This Guinness Chocolate Cake with White Knight Frosting was inspired by my recent trip to Ireland. I have had epically good fortune this past year which brought me to Ireland twice. Earlier this year, I spent a week seeing Ireland with my friends at Bake from Scratch magazine, Tourism Ireland and Williams Sonoma. With each trip I have fallen deeper in love with that country. I know you will love it too and so I want to share an opportunity to win a trip to Ireland. Tourism Ireland* is giving one lucky winner the chance to design a customized trip to Ireland for 2 people. You can see some of the great places I’ve seen like Powerscourt House and Gardens, Kylemore Abbey, Kinsale, Cork City and so much more (check out my Ireland 2020 Instagram highlights to see some of these magical places. For IRELAND SWEEPSTAKES Enter Here! Winner will be drawn in November. Ireland is beyond beautiful with the rolling hills of green grass and clover that fall off into the ocean and that’s just a description of the pastures where the dairy cows graze.
The dairy in Ireland and all the products made with it were among the biggest surprises for me. I come from a dairy rich state and yet, I have never experienced cream, butter and even simple milk like I had in Ireland. I kept asking the bakers I met during my trip what they’d topped cakes with, just to find out that it was nothing more than whipping cream. That whipping cream was so luxurious I assumed it was made with creme fraiche or something to boost the velvety texture it had. Turns out feeding cows nothing more than green Irish grasses produces cream that needs nothing more than aeration to achieve magic.
(just some of the chocolates I brought home from Ireland)
Another pleasant surprise was the universal love of chocolate I found across Ireland. Just about every stop, including at the petrol station, turned into an opportunity to eat chocolate. Maybe these two discoveries are not unrelated, the chocolate + the rich cream are bound to be dynamic. Even brands of chocolate I’ve had in the States, that have never elicited anything more than mild pleasure were so superior in Ireland. Then there were the local, bespoke chocolate makers who were creating truly brilliant and exciting boxes of chocolates.
This is Sister Genevieve from Kylemore Abbey who creates some of the finest chocolates I’ve ever had. I even got a chance to step into her chocolate making shop and try my hand at creating her famous and adorable chocolate sheep. You can see more pictures and videos of the chocolates and chocolate makers I met in my Instagram Stories (including my moment in Sister Genevieve’s workshop).
During our trip through Ireland, we stopped at as many bakeries as we could fit into a day. The full list of not-to-be-missed bakeries will appear in an upcoming issue of Bake From Scratch Magazine. One of our stops was at the Pepperpot Cafe in Dublin, which I was lucky enough to visit on both of my trips through Ireland. They served us a lovely chocolate stout cake with a super-rich, but simple whipped cream topping. I was instantly smitten and knew I’d come home to make a version of my own. Later that evening we arrived at Castlemartyr Resort, again a place I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at twice (and I hope to go back again and again!)
In the beautiful lounge at Castlemartyr we were served a White Knight cocktail (think of the Irish version of a White Russian), which had layers of whiskey and a tall pour of perfect Irish heavy cream. It tasted like it was meant to be frosting and was the final inspiration for this cake.
Chocolate Guinness Cake with White Knight Frosting
By Zoë François (ZoeBakes.com) for Bake from Scratch magazine
Makes one (8×3-inch) cake
1½ cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
1½ cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
½ cup (43 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
1½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) baking soda
¾ teaspoon (2.25 grams) kosher salt
¾ cup (180 grams) buttermilk
⅓ cup (75 grams) vegetable oil
1 large egg (50 grams)
1 large egg yolk (19 grams)
1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
¾ cup (180 grams) Guinness or stout
White Knight Frosting (recipe follows)
Whipped Cream Topping (recipe follows)
Garnish: Dutch-process cocoa powder
To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 8 x 3-Inch cake pan; line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt until combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until well combined. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, and whisk until smooth. Slowly add stout, whisking until fully combined and smooth. (Batter will be quite thin.) Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.
- Remove cooled cake from pan, and place on a serving platter. Top with White Knight Frosting. Spread Whipped Cream Topping onto frosting in a smooth layer. Place a clover stencil on topping, and garnish with cocoa, if desired. Using a warm offset spatula, smooth sides of cake.
White Knight Frosting
⅓ cup (57 grams) finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup (60 grams) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons (30 grams) Irish whiskey
2 cups (240 grams) confectioners’ sugar
½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon (5 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder
To make the frosting:
- In the top of a double boiler, combine chocolate, cream, and whiskey. Cook over simmering water until chocolate is melted. Whisk until smooth. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat confectioners’ sugar, butter, and cocoa at medium speed until smooth. Add cooled chocolate mixture, and beat until combined and smooth, stopping to scrapes sides of bowl. Use immediately.
Whipped Cream Topping
1 cup (240 grams) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons (30 grams) crème fraîche*
1 tablespoon (7 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon (15 grams) Irish whiskey*
To make the cream topping:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat all ingredients at medium speed until medium-stiff peaks form.
Enter to win a Trip to Ireland, hosted by Tourism Ireland!
*This post, my latest trip to Ireland and the Customized Ireland Vacation Sweepstakes are brought to you by Bake from Scratch magazine, Tourism Ireland and Williams Sonoma although all the opinions in the post are mine!