Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Cream Frosting

Ok I’ve been on a complete chocolate kick of late. This recipe is going to be 1 in a series of 3 that are all pretty close. In fact I realized that the next 2 that I’ll post are basically the same recipe, the only difference is one has Kahlua in it. Now with all three of these it’s all about the cocoa. Use good cocoa, not that Hershey stuff!

This one is my favorite of the 3 that I’ll be posting. It’s super moist and the frosting, which has Bailey’s in it, is super flavorful. The original recipe had the frosting as a buttercream, which I am not a fan of. So I cut it down by adding a little cream cheese and reducing the sugar dramatically. I mean really, do you need 6 cups of powdered sugar in your frosting? Enjoy!

 

Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Cream Frosting

Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder (darker the better)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream of plain full fat yogurt (I used sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Guinness beer

Frosting:

  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp*
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray two 8″ cake rounds, or one 9″x13″ cake pan, with non-stick cooking spray. Line with parchment paper and spray again.

Sift together, in a large bowl, the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda & powder, and salt. In a large measuring cup, beat the eggs and sour cream until smooth. Add in the vegetable oil, vanilla and bear.

Add the liquid to the sifted dry ingredients and fold together with a spatula until just combined. Like brownies, you don’t want to over mix it or you’ll have a chewy cake. Pour into your cake pan or pans and bake for 40 to 45 minutes; or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Allow to cool completely.

In a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. *Note: buttercream based frostings can be a real bitch. You want the butter soft, and I do mean soft! So while I put “at room temp” the warmer the better. But DO NOT MICROWAVE IT! Doing so has a tendency to make the butter melt in pockets and that won’t work for your frosting. Once it’s smooth Alternate the Bailey’s with the powdered sugar until it’s all incorporated and smooth. Then frost your cake.

Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies

I came across this recipe and it interested mostly because I have lemon curd on hand frequently. If you follow this blog, you know I use it in several recipes I’ve already posted. My Limoncello Tiramisu and Limoncello Cake both use it and you’ll want to check them out if you plan on making these as that’s where you will find the recipe for my lemon curd. Or you can get store bought. They were a big hit at work. Enjoy!

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Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup lemon curd (see recipe links above)

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350° and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg yolks one at a time, beating again until fluffy. Add in the lemon zest and juice, should be about 2 tbsp. of juice.

In a medium bowl shift together the flour and salt. Turn the mixer to low and beat in the flour until combined. Shape the dough into balls, about 1 tbsp. of dough will do. Place on the cookie sheets at least 1″ apart. Take you thumb and push down in the middle of each ball to form a well, this is where the curd will go. Bake about 20 minutes or until the sides barely start to turn brown. Remove from the oven and fill the centers with lemon curd, it’s take less than a tsp. Return to the oven and bake for another 2 minutes. Allow to cool and then dust lightly with powdered sugar (optional).

Blackberry Cheesecake Bars

This recipe was sent to me as a request to make. Even though they’re called bars, it’s basically a square cheesecake. Which makes it challenging in that they don’t make square or rectangle springform pans, which make getting the cake out super easy. The original recipe also called for making it in a 9″x13″ sheet pan. I didn’t really want one that big and I also didn’t happen to have that many blackberries. So I split it between two 8″ square pans. One thing that did intrigue me about this recipe was the crust. Most cheesecake is a graham cracker crust. This one calls for  vanilla wafers and pecans. Now I’m not a fan of pecans so I decided to try something a little different, I used candied pecans instead. And as I was using 2 pans, I made one blackberry and one blueberry. Keep in mind that since I did this, the topping recipe below was split in half. So where I used 1 cups of sugar, I put 1/2 cup in each type of fruit. They turned out delicious! Enjoy!

 

Blackberry Cheesecake Bars

Crust:

  • Foil, the heaver the better
  • 1 11 oz box vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup candied pecans
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla schnapps (optional)

Filling:

  • 3 8oz packages of cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla schnapps

Topping:

  • 4 cups blackberries (I used 2 cups and 2 cups blueberries)
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1 heaping tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 or so tbsp. cold water
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla schnapps
  • 1 lemon, juiced (about 2 tbsp.)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° and line your pan (or pans) with foil one way (long way if you’re using a 9″x13″ pan). Spray with nonstick spray. Take another pan, I use my lasagna pan, and fill it half way with hot water. Put it on the bottom rack.

In a food processor, pulse the wafers and pecans until fine. Remove any large chucks or crush them up. Add in the melted butter, vanilla, and schnapps (if using). Pulse until combined. All of the crumbs should be well coated with the butter. Press into the bottom of the pan (or pans, divide equally). Make sure you press it down nice and firm.

In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy (no lumps). Turn it down and add the eggs one at a time until smooth again. Add in the sour cream and beat until smooth. Pour into the pan (or pans, divide equally). Smooth out the top and bake for 50 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door, allow the pan to sit in the open oven for 15 mins. Remove and allow to cool completely.

While it’s cooling; in a medium sauce pan (or in my case 2 pans) combine the fruit, sugar, 1/4 cup water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the fruit starts to thicken, about 5 to 7 minutes. In a small jar, combine the cornstarch and remaining water (divided if you’re make 2) and shake well. Add into the fruit and boil for another 2 to 3 minutes, it should really thicken up. Cool completely.

Now here was the challenging part for me. I didn’t want to serve these in the pans with the foil as I’d cut the foil with the cakes and people could (would) have foil attached to their bites. So I  carefully used the foil to pull them out on to a counter, towards the edge. Took a plate and put the lip just under the edge of the cheesecake and carefully slide it forward by pulling on the foil until the cheesecake was all the way on the plate. Then I spread the fruit topping on it and chilled for an hour (or overnight, but cover it with wrap).  Cut into bars and enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies

OK so this is one of the recipes where I found it on the interwebs, tried it, didn’t like it really, but let other people eat them anyway. And much to my surprise, they loved them! Clearly my taste should not dictate everything I make. I didn’t really make any changes to it, which for me says a lot. Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cups mini chocolate chips (more if you want to sprinkle some on top)

Directions:

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

In your stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese but it’s smooth. Turn down to low; add in the egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Pre-heat your oven to 375° and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the dough into about 1″ balls, place them about 2″ apart, and flatten them slightly. You can use the bottom of a glass or just your hand. If you like, sprinkle a few more chips on top before you flatten them.  Bake for 10 minutes, they should just start to turn brown around the edges. Allow to cool and then eat.

Stuffed Devil’s Food Cupcakes

Here’s another cupcake recipe that I’ve adapted. I liked the original but felt the need to bump it up a notch, added some Brown Sugar Bourbon to it. They were a big hit! Enjoy.

 

Stuffed Devil’s Food Cupcakes

Filling:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Brown Sugar Bourbon

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour*
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup espresso
  • 2 tbsp. Brown Sugar Bourbon

Topping:

  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

Directions:

In a medium bowl beat together the peanut butter and unsalted butter until smooth. Turn down to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar and BSB. Beat on high until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Spoon the filling into a piping bag with a medium size tip.

Preheat your oven to 325° and line your muffin tins with cupcake liners. I spray mine with non-stick cooking spray, it helps pealing them off the finished cupcakes.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, and salt. *Cake flour is different from all-purpose flour. It contains less protein and makes for lighter, well cakes. Combine the buttermilk, espresso, and vanilla; I use a liquid measuring cup for easy pouring.

In your stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. You’ll need to scrap down the sides at least once. Turn down to low and add in the eggs one at a time, beat until combined. Turn up the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy again. Turn back down to low, add in 1/3 of the flour beat until combined. Add in 1/3 of the buttermilk mixture, beat until combined. Repeat until it’s all in there. Divide the batter between the muffin tins, filling them up about 1/2 way. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely.

Take the piping back of filling, shove it in the middle of each cupcake, and squeeze until you just start to see the filling ooze out from around the piping back tip.

Take the heavy cream and nuke it for about 90 seconds or until piping hot. Pour it over the chopped chocolate and let stand for about a minute. Stir until smooth. If it’s still lumpy nuke it for 15 seconds at a time, stirring in-between, until it’s smooth. Let stand for about 10 minutes. It should be thicker but not solid. You can either spoon it over the cupcakes or dip each on into the chocolate. I found spooning to be easier, dipping tended to leave some cake in the mix. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes or until the ganache is set.

Triple Lemon Cupcakes

I must say these were a huge hit at my work. I have quite a few lemon loving coworkers it turns out. I think they turned out really well but the lemon cream cheese frosting needs a little work. It was a little too soft for my liking. Enjoy!

Triple Lemon Cupcakes

Filling:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

Frosting:

  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup lemon filling
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract

Directions:

In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together all of the ingredients. Turn up the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the filling is smooth and thick. About 7 minutes. Remove from heat and pour through a strainer to get out any lumps. Allow to cook completely. If you’re going to put it in the refrigerator, place a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface of the filling to prevent a “skin” from forming.

Heat your oven to 375° and line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. You’ll have to scrap down the sides at least once. Add in the eggs one at a time and continue to beat until smooth. Add in the lemon juice and lemon extract and again beat until smooth.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add in the flour mixture. Beat until smooth. Divide the batter between the cup cake tins, filling about 1/2 way.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

Once cool, take a paring knife and cut out the core of each cupcake being careful to not go through the bottom of the cupcake itself. Use a piping bag and fill in the center of each cupcake with the lemon filling.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the extract and left over lemon filling, should be about 1/2 a cup. Beat until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, continue beating until smooth. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes before frosting so it can set. Frost and eat.

Billionaire Bars

So this recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen. They have a recipe for millionaire’s shortbread. Why do I call mine Billionaire instead? Because I’ve bumped it up a notch and made it more decadent. I added some Bourbon to the caramel and some flake sea salt to the chocolate topping. Enjoy!

Billionaire Bars

Cookie Bottom:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 stick of unsalted butter, melted

Caramel Middle:

  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup cron syrup
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp. Bourbon

Chocolate Topping

  • 9 oz chopped chocolate
  • Flake sea salt

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350° and place the rack in the lower-middle position. Take a 13″ x 9″ baking pan and line it with a foil sling. Having heavy aluminum foil really helps here. Line it the long way first, then another sheet the short way. This makes getting the bars out super easy. Spray it with non-stick cooking spray, this helps getting the foil off the bars.

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and combine until all of the flour mixture is moistened. Press into the pan until you have an even layer. It helps to use a flat object, like a measuring cup, to press the dough down. Take a fork and prick the dough all over. Bake until light brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool until it’s barely warm.

For the filling, combine all of the ingredients except the salt in to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. I like to use my Le Creuset Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture is between 236 to 239 degrees. A candy thermometer really comes in handy here. This will take 20 or so minutes. Keep an eye on it, the bottom can scorch really quickly if you don’t stir enough. Once it reaches temperature, take it off the heat and stir in the salt. Pour, carefully as it’s molten, over the cookie bottom. Allow to cool completely (about 30-45 minutes if you put it in the refrigerator).

Once it is completely cool, put the chopped chocolate into a microwave proof bowl. Nuke for 20 seconds at a time. Stir in-between nukes and let it set for 5 minutes between. Keep nuking until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Pour ontop of the caramel and smooth out. An offset spatula really helps here. Sprinkle with flake sea salt and allow to cool complete.

Once completely cool, use the foil sling to remove it from the pan and carefully peal the foil away from the bars. Double check to make sure the foil didn’t rip and that you have pieces stuck to your bars. No one wants a bite of foil!

Carefully cut into bars, the cookie portion can be very crumbly.

Bourbon Eggnog Cake

Sometimes you come across a recipe that sounds amazing but when you go to make it, it falls short of your expectations. This is one of those recipes for me. The original had 4 layers, and nice Bourbon custard filling, and an eggnog buttercream frosting.

First, there was no way it could ever make 4 layers. I barely got 3 out of the original recipe. The custard came out so thick I had a hard time spreading it on the cake without tearing the layers to pieces. And I’m not a fan of buttercream so I went with a cream cheese frosting instead. So I turned to Google, looked up a couple of other eggnog cake recipes, and cobbled this one together. Had to make it a couple of times until it came out the way I wanted. Enjoy!

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Bourbon Eggnog Cake

Bourbon Custard:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 4 large egg yolks (keep the whites)
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. Bourbon

Bourbon Eggnog Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 tsp real vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 6 egg whites (4 from the custard)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup eggnog
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. Bourbon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Eggnog Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 lbs cream cheese (16 oz), at room temp
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 3 tbsp. eggnog
  • 3 tbsp. bourbon
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

In a medium pot, I like to use my Le Creuset Dutch oven, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add in the half-and-half and egg yokes. Whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat (whisking constantly) until it starts to bubble, about 7 or 8 minutes. Cook for another minute or two. It will get thick but keep cooking until it seem impossibly thick. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 tbsp. at a time until melted and smooth. Whisk in the Bourbon. Transfer to a medium bowl and place plastic wrap directly on top of the custard. This will prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray 3 round cake pans with non-stick spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and spray the parchment paper with the non-stick spray as well.*

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the sour cream and beat until light and fluffy again.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.

Combine the eggnog, milk, Bourbon, and vanilla in a measuring cup.

On medium-low, add in the egg whites one at a time. Beat until combined and the batter is smooth. Add in half of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add in half the eggnog mixture and beat until just combined. Repeat.

Divide the batter evenly between the 3 cake pans. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Allow to cool completely.

In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Turn down the mixer to low and slowly add in the eggnog and bourbon, beat until well combined. Add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat until smooth and all of the powdered sugar is well incorporated. Then turn up to high and beat until smooth and fluffy. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Assemble the cake. Take 1 cake and put it on a cake plate. Evenly smear the top with 1/2 the Bourbon custard. This is easier if you take it out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before had to allow it to warm up slightly. Place the 2nd cake on top and smear it with the rest of the custard. Now frost it with the cream cheese frosting. I grated some fresh nutmeg on top of mine to make it look nice. Eat it.

*I have always had issues with my cakes being domed, meaning the middle of the cake was always higher than the sides. A total pain when frosting as the top was never even. Then it came to my attention that you can actually prevent this by using bake-even strips. They’re basically oven proof strips of material that you soak in water before using and then they wrap around the outside of the cake pan. Works like a charm! You can find them on Amazon, of course: Wilton Bake-Even cake strips.

Gingerbread Cookies

Tis the season and this last weekend I got the hankering for some good old fashion gingerbread cookies. So I turned to my favorite cookbook and it didn’t disappoint me. I did modify this recipe just a tad, added some ground cloves and used butter instead of shortening. They turned out pretty darn good! Warning, this recipe makes A LOT of cookies. Enjoy!

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Gingerbread Cookies

  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup dark molasses, I use blackstrap
  • 1/2 cup espresso
  • powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400°. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.

In a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add in the molasses and coffee. Add in the flour and beat until mixed well. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough until about 1/4″ thick. Cut out the cookies with a cookies cutter. I used a 2″ round but you can use whatever you like. Bake for 8 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and eat.

As this recipe makes a lot of cookies, make sure to put the dough back in the refrigerator between batched to keep it chilled.

Lemon Tea Bread

I got this recipe from that country cookbook my mom gave to me years ago. Even though it’s called bread this is more like a pound cake. Delicious, light, and a good lemon flavor. I only modified it slightly, added a little lemon extract and some other things. It originally called for walnuts too but I didn’t think that would go well with lemon. Enjoy!

Lemon Tea Bread

Bread:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest

Glaze:

  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • Juice of above lemon
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325°.

In a medium bowl beat together the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs one and a time and beat until smooth.

In another bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in the zest of the lemon.

In a small bowl or measuring cup; beat together the eggs, extracts, and milk.

Alternating, add in the flour and milk a little at a time. Beat until just combined.

Spray and line a loaf pan with parchment paper and non-stick cooking spray. Pour in the batter. Bake for 70 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, powdered sugar, and cream of tartar. Pour over the loaf, it will soak in. Eat.