A hundred thoughts raced through my head when my eyes crossed this gorgeous confection; those thoughts somehow distilling down into a relatively coherent must.have.now. The striking contrast of pure white icing against deep dark chocolate is so stunning it will have you, too, thinking, "That is perfection." The cake, so fitting for St. Patrick’s day as its batter contains the ubiquitous Irish stout, is one of many unique recipes featured in LIFE FROM SCRATCH: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness, a new book by Sasha Martin. Martin is the author of the blog Global Adventure Table, a delicious blog focusing on the cuisines of the world. In her new book, Martin begins her journey with the ambitious quest to cook her way around the world -- all from her home kitchen in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Weaved among culinary adventures are heartfelt stories of an unconventional life with her brother and their eccentric single mother. The poignant and touching stories of a family’s love reach far beyond the kitchen. From foster care to living with families abroad, paralleled with creative and, at times, quirky recipes (like her mom’s Cinnamon Raisin Pizza), you will discover a beautiful book that will leave you hungry for more.
Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake With Baileys Buttercream
Recipe and excerpt below from LIFE FROM SCRATCH: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness, by Sasha Martin.
Jet-black, ultra-moist cake topped with pure white frosting makes this Irish confection resemble a real pint of Guinness. Although beer and cake might sound like a bad night at a frat party, the Guinness actually works to deepen the chocolate flavor, much like espresso—even as the alcohol cooks off. It’s a very easy batter, with no egg separating or careful folding. Sometimes an easy cake is just the thing.
For the cake:
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) butter, plus more for cake pans
1 cup Guinness Extra Stout
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
1½ cups sugar
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
For the buttercream:
¾ pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
2 to 4 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small saucepan, heat the butter until just melted, then whisk together with Guinness, vanilla extract, and cocoa. While the Guinness mixture is cooling, grease and line the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans with rounds of parchment paper. Whisk together the sugar, flour, and baking soda in a large bowl. Pour the Guinness mixture onto the dry ingredients, and then whisk in the 2 eggs. When the batter is shiny and smooth, pour it into the two prepared cake pans. Lick the whisk when no one is looking. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool completely.
For the buttercream: In a stand mixer, whip the softened butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar on low speed, then increase to medium-high, and drizzle in just enough Baileys to get the buttercream loose and fluffy. The key to making whiter frosting is to whip it 5 to 10 minutes, scraping occasionally.
To assemble the cake: Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan to loosen and turn out cakes. Level the layers with a serrated knife, if needed. Spread about a third of the buttercream on the bottom cake layer. Top with the second layer. Wiggle them around until they line up just right.
Thinly spread another third of the frosting mixture over the top and sides of the cake to make a crumb coat. This will seal in the crumbs so chocolate flecks don’t ruin the white frosting. Refrigerate to set—about 30 minutes or overnight if desired.
Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, add the final third of the frosting to the cake—top first, then sides. Spread it around evenly. Slice and serve with an extra cold pint of Guinness.
Enough for 8 to 10
In Seattle? Meet the author for a reading at Third Place Books on March 16, 2015.