. Using a small spoon, scoop up about a tablespoon of ganache and begin drizzling over the top of the cake. This isn't an exact science and doesn't need to look perfect, have fun with it. Just be sure and cover the entire cake. Set cake in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes while the ganache sets. Make your glaze while you wait.
- Once the ganache is set, remove cake and begin the same process with the baileys glaze. The cake can be set at room temperature for the glaze to set, or again returned to the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before slicing and serve with a side of Irish coffee or beer. Sláinte!
**To make this cake gluten free, sub the all-purpose flour with your favorite gluten-free blend, and use root beer in place of the Stout beer.
Recipe inspired by: Brown Eyed Baker Irish Car Comb Cupcakes
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