This Guinness Chocolate Stout Cake with White Knight Buttercream based on recipes from Zoë Bakes Cakes, was inspired by my trips to Ireland. I have had especially good fortune, which brought me to Ireland twice. In January of 2020, I spent a week seeing Ireland with my friends at Bake from Scratch magazine, Tourism Ireland and Williams Sonoma, just months before I was there with KerryGold to eat as much butter as I could and it turns out that’s a lot!
With each trip I have fallen deeper in love with this country.
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. They produce the sweetest, richest milk in the world, which makes Kerrygold’s Irish butter taste silky and creamy and glow a healthy, golden yellow. I used it make the White Knight Frosting in this amazing, Guinness infused Chocolate Cake. The recipe is below and you can see more photos of my trip in the Highlights on Instagram.
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.
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.
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 2 1/3 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (50g) Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder, sift if lumpy
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons stout (the beer should be flat so it’s not just foam)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
- 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- White Knight Frosting (recipe follows)
- Whipped Cream Topping (recipe follows)
- Garnish: Dutch-process cocoa powder
White Knight Frosting
- 2 cups (240 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) Kerrygold butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ounce (28 grams) bittersweet chocolate, melted
- 1-2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
Whipped Cream Topping
- 1 cup (240 grams) heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) crème fraîche (or sour cream)
- 1 tablespoon (7 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) Irish whiskey
- To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter one 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, eggs, 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.) Add to 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.
- To make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat confectioners’ sugar, Kerrygold butter, cocoa, salt, and vanilla at medium speed until smooth. Add the melted, cooled chocolate and add enough Irish whiskey, while beating, to make a smooth, spreadable frosting. Beat until combined and smooth, stopping to scrapes sides of bowl. Use immediately.
- 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.