Alrighty! Here we are at day 2 of my annual St. Patrick’s Day recipe blog-a-thon. And I’ve got a great recipe to share with you today – Irish Whiskey Cake! This moist and flavorful, boozy spice cake is shot through with pecans and enveloped in a warm buttery whiskey glaze.
All you Irish Whiskey lovers – this one is for you! We’ve got whiskey in the cake and on the cake! Hooray! And this cake is super-dooper easy to make. I almost feel like I’m cheating somehow. But here is the secret – you just go buy a box cake mix and then doctor it up a bit. The results are just wonderful whiskey perfection!
Now the original recipe called for applying the whiskey butter glaze over three days. I have found that you can achieve pretty much the same taste by applying the glaze over three hours instead. You just want all that buttery whiskey goodness to be able to soak into the cake. I think you can do that over a few hours vs. days. I do also poke some holes in the cake to facilitate maximum whiskey absorption.
Did I just say “maximum whiskey absorption”? Yup, sounds about right for St. Patrick’s Day Festivities! This delicious Irish Whiskey Cake will serve a crowd. So there you are, sorted for the St Patrick’s Day potluck!
Irish Whiskey Cake
Servings: 16 slices
Difficulty: easy - but allow 3 hours for whiskey glaze to soak in
1-1/3 cups coarsely chopped walnuts, divided (I used pecans instead)
For the whiskey glaze:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup Irish whiskey
1 teaspoon water
Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease and flour a 10-in. tube pan or bundt pan.
Place all of the ingredients, with the exception of the nuts in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for2 minutes. Fold in 1 cup the nuts, reserving 1/3 cup for later. If you are using a bundt pan, sprinkle remaining nuts in the bottom of the prepared pan and then add the batter. If you are using a bundt pan, sprinkle the nuts over top of the batter once you have added it to the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 60-65 minutes. Cool in pan.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Cool 3 minutes.
Take a wooden skewer, toothpick or swizzle stick and poke a scattering of holes in the cake. Pour one-third of glaze over top of cake, allowing some to flow over sides down into the pan. Let stand 1 hour. Remove from pan. Reheat the glaze if you need to and brush another third over the cake. Wait one additional hour and then brush the remaining glaze over the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely and then cover.
Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Whiskey Cake:
So wow! Just look at this amazing layered treat! What we’ve got here is Vínarterta, which translates from Icelandic to “Vienna Cake”. This cake boasts multiple thin layers of cardamom flavored shortbread alternating with spiced dried plum jam and is topped with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.
I’m going to not only share this wonderful recipe with you today, but also continue to tell you all about that trip to the South Coast of Iceland that the Husband and I took with our parents back in September 2018. I told you all about visiting the Golden Circle, Seljalandfoss, Skogafoss, Dyrholaey & Vik as well as our stay at the luxurious Hótel Rangá in my previous post. Today I’ll tell you all about the big adventure we had on day four of our holiday. And I’m also delighted to tell you all about one of our absolute favorite places to stay while exploring the South Coast – The Garage Studio Apartments.
Gorgeous spot huh? But let me tell you about our adventure first. So what was our big adventure? We went on a private Super Jeep day tour of Þórsmörk with Midgard Adventures. Þórsmörk which translates to Thor’s Valley is a stunning nature reserve located in the Southern Highlands of Iceland between the mountain glaciers of Tindfjallajökull, the world famous Eyjafjallajökull, and Mýrdalsjökull. This lush valley has so much to offer – dramatic volcanic landscapes,
breathtaking mountain views,
lush valley scenery
and amazing hiking opportunities.
The Husband and I had visited it twice before and knew Þórsmörk is not to be missed. We really wanted the parents to be able to experience it. The thing is though, in order to enter Þórsmörk, you really must have a 4X4 vehicle as you will need to go onto the “F” roads and make several river crossings. And those “F roads” (not sure what the “F” stands for in F roads, but after having been on them, I can think of a possibility…) in the reserve are pretty rough. To be honest, even if you have rented a 4X4 vehicle, you really need to be experienced with this type of driving. And I should also mention that most rental car insurance will not cover you driving through rivers. River crossings can be quite tricky, so if you make a mistake and end up in too deep of a section the river, thus damaging your vehicle in the process, you could potentially be liable to your rental company for thousands of dollars.
This poor bus required the aid of a tractor once it became stuck trying to cross the river.
Besides the financial burden, folks have actually died trying to cross these potentially dangerous rivers. The solution here is to hire a knowledgeable, experienced local guide. We whole heartedly recommend Midgard Adventures.
The Husband and I have been out on adventures with Midgard previously. In 2012 we went out with them in December to experience the winter wonderland of Þórsmörk.
We were back with them in December 2013 on a private tour of Jökulsárlón.
Each time our adventure with them has been one of the highlights of our trip! And they didn’t let us down this time. The itinerary that they came up with for the Parent’s Day Tour was perfect. Not only did our charming and knowledgeable Midgard guide expertly navigate Þórsmörk, but he also took us to visit a nearby black sand beach
as well as a couple of stunning, lesser known waterfalls.
The parents were thrilled with the experience of crossing rivers, rough volcanic terrain and black sand beaches in the Super Jeep. And our guide knew how much the Husband and I enjoyed hiking, so he had planned ahead and dropped us off for a small hike over a mountain while he drove our parents around for some sightseeing and then met up with us on the other side. A win for everyone!
What an absolutely superb day. Everyone enjoyed themselves immensely! Take a look at this video for all of the river crossings, gorgeous scenery, hiking, blueberry picking and other live action!
After such an exciting day, we were so happy to come back to one of our absolute favorite places to stay on the South Coast – The Garage Studio Apartments. The Husband and I had stayed there previously in 2017 and we were so glad to be back! These lovely modern rustic apartments have been crafted from a former old garage that is located on a family farm belonging to Anna & Siggi. This picturesque homestead is nestled right up to the foot of the mountain topped by the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, under which the famous air traffic interrupting volcano resides.
Siggi’s family has been living on this land for over 200 years. Now Anna & Siggi are operating a “gentleman’s farm” on the site as well as managing several apartments. Located exactly between the two famous waterfalls Skógafoss and Seljalandfoss, these exceptional apartments are the perfect central location for taking in all the South Coast of Iceland has to offer. The setting is nothing less than magical.
You are surrounded by the most idyllic scenery – green hills, a private waterfall, a view overlooking the ocean, fields full of Icelandic horses and sheep,
chickens, a dog (Felix) who never tires of playing fetch
and a cat, who wouldn’t reveal their name, but was friendly nevertheless,Anna was also such an amazing host, so friendly, warm and welcoming. Her spacious apartments are stylishly decorated, sparklingly clean and filled with thoughtful little touches. And as if all of that was not enough, she served us scrumptious freshly home-baked desserts every day! Hospitality like this is hard to find!
And the Northern Lights even decided to put on a bit of a show for us to make our stay at the Garage even more delightful.
Want to see more of the Garage as well as those Northern Lights? Take a peek at this video:
But let me get back to telling you about this Vínarterta – today’s featured recipe.
Although the name translates to Vienna Cake, it likely did not arrive in Iceland straight from Vienna, but rather came by way of Denmark. This grand looking cake was often served on special occasions, such as Christmas. One of the wonderful things about this cake is not only is it delicious, but it also gets better with age. So you can make this up days and days before you actually plan to serve it. You just keep it wrapped in foil stored in a cool place.
This cake reached the height of its popularity in the late 19th to early 20th century. Back in the day, the thin layers of this cake could be easily baked in the more primitive ovens of the time or even on the stove top. And when some Icelanders emigrated to parts of Canada and the Northern United States, they brought this recipe with them. Though now a days, it is slightly different in some ways from the original, such as in North America you will often find versions with more layers and with a frosting on top. They have for the most part stayed true to the filling, whereas in present day Iceland, you are likely to find other types of filling such as rhubarb or strawberry jams.
I baked this Vínartera using Hartshorn or Baker’s Ammonia (Ammonium Carbonate) for the leavener. You will encounter this ingredient in many older, traditional Scandinavian cookie recipes. You can substitute baking powder for it, though the cookie will not have the same crispy texture that it will get from using Hartshorn. I gotta tell you though, man is that ammonia smell strong! It is thankfully completely gone once the cookies/cake is baked, but let me just say, you will not be tempted to nibble the batter before it goes in the oven!
The original recipe did not call for any Vodka whatsoever, but I liked the idea of a celebration cake being just a bit boozy. And I do know that good Vodka doesn’t really have much of a taste. But somehow it just makes me feel better knowing that it is there. I splurged and added a few glugs of Reyka Vodka to thin my jam just a bit as well as soak the prunes. You can virtuously soak the prunes in plain water if you are a teetotaler.
Oh, and I guess that brings me to the dreaded “P” word. You might have noticed that I don’t call it “spiced prune filling”. No. No prunes are in this treat. Just some dried plums. I don’t know why folks freak out when they hear prune, but they do. So yeah. Spiced dried plums are what is in this scrumptious Vínarterta – and believe me you are going to love it!
confectioner’s sugar (for sprinkling over the top – optional)
Prepare the filling:
The night before you plan to make the filling, place the pitted prunes in a bowl and cover with vodka or warm water. Leave them to plump up overnight. (optional)
Place the prunes, sugar and spices in a saucepan and add 1 cup of water. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until it comes to a boil. Continue to cook until the prunes are soft and the syrup has thickened, about 20 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly. Place it into the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.
If you would like to thin the jam a bit as well as add a bit of “cheer” to it, add a glug or two of vodka and stir to combine. (optional)
Prepare the shortbread:
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baker’s ammonia and cardamom.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Add the flour mixture and the milk and continue to mix until a smooth dough forms. The dough should be soft and just shy of sticky. Shape the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Divide the dough into five equal parts. On a floured work surface, roll each part out into a thin disc about 9″ in diameter. Arrange the circles on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 12 minutes, or until they are just beginning to brown at the edges.
While the layers are still warm, sandwich them with the spiced dried plum filling, leaving the top of the top layer of the cake bare.
Allow cake to cool completely and then wrap in foil. The cake will keep for weeks in a cool place and will improve with age.
Sprinkle top of cake with confectioner’s sugar just prior to serving.
Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Vínarterta:
Covid-19 Information: Please make sure you familiarize yourself with all of the Icelandic Government’s travel requirements BEFORE you head out. All of the official information can be found here.
I Heart Reykjavik– An invaluable resource for all things Iceland! I Heart Reykjavik is a small, family run company that offers you personalized service. Planning a holiday can certainly be stressful which has become even more so with rapidly changing safety requirements due to Covid 19. I Heart Reykjavik is keeping up to date with all of the government guidelines and can provide guidance here. Additionally, they can help you plan a fantastic vacation to Iceland in a couple of ways. You can browse and book tours directly on their website. The advantage here is that I Heart Reykjavik has vetted all of the companies on their carefully curated list. Often they have even gone out on the tours and you can read a review of their experience on their blog. Their recommendations can save you a ton of time pouring over tours and reviews online and let you know which company you can best trust with your money . Another advantage is that if you book all of your tours through them and then a unforeseen change due to the weather or some sort of thing, I Heart Reykjavik can suggest changes to your itinerary and assist you with rebooking. And speaking of itineraries, if you are the type of person who likes to plan out everything yourself, I Heart Reykjavik can still be of assistance. They offer an Itinerary Review service, where they can take a look at your upcoming plans and make sure everything makes sense – such as if you have allowed enough travel time. They can give you feedback concerning accommodation and alert you if there is a must see in the area you are visiting which has not found it’s way into your plans. They are truly an invaluable resource!
Getting There: Icelandair! We love Icelandair and have always had great experience with them. Take advantage of their Stopover program on your next flight to Europe.
Car Rental: Blue Car Rental: We ALWAYS rent our car from Blue Car Rental. Friendly Icelandic company, well maintained, newer, quality vehicles – they’ve never let us down and at this point we have rented from them on six different visits and have had excellent experiences every time. The price they quote on their website has all of the insurance included so there are no surprizes when you show up at their rental desk. Highly recommend!
Accommodation: The Garage – Studio Apartments – One of our favorite places to stay in Iceland! Located on the South Coast of Iceland, between Seljalandfoss & Skógafoss waterfalls. This picturesque homestead is nestled right up to the foot of the mountain topped by the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, under which the famous air traffic interrupting volcano resides. These lovely modern rustic apartments were originally built from a former old garage that is located on a family farm belonging to Anna & Siggi. Since they built the original apartments, they have expanded and built a few more in a previous cow shed and most recently have remodeled a Haytower. These cozy apartments are studios, some of which are standard and some slightly bigger with a pull out sofa bed to accommodate extra guests. The Haytower is the biggest unit and is a full one bedroom apartment. You can book with The Garage here.(booking.com)
Midgard Adventure: I highly recommend you book a tour with Midgard. Midgard is a local family run business located in Hvolsvöllur. They offer single day and multiday tours which can be either private and shared. The shared tours are always with a small group. No massive bus tours here, just thoughtful personal service.They are skilled at helping you plan your whole itinerary as well should you desire and being locals they have first hand knowledge of the area as well as the hidden gems off the beaten path. As I have mentioned we have enjoyed four different tours with them, and on each occasion it has ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. Consistent excellence is hard to find! They are a pleasure to deal with from the first email until your action packed day has come to an end. Everyone I have ever met there is friendly, helpful and professional. And I should mention that Midgard now has a Basecamp. They can offer both hotel as well as hostel style accommodation in their beautiful facility which also boasts a restaurant, bar, and roof top hot tub and sauna. The Husband and I haven’t had the pleasure of staying with them yet, but we did grab a delicious breakfast in their restaurant before heading out for our adventure. We are planning a Highlands Adventure, which we will of course be booking with Midgard, so we will let you know!
Gamla Fjósið (The Old Cow House) – Located just off of Route 1, about 2 km away from the Garage Apartments. Cozy family run restaurant featuring delicious comfort food prepared with locally sourced (often from their own farm) fresh ingredients. Delicious homemade bread, jams and ice cream.
Midgard Basecamp – The Restaurant at Midgard Basecamp has it all! Serving food based on their Icelandic heritage, they offer everything from pasture raised lamb, to fresh caught fish, to juicy burgers. And if you are a vegetarian or vegan there are plenty of delicious offerings to choose from as well. Check out their wonderful Breakfast Buffet and come back in the evening for a great dinner. They also carry a good selection of the locally crafted brews.
The Reykjavik Grapevine: A witty English language Icelandic magazine. Great read whether or not you’re planning a visit! And if you are planning a visit make sure to check out their annual “Best of” edition where they give you a curated list of the best of everything to be found in the country!
Icelandic Meteorologic Office – Great for checking the weather before you go and essential while you are visiting – especially if you are visiting in the Winter! They also have an app you can have on your phone which I definitely recommend. The weather in Iceland can change suddenly. Be prepared!
Did someone say Chocolate & Peanut Butter? Cuz those are without a doubt two of my favorites! Even better – those two delicious words were followed by Icebox? I’m in! Today I am sharing this glorious recipe for a Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake with you.
Now I’m sure you already can tell that this confection is going to be amazing just by looking at the ingredients – chocolate, peanut butter, cream cheese, heavy cream and crispy chocolate wafers. I probably don’t even need to say another word.
However, I would be remiss if I did not point out some other aspects of this recipe which make it so magnificent. Foremost in my mind is that you can prepare this tasty treat without ever having to turn on your oven! It is supposed to reach 95 degrees F today (35 C)! Needless to say, I am not at all happy. Swampy old Virginia summer has indeed arrived. I do not want to be stuck in the hot kitchen with the oven on for even one second. This Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake is perfect in that sense.
Also it is not only easy to make, but also can be made ahead of time. Yup – an icebox cake keeps very well in the icebox. And while it’s chilling in there, those Chocolate Wafers are becoming soft and wonderfully spongy. It is as if you baked the thinest cake layers. But the good news is that you had to do nothing of the sort.
Once you are ready to dig into the cake, simply turn it out of the pan onto a serving tray and decorate it with a dusting of cocoa powder and some peanuts. This Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake is a perfect summer indulgence. Folks will be delighted!
113 grams (4 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
260 grams (1 cup)smooth peanut butter (I use Skippy All Natural, No Need To Stir)
120 grams (1 cup)confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoonsvanilla extract
480 grams (2 cups)cold heavy cream
50Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, from one box (see note)
Cocoa powder, for dusting
35 grams (1/4 cup)unsalted dry roasted peanuts
Line a 23×12.5-cm (9″X5″) loaf pan with two pieces of overlapping plastic wrap, allowing the excess to hang over the edges of the pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Do not over-whip. Set aside.
In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt together until smooth.
Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the peanut butter mixture and beat with the mixer until smooth. Add the remaining whipped cream and fold with a rubber spatula, turning the bowl as you go, until the mixture is evenly combined and uniform in color and texture.
Spoon about two-thirds of the cream into the prepared pan. Starting at a short side of the pan, arrange 12 cookies in the cream, standing them on their edge in a row. Do the same with a second row of cookies, slightly overlapping the cookies from the first row. Continue with two more rows for a total of four rows. Save the last two cookies for the topping.
Cover the cookies with the remaining cream. Smooth the cream with a spatula, gently pressing to make sure any gaps between the cookies are filled.
Cover the cake with the excess plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 48 hours. When ready to serve, peel the plastic wrap from the top. Set a platter on top of the pan and invert the cake onto it. Lift the pan off and gently peel away the plastic wrap. Use a warm offset spatula to smooth the edges, if desired. Dust the cake lightly with cocoa powder through a fine sieve. Crush the remaining wafers and scatter the peanuts over top, pressing down on them slightly so they adhere. Slice with a sharp knife and serve cold.
Note: You might consider buying two boxes of chocolate wafers, as they tend to break easily. But don’t worry if you have to use the broken ones; just try to piece them together as best you can when you place them in the cream.
Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake:
Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers – Here is a link which will show you what the chocolate wafer cookies look like. I think you should be able to find them in your local grocery, either with the cookies or with ice cream fixings. This amazon price seems a bit high to me, so definitely take a look in your local store if you can.
Once Upon a Chef, the Cookbook by Jennifer Segal – You will not find the recipe for the Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake in this cookbook, but will find a bunch of other awesome tasty recipes. I love this cookbook, as well as the Once Upon a Chef blog. All of Jennifer’s recipes are easy to make and absolutely delicious!
Valhrona French Chocolate Pearls – This is what I used to decorate the top of the cake. It is a crispy bit of cereal coated in dark chocolate. This link if for a much, much bigger bag than you would need for just this dessert, but I wanted to let you know what I had used.
Today is May 1st or May Day as it is known. Now when I say “May Day”, I am not referring to the more modern, political International Worker’s Day type thing. Or the distress call – though given the state of the world currently, I can understand why you might have thought I was calling for help. No, I am talking about the ancient festival of Spring that is/was celebrated throughout many countries. For my part, I’m going to celebrate with this Beltaine Spiced Honey Cake.
You might be familiar with May Day celebrations held in England. There, a May Queen is crowned and you will likely see Morris Dancers and folks dancing around a Maypole. Today I am looking back in time to Irish traditions.
In Ireland the day is known as Lá Beltaine, which roughly means “the day of the fires of Bel” – Bel being a Celtic God. Halfway between the Spring and the Summer solstice, Beltaine celebrates the arrival of summer and the fertility of the coming year. Yellow flowers such as primrose, rowan, hawthorn, gorse , hazel and marsh marigolds were placed at windows and over doorways. A Maybush, often a hawthorn tree, was decorated with flowers, ribbon and bright shells and sacred wells were visited to pray for health.
Photo from Facebook Page May Day – Bealtaine
This was also the time in Ireland, back in the day, when cattle were driven to their summer pastures. And quite significantly it was believed that the veil between our world and the world unseen was very thin. It was more likely that you might encounter fairies or other supernatural beings out and about at this time. That notion made folks very nervous. So lots of the Beltaine traditions were done to protect oneself, livestock and crops from any mischief or ill will. Bonfires were lit throughout the country. It was believed that flames, smoke and ashes have protective properties. Livestock were driven between the fires and people walked between them as well, Indeed they sometimes even leap over them. All fires in the house were extinguished and then relit from the communal Beltaine bonfire.
The festival was associated with fertility, not only of the land, but also the people. Just think about that Maypole…yup, symbol of fertility. In order to have a more youthful and beautiful complexion, women would wash their face in dew, preferably gathered from beneath a hawthorn tree at dawn on May 1st. I have been trying to do this for years here in Virginia, but I don’t have a hawthorn tree. I have a crab apple, which is in the hawthorn family, so that is my go to. Unfortunately, I’m not really an early riser, so the dew is almost nearly all burned off by the time I schlep on out of the house. Furthermore, I’m often quite suspicious of any wetness I do find under the tree. Anybody out there have any idea what washing your face in fox or cat urine accomplishes? But I digress…
Maybe I should make the effort to get out of bed earlier this year…
Interestingly enough, I had originally considered doing a recipe for little fried honey cakes. I found an article online (so you know it had to be true…) that said they were made for Beltaine and left out as a gift for the fairies the night before. I really did not want to fry any dough, since that would not only use up all my oil (pandemic quarantine concerns….) but would also make my house smell like a chipper. So I reached out to some friends in Ireland to ask if they knew of any traditional Beltaine recipes. They did not, but were horrified to hear that anyone would consider leaving treats out for the fairies. As far as they are concerned, doing anything whatsoever to draw any sort of attention from the fairies was to say, at the very least, quite foolish. Having recently read The Call by Peadar O’Guilin (creepy and somewhat terrifying, Hunger Games-esque modern Irish fairy story – have you read it? You should!) I can definitely see the wisdom in that line of thought!
So I arrived on the idea of baking, not frying, a honey cake. Honey has long been associated with Beltaine. Not surprising since it is considered to have aphrodisiac qualities and is often associated with fertility. So I figured a honey cake would be a great match for the holiday.
Truth be told, this recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. Deb calls it the Majestic & Moist Honey Cake and she baked it for Rosh Hashannah – Jewish New Year. In Jewish tradition, honey symbolizes excitement for a sweet New Year. Hey given what 2020 has dished out so far, a “Sweet New Year” sounds really good right about now! Can we just hit reset and have a do over sans deadly pandemic?
This Beltaine Spiced Honey Cake is quite tasty., filled with spices and incredibly moist with crispy chewy delicious caramelized crust. I used Irish Whiskey in the mix for my Beltaine nod to Ireland. This recipe does make quite a lot of cake. Although I baked it in cutesy little beehive pans, you should probably consider doing a big ole bundt! Happy Beltaine ya’ll!
1/4 cup (60 ml) Irish whiskey (I think Jack Daniels would work well too)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray. For tube or angel food pans, line the bottom with lightly greased parchment paper, cut to fit.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee or tea, orange juice and rye or whiskey, if using. (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.)
Mix on slow speed, stir together well to make a thick, well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom.
Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top).
Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake center. For angel and tube cake pans, this will take 60 to 75 minutes, loaf cakes, about 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet style cakes, baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.
Let cake stand fifteen minutes before removing from pan.
Beltaine Spiced Honey Cake brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Beltaine Spiced Honey Cake:
Nordic Ware Bee Hive Cakelet Pan – This is the pan I used for the cakes in my pictures. However, this pan only makes 6 cakes at a time and they are pretty small. With the amount of batter this recipe makes you will be baking these for hours with just the one pan! You might also want to use a bundt pan or 9″x13″ pan in addition to this pan.
The Call by Peadar O’Guilin – creepy modern day Irish fairy store I mentioned above. Technically you do not need this to make the Beltaine Spiced Honey Cake, but it really is a good read if you like scary fairy stories, Hunger Game, Game of Thrones type things.
Happy Valentine’s Day! This year I made my Valentine this gorgeous light & airy sponge cake which is layered with cranberry curd and frosted with a delicate whipped cream. The Husband (who also happens to be my Valentine… come on! You know that isn’t always the case with all married folks out there….) generally doesn’t like any chocolatey super sweet sugar bombs that seem to be all the rage for this holiday. Which is totally unlike me. That is exactly what I would want. Truth be told…in a the shape of a cupcake if all were going my way. Just saying…He, on the other hand, prefers fruit forward desserts such as this lovely Cashew Crusted Blackberry & Lime Tart:
You see…being a good wife, I make him thing that I know he will enjoy the most. I do not bake cupcakes for him on Valentine’s Day…generally that is. You see one year I did manage to get away with it. He loves a good Gin & Tonic so I made him Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes:
Pretty sly huh? This year I decided on this cake because of that Cranberry Curd. He does love cranberries. He raves about my Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce which shows up at Thanksgiving every year.
And was thrilled when I took some of that leftover Cranberry Sauce and made the cranberry butter to go on these Popovers:
So I figured this cake was a pretty good bet. And luckily I was right!
The sponge, being full of whipped egg whites, had a very delicate crumb and was light and fluffy. The cranberry curd was amazing – buttery and velvety with just the perfect amount of tartness to balance the sweet.
The one piece of advice I would give, having made the cake, is that if I were to make it again, I would forego slicing the cakes in half to make four layers. I would simply spread about 1/2 cup of the curd between the two layers of cake and be done with it. The cake is wonderfully delicate and the curd very heavy. I am not very good at splitting cake layers in half and I think the thinner delicate cake layers had a hard time holding up to the heavy curd. Not to mention, I wouldn’t mind having a bit of that curd left over to spread over toast and scones. Just saying… If you are great with splitting cake layers in half and want that impressive four layer appearance – proceed with the recipe as noted. However, if you might be a bit more like me….well….. you know what I’m saying!
This cake would look great on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table as well, when fresh cranberries are plentiful. But believe me, it would be welcome by all year round. I must say, both the Husband and myself were well pleased with it! Happy Valentines Day!
Sponge Cake with Cranberry Curd
Servings: one 8
Difficulty: easy - but several steps - perhaps make over a couple of days
3 cups (298g/ 10 1/2 oz) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup (198g/7 oz) granulated sugar
juice and grated rind (zest) of 1 orange
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 small sprig fresh rosemary, optional
6 tablespoons (85g/3 oz) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
For the Cake:
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 cup (198g/ 7 oz.) superfine sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (120g/4 1/4 oz) unbleached cake flour
For the Whipped Cream Frosting:
2 cups (454 g/16 oz.) heavy cream
1/4 cup (28g/1 oz) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Sugared Cranberries:
3/4 cup (149g/5 1/4) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (113g/4 oz) water
1/2 cup (50g/1 3/4 oz.) fresh or frozen cranberries
superfine sugar, for rolling
To make the curd: Place the cranberries, sugar, orange juice and zest, salt, and rosemary (if using) in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries pop and start to break down, abut 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, remove and discard the rosemary sprig, and purée with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Strain the purée into a clean medium saucepan.
Whisk in the butter, eggs, and egg yolks. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Remove the curd from the heat and transfer it to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap that touches the surface, and refrigerate until cold.
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease your choice of two 8″ (at least 2″ deep) or 9″ round pans. Line the bottoms with parchment, then butter and flour the parchment.
Combine the egg yolks and 3/4 cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed until the mixture becomes pale and thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
In a clean bowl with a clean whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating on medium-high speed until the whites are stiff and glossy, about 2 minutes. Fold the yolk mixture, one third at a time, into the whites.
Sift the flour over the mixture and fold gently until incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges just begin to pull away from the pan and the center springs back when lightly touched.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in the pans on a rack for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes turn the layers out of the pans, peel off the paper, and return to the rack to finish cooling right side up.
To make the whipped cream: In a large mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream with the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
To make the sugared cranberries: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, cooking until the sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries and return to a boil; simmer for 1 minute.
Remove from the heat and, with a slotted spoon, take the cranberries out of the syrup and roll them in superfine (Baker’s Special) sugar until coated. Place on a rack to dry.
To assemble: Split the cake layers horizontally (see my comments above… basically I would go with a simple two layer cake, spreading 1/2 cup of the curd between the layers and reserving the rest for scones or toast) and place half of one on a serving plate. Spread with 1/2 cup cranberry curd.
Place the other half of the layer on top and spread with another 1/2 cup of curd. Repeat with half of the second layer. Top with the remaining curd and cake, then frost the top and sides with whipped cream. Garnish with the sugared cranberries. (optional)
Store the cake, covered in the refrigerator, for up to four days. Freeze for longer storage.
Sponge Cake with Cranberry Curd brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Sponge Cake with Cranberry Curd:
So I gotta ask….are there any Nutella fans out there? Cause let me tell you I love me some Nutella! I actually didn’t even know it existed until I was living in Ireland and my friend Theresa had a jar. I watched with amazement as she spread it over her toast. I was like “What! You can eat chocolate on toast!” I had no idea it was a thing. Yup, love at first bite. And Biscoff? Well I first encountered those little Biscoff cookies when an air host handed me a packet for a snack when I was on a flight. I loved them. At first I thought maybe it was just because I didn’t have very high expectations for any snack given out on a flight, but then they magically appeared in grocery stores and I found that I also enjoyed them when I wasn’t a captive audience, shoehorned into a tiny uncomfortable little seat.
When I found out that there was a cookie butter version that I could spread on toast, I cannot tell you how excited I was! This amazing treat that I’m going to tell you about today features both Nutella and Biscoff – both the cookies and the cookie butter AND it is not only malted but it is also salted!!! GET. OUT!!! So without further ado (insert drum roll here) – I present the magnificent Malted Nutella & Biscoff Brownie Torte! Just look at this big boy!
This treat has got it all going on – Three – that’s right I said THREE – layers of oooey, gooey chocolatey brownies interspersed with malted Nutella & Biscoff-y goodness, all frosted with salted Biscoff frosting, further adorned with malted milk balls
and Biscoff cookie crumbs
and finally lightly sprinkled with Maldon sea salt flakes. Are you drooling yet? You should be!
It is not by chance that I’m blogging a recipe which features Nutella today. Today February 5th is World Nutella Day. This celebration of all things Nutella was started in 2007 by Sara at Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle at Bleeding Espresso as a day to celebrate, get creative with and most importantly, to EAT Nutella.
A couple of years ago, the founders have transferred Nutella Day to Ferrero the companywho owns that most beloved spread. Take a peek at their Facebook page and see how folks are celebrating the day! I love Nutella so I usually try to participate with a Nutella laden recipe every year. One of my favorite Nutella creations was this Nutella, Double Chocolate & Banana Tart which was quite stunning if I do say so myself.
I was still loving the salty / sweet thing when I blogged about Salted & Malted Nutella Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies feature silky, decadent Nutella, creamy caramel, nostalgic malted goodness and rich chocolate chips, all rolled up together in a crunchy chewy salted cookie.
Yeah quite obviously I have a malted, as well as a sweet salty flavor obsession. So it is easy to see why I chose this year’s Nutella Day offering: Malted Nutella & Biscoff Brownie Torte. This is undeniably one impressive looking cake!
Needless to say, this decadent treat is truly rich. So slice it thinly and serve with whipped cream and maybe a tall glass of milk. There will be enough to feed an army I tell you!
Although there are several steps, this amazing creation comes together quite easily. You can make up the various components over several days and then put them all together rather quickly right before whatever gathering at which you hoping to amaze folks with your baking prowess. So what are you waiting for? Step one – eat some Nutella. Step two – eat even more Nutella while making this jaw-dropping indulgence! And have a Happy Nutella Day!
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and chocolate; stir until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla, flour, salt and baking soda.
Pour into three greased and floured 9-inch (or 8″) round baking pans. Bake for 23-25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans; remove from pans to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap or store in air-tight containers until needed.
For the Malted Nutella & Biscoff Layers:
Line two round 9-inch (or 8″) pans with plastic wrap (the same ones used to make the brownie layers, if possible).
Biscoff Layer: Mix together 3 cups of the powdered sugar, 1 cup Biscoff and 4 tablespoons melted butter in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mixture will be crumbly. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes consistent workable dough. It should not be crumbly or stick to your fingers. The mixture should hold together easily when a small amount is squeezed tight in the palm of your hand. Press the dough evenly into one of the lined pans. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
Malted Nutella Layer: Mix together 1 cup Nutella, malted milk and remaining 4 tablespoons melted butter in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar slowly. About 1/4 cup at a time, mixing until each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Mixture will be crumbly. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes consistent workable dough. It should not be crumbly or stick to your fingers. The mixture should hold together easily when a small amount is squeezed tight in the palm of your hand. Press the dough evenly into the remaining lined pan. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
For the Salted Biscoff Frosting: Combine the butter and Biscoff in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar slowly, about 1/4 cup at a time, mixing until each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Add cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is thick and fluffy; add the salt and whip again. Scrape down the bowl and beat for 2 minutes longer, or until the salt is well dispersed throughout the batter.
For the Nutella Frosting: Beat the butter and Nutella in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar slowly – no more than 1/4 cup at a time, mixing until it is incorporated before adding the next 1/4 cup. Add cream 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed. Transfer the frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large closed star piping tip.
For the Assembly: Place a brownie layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Turn out the Nutella candy layer on top of the brownie; top with another brownie layer. Turn out the Biscoff layer onto the brownie layer and top with the final brownie layer. Frost the entire cake with the salted Biscoff frosting, using an offset spatula to swirl the icing. Pipe 12 to 14 rosettes of Nutella frosting on the top edge of the cake. Garnish each with a malt ball. Place the cake on a baking sheet and gently toss pulverized cookies onto the bottom edge of the cake, allowing the excess to fall onto the baking sheet. Finally garnish the top of the cake with Maldon flake salt.
Store the cake covered at room temperature
Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Malted Nutella & Biscoff Brownie Torte:
Sea Salt Sweet by Heather Baird – The recipe for Malted Nutella & Biscoff Brownie Torte is from the Sprinkle Bakes blog by Heather Baird. If you love that salty/sweet flavor combination like I do, you will love Heather’s “Sea Salt Sweet” cookbook. This book is a treasure trove of recipes for the salty sweet lover!
Who doesn’t like the heavenly combination of bananas and caramel? Well this gorgeous Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake is blanketed with them! It is like Bananas Foster in cake form. So you know the topping is to die for, but the cake is pretty spectacular itself. It is incredibly moist and tender and would be delicious all on its own. But it isn’t alone at all. No indeed. It is topped with all of those sticky, buttery caramelized bananas. Sheer perfection I tell you!
I made this cake for the Husband. I’ve told you how he just loves all fruit desserts. Well he definitely has a particular soft spot for bananas, so I knew he’d be over the moon for this cake. Lucky for me, it is very easy to whip together because I think it will end up being in high rotation on the dessert roster around here. I came across the recipe on the Broma Bakery blog, but did adapt it a bit. I added some spices and a bunch of rum because…well because how could I resist the delicious combo of bananas and rum? Yeah, I couldn’t. A little booze seems to make anything better, and this cake is no exception. A slice is lovely served solo but a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whip cream never goes unwelcome.
The cake is easy to make and comes together quickly. In a little over an hour you can have it on the table. My my my….irresistible looks and heavenly taste – you can’t go wrong with this treat. So if you have some unclaimed bananas hanging around, you know what to do!
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9″ springform pan with butter. Line with parchment paper and butter the parchment paper as well. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment and place springform pan on it.
Place the butter brown sugar and vanilla bean paste in a small sauce pan. Heat over low heat until the butter melts. Mix together well. Remove from heat and stir in the rum. Pour the sugar mixture into the bottom of the prepared springform pan and spread it around evenly. Place the sliced bananas on top of the brown sugar in a circular pattern.
In a medium bowl, mix the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the mashed banana, melted butter, egg, buttermilk, rum, sugar and vanilla bean paste. Mix until combined.
Add the flour mixture to the banana/ buttermilk/ rum mixture and stir until just combined.
Spread the batter evenly over the top of the brown sugar & sliced bananas in the springform pan.
Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until the top has started to turn golden brown along the edges.
Remove from the oven and allow cake to cool on a wire rack for 10 – 15 minutes. Invert cake onto serving platter.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or perhaps a little whipped cream!
Cinco de Mayo is only a couple of days away. You know, Cinco de Mayo. That is the date that folks in Mexico commemorate their victory over France in the Battle of Puebla which took place way back in 1862. I’m not so sure folks here in America know exactly why they’re celebrating, but hey we’ll take any chance for a party, so we’re happy to join in! And it just so happens that I’ve got a great dish for you to bring along to your celebrations…Tres Leches Cake with a boozy, rum laden Dulce de Leche Glaze! Let me tell you, this cake is da bomb! So moist, so sweet and rich, it nearly defies the imagination.
For those few folks out there who haven’t heard of this confection before, allow me to tell you all about it. “Tres Leches” translates to “three milks”. A Tres Leches cake is a light and airy sponge cake which has been soaked in a milk bath mixture of three different milks, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream. Although its origins are not clear, this dessert is very popular in Latin America. And once you take one bite, I assure you, you will know why. That sponge cake soaks up every bit of that sweet, dreamy, ambrosia of a soaking mixture creating the most amazing texture. You might think it would be soggy, but nope. Not soggy, but moist sweet boozy perfection.
And that rum spiked Dulce de Leche glaze really puts this cake over the top. This recipe is easy but please take care to follow the directions. Now, I won’t lie, there are a few nail-biting moments along the way, like when you suspend the cake upside down to cool (I was sure it was going to fall into a huge pile of crumbles on the counter, but it didn’t) and then when you pour an impossible amount of liquid over the cake (I was sure it would not all get absorbed and my cake would be left ruined bobbing around in that milk lake, but it soaked it all up like a sponge. Maybe that’s why its called a “sponge cake” huh?). Have faith, the cake will be fantastic and you’ll be a Cinco de Mayo legend!
Recipe from: Once Upon a Chef (One of my absolute favorite blogs! Definitely Check it out!)
For the Cake:
1-1/2 cupsall-purpose flour or unbleached cake flour, spooned and leveled
1 cupsugar, divided
2 teaspoonsbaking powder
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/3 cupvegetable oil
2 teaspoonsvanilla extract
5large egg whites, at room temperature
For the Milk Bath (soaking mixture):
1(12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1(14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoonsheavy cream
3 tablespoonsdark rum
For the Glaze:
1 (13-ounce) can dulce de leche (I found this at the local grocery store in the “Hispanic Specialties” section.)
1 tablespoon dark rum
One 9 x 13 x 2-inch Pyrex pan, ungreased, plus 4 cups or glasses for inverting the cake pan after baking
Preheat the oven to 325° F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and baking powder. Mix on low speed for 1 minute to combine. Do not over-mix.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks to break them up. Whisk in the oil, water and vanilla, one at a time. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and beat with the paddle on medium speed for exactly one minute to aerate it slightly (it’s very important not to overmix). Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for just a few seconds more.
In a clean, dry mixing bowl combine the egg whites and salt. Place on the mixer with the whisk attachment (or you can use a hand held mixer with beaters) and whip the egg whites on medium speed until they are white, foamy and beginning to hold a very soft peak. Increase the speed to medium high and add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a slow stream. Continue whipping the egg whites until they are shiny and hold stiff peaks.
With a large rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter until just combined. Be very careful not to over-mix. Scrape the batter into the ungreased pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, or until it is set in the middle and golden. Let the cake settle on the stovetop or a rack for 1-2 minutes, then invert four glasses onto the countertop and invert the cake pan onto them, positioning one in each corner of the pan. (A chiffon cake needs to hang upside down to cool or it may collapse and fall.)
Once the cake has cooled, flip it over and run a sharp, thin-bladed knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer or point of a small, sharp knife at 1/2-inch intervals.
Prepare the soaking liquid: in a large bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream and rum. Slowly pour the soaking liquid over the cake. Let it sit for a few minutes to absorb. If it’s slow to absorb, run a knife around the edges of the cake again and poke a few more holes. Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Once the cake has chilled, make the glaze: in a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the dulce de leche, rum and water. (Note: If you want a really boozy cake, change the proportions in the glaze to 3 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons rum. You better believe this is how I made my glaze and it was superb!). Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave, then whisk to combine. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then spread over cake. Place the cake back in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve with fresh fruit, if desired.
There’s no cake that is quite as summer-y as a slice of light and spongy Angel Food cake topped with fresh sliced berries and a big ole dollop of whipped cream. That cake is so tender and moist and the berries so sweet and refreshing, it raises your mood to a more transcendental level and could almost make you forget how utterly swampy it is outside. I had never attempted to make one at home, always being somewhat intimidated for unknown reasons. Not to mention that I knew, come every May, the local grocer would have Angel Food cakes stacked nearly up to the celestial host they were named after. I rationalized my fear away by thinking -Why should I bother – it would be silly to spend all that time at home making one when I could just pick one up at the store and be done with it. Those store-bought cakes always taste pretty good right? Hmmmmm…..I thought so, until I went ahead and made one at home and found that I was definitely mistaken. Once I took a bite of a homemade Angle Food cake I realized that the store-bought ones were a bit more akin to sweetened styrofoam than I had ever known. Yup….homemade is entirely superior. And I found out that it really was not nearly as difficult to make this classic summer cake as I had previous imagined.
Now that being said, there are a few things to keep in mind. This cake is mostly egg whites with a little flour added in to help set the structure. So you want to make sure those egg whites whip up fully. To ensure this, your mixing bowl must be clean and free from any oils and not one little bit of egg yolk can be allowed to sneak into your separated egg whites. Once the cake batter is all whipped together, you want to spoon it into a tube pan which has not been greased. The batter will cling and climb up the sides allowing it to rise higher. Once the cake has finished baking, here is the part that completely freaked me out – you have to turn it upside down and leave it inverted to cool. You see, the egg whites are the things that give this cake the rise and until they cool down, the structure is not set and could collapse under the weight of itself. Once I removed what seemed to be a perfect cake from the oven, I just stood there staring at it. I had horrible visions that the second I inverted it, it would crash out onto the counter into a big heap of crumbs. But finally I took a deep breath and just flipped it right on over. All was fine. It just hung upside down there for about 2 hours. The result was this lovely spongy texture. Moist and airy and not too sweet. Perfectly complemented by the sweet fresh berries and cream. Quite heavenly indeed! So if you find yourself with a bunch of extra egg whites this summer, like maybe after you’ve made a big old batch of ice cream, try your hand at a homemade Angel Food Cake. Dare I say you’ll find it…well, divine!
Angel Food Cake with Fresh Berries & Whipped Cream
Fresh sliced berries – whatever is in season – for serving
Whipped Cream for topping
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Sift the flour three times, then add 2/3 cup of the sugar and sift again.
Beat the egg whites on low-speed until frothy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and continue to beat until they just begin to form soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining sugar – only adding 2 tablespoons at a time – and beat until the egg white /sugar mixture holds soft peaks. Beat in the vanilla paste.
Here you want to work quickly, but with a gentle hand. Sift the flour mixture over the whipped egg white mixture in 4 additions, gently folding in each addition by hand until it is just incorporated before adding the next.
Spoon into an ungreased 10×4″ tube pan. Rap the pan on the counter a few times to release any bubble and smooth the top before popping it into the oven
Bake cake for approximately 1 1/4 hours, or until it is spongy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Here comes the scary part….If your pan is a true angel food cake pan and has little feet around the top edges, flip the pan upside down onto a flat surface and let it cool undisturbed for 2 hours. If your pan does not have feet, simply invert it over the neck of a bottle.
Once cool, use a thing knife to gently cut around the edges of the pan to release the cake.
Dust top of cake with confectioners sugar.
Slice cake with a serrated knife, using a gently sawing motion (this cake is delicate and will smoosh easily) and serve with sliced fresh berries and whipped cream.
Ummmm…did someone say Baileys and Chocolate? Sign me up! Oh how I love that combination…which you might have noticed back when I told you about those sinfully delicious Baileys & Coffee Pots de Crème.
Well, here’s another great recipe in which Baileys and Chocolate have the starring roles, Baileys Chocolate Mud Cake.
You might be wondering what a “mud cake” is. A mud cake is a cake that has a dense tight crumb. These cakes are usually made by melting the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan and then adding the eggs and dry ingredients to the wet ones in that same pan. A mud cake has a bit of a brownie vibe to it but still is quite definitely a cake.
A moist, rich, decadent cake which in this case is covered with a silky smooth Baileys Chocolate ganache. Chocoholic’s bliss! Oh my….it is quite possibly a cake that could tempt St. Patrick himself!
200 grams good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
200ml Baileys Irish Cream (you can do 100ml cream and 100ml Baileys if you’d rather not have some much Baileys…but I gotta ask…”What are you like?!! Of course you want it to be all Baileys!)
pinch of sea salt
1 Tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 325° F (160°C). In a pan over low heat, add the butter, chocolate, sugars, cocoa powder and Baileys. When chocolate and butter has melted, whisk together to combine making sure to get rid of any lumps of sugar or cocoa powder. Remove from heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, grease and line an 8″ (20-21cm) round cake tin.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. Add the eggs to the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Gently fold in the sifted flour mix until free of lumps.
Scrape into cake tin then bake for about 30 -35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean (ideally you want to see some moist crumbs stuck to it. This is one cake you don’t want to over-bake so better to be a little under than over). The top of the cake will be a little cracked but no worries, this is normal for a mud cake and you will be covering it with a lovely and oh so concealing ganache.
Remove from oven and cool in tin for 10 minutes before unmoulding and cooling completely on wire rack. Trim the tops of the cake to level (if you wish – I did not).
For the Baileys Ganache:
Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Bring the cream, Baileys and the salt to a simmer in a pan. Pour over the chocolate and sit for a minute. Gently stir to combine then beat in the butter.
Set aside at room temperature and cool until it is thick enough to spread over your cooled cake. Gently stir the ganache occasionally as it cools to keep the temperature even and the ganache smooth. You can just add the ganache on the top of your cake or spread it over the sides as well. Your choice.