Anyone who’s survived their 20’s and went through any sort of bar hopping, party phase knows that there are plenty of drinks out there with some pretty wacky names and there are plenty of drinks with names that are down right offensive to some people. Names that despite the tastiness of the beverage, they would never bring themselves to utter the words to even order the drink. I won’t elaborate but there are some dirty dirty names out there for sure. The Irish Car Bomb is one of those drinks that either you love or you absolutely hate and that partially has to do with the name.
Rumored to have been created in Connecticut by Charles Oats, the drink gets its name from its Irish components and the common form of Irish domestic terrorism by the IRA (Irish Republican Army) during “The Troubles.” Which, if you’re not familiar with Irish history, was a very long period of conflict in Northern Ireland lasting from the late 1960’s until the Belfast Agreement in the late 1990’s. So understandably, the name enrages the Irish but if you say “Irish Car Bomb” I don’t think most people immediately think of the car bombs that caused such death and destruction in Northern Ireland but instead they think of a drink. I realize that’s a generalization and certainly there are plenty of people who are very offended by the name. That being said, it is definitely not my intention to offend anyone but to refer to a well-known beverage because the simplest, easiest way to describe the flavor of this cake is to call it what it is. A cake that tastes exactly like an Irish Car Bomb.
If you aren’t familiar with the drink, it’s made by filling a shot glass half full of Bailey’s Irish Cream, then floating Jameson Irish whiskey on top. Next, the shot glass is dropped into a 3/4 full glass of Guinness. Now for the fun part… You need to chug that sucker down quick before the foam overflows and whole thing curdles. If you do it right, this is one tasty drink! It’s smooth and almost tastes like a milkshake.
This cake definitely captures these flavors. You don’t actually taste the beer in the cake but it seems to enhance the flavor of the chocolate. But you definitely taste the booze in the filling and the frosting so consider yourself warned! Although I do include the non-alcoholic versions of both the ganache and icing if you don’t want to imbibe or you can always back it down to suit your tastes. Boozy or not, this cake is incredibly delicious and deeply chocolate.
Stout Cake with Irish Whiskey Ganache and Bailey’s Buttercream
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)
5 oz egg whites
5 oz sugar
1/4 tsp salt
the scrapings from 1 vanilla bean
1 pounds unsalted butter, cut into 2” chunks, room temperature
3 Tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream (optional)
Make the cake:
– Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8″ cake pans with parchment circles on the bottom.
– Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
– Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend.
– Add the stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter evenly among the two cake pans. Bake the cake for 20 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 10 minutes longer. Cool cakes on a rack completely.
Make the ganache:
– Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined. Let cool to room temperature and until thickened a bit.
Make the buttercream:
– Combine the egg whites, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean together in a clean bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of water and turn the heat on medium low until water steams, not boils.
– Whisk frequently to prevent an egg whites from cooking. Heat the mixture to at least a 145° – 150°
– When the mixture is sufficiently hot, remove from the heat and whip on medium high-speed until the mixture has doubled in volume and turned snowy white. Continue whipping until the meringue is cool. The bowl should feel completely cool to the touch.
– Turn the mixer down to medium-low and begin adding in the butter, one chunk at a time, scraping down the sides if necessary.
– Splash in little vanilla extract if you want more vanilla flavor and add the Bailey’s Irish Cream, if you’re using it.
Assemble the cake:
– Frost the top of one cake layer with buttercream. Top that with some of the ganache. (you may not use it all … but leftover ganache is never a bad thing! Plenty of uses for it)
– Top with second cake layer and frost the entire cake with the buttercream.