Erin go Braugh and a Piece of Stout Cake

I will begin with the disclaimer that I am not Irish, except of course on March 17th.  According to the family tree, our ancestry is primarily of German origin and we are the offspring of immigrants who settled in Nebraska in the 1800s to grow wheat.  That said, St. Patrick’s Day has always been a special day with different foods, shamrocks and and an Irish coffee or green beer.

When celebrating our first married St. Patrick’s Day, I was informed by my new husband that he didn’t really “care for corned beef (gasp!)” and I was forced to find other dishes that celebrated our American-Irish sans the traditional main course.  Below is a recipe from for a Chocolate Stout Cake as he does “care for” Guinness.  It has become known as The Compromise of St. Patrick’s Day – my husband would eat bark if it meant he could wash it down with a piece of this rich, dense, dark chocolate delight!

Makes 12 servings


  1. Cake
    • 2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
    • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
    • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
    • 4 cups all purpose flour
    • 4 cups sugar
    • 1 tablespoon baking soda
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
  2. Icing
    • 2 cups whipping cream
    • 1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  1. For cake:
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
    2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.
  2. For icing:
    1. Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. (I often add a few teaspoons of flavoring at this point, i.e., vanilla, orange, bourbon, rum or Irish whiskey).  Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
    2. Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.

“Wherever you go and whatever you do, may the luck of the Irish be there with you,”


St Patricks Hat

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