Saturday, February 14, 2009

Irish Car Bomb Cake

The name of this cake is problematic. I found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen's site (she made cupcakes instead of a cake) and she had originally named it Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes -- however she caught a LOT of grief from people for using that distasteful name. The problem is that the drink or the cake is actually pretty hard to describe, but if you just say Irish Car Bomb (most) people immediately have an idea of the flavor combinations and what they are getting into.

For those who don't know - -the drink is made by filling a shot glass half full of Irish Cream, then floating Irish Whiskey on top of that before dropping the shot glass into a half-full pint glass of Guinness and chugging it as quickly as possible so that it doesn't curdle in the glass. It is a variation of a boilermaker and for some reason whoever invented it thought it was a good idea to name it after a common form of Irish domestic terrorism of the time, which -- understandably -- pisses the Irish off to no end.

Therefore, I understand why some people, especially the Irish, hate the name of the drink and I understand why some people gave Deb from Smitten Kitchen so much grief for calling her cupcakes that. However, the simplest, and easiest way to describe the flavors of this cake is to call it an Irish Car Bomb. Besides, I figure I have only a few readers so maybe I won't catch all the hate thrown Deb's way.

Chocolate cake with guinness, filled with chocolate ganache with just a touch of Irish whiskey, and then topped with an uber rich Irish Cream butter cream frosting. The whole thing is incredibly rich and decadent. I made a layer cake -- the base cupcake mix poured into to 8 inch round cake pans, baked for 15 minutes at 350, then lowered to 300 for another 10 until done in the middle -- then doubled buttercream to ensure I had enough to go around. If you make cupcakes, go with Deb's proportions for sure. If you go the route I did and make a layer cake you could probably get away with not doubling frosting sinceit is incredibly rich, but you might have to really stretch a single batch of the frosting to get the cake covered.

Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes baked for 15 minutes OR

Two 8 inch round cakes baked at 350 for 15 minutes then lowered to 300 for another 10-15 minutes, or until done in the center

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)

Baileys Frosting
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)

Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon 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 among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

Do ahead: You can bake the cupcakes a week or two in advance and store them, well wrapped, in the freezer. You can also fill them before you freeze them. They also keep filled — or filled and frosted — in the fridge for a day. (Longer, they will start to get stale.)


Benbini said...

haha yeah like I told Chris last night the last time I tried to order an "Irish Car Bomb" (drink) at the Irish Channel down on Route 3 South I nearly got kicked out.

burkie said...

wow--she has 278 comments on that one post! i don't think i have 278 comments total for my entire blog. of course, i only have 5 readers...that said, i think the topic is worthy of a discussion, somewhere. that's an awfully explosive topic for many people since The Troubles are part of the very recent past. i'm not hating, though....i'd eat this :) but...even though i have been a bartender, i've never heard of the drink before (though i havent tended bar or hung out in any bars in over 20 years, so i may not be the most knowledgable on popular libations), so calling the cake that doesn't help me figure out the name of it at all, other than to guess that irish spirits may be involved, so a name such as "chocolate whiskey and beer cake" (as deb changed hers to) would've given me a better idea. that won't help with changing the name of the drink, though, which i guess is where the grass roots movement has to begin...i think comparisons to inventing a drink and calling it the Oklahoma City Fertilizer Truck Bomb are valid and i would have to think that people who lost friends and family to that event would understandably find the name of that drink offensive. sure, it's only the name of a drink, what's the big deal? can name a drink anything, right? *shrugs*

Benbini said...

Basically, that plus an egg is it. But yeah the big Irish dude serving up drinks didn't care for the name, so we had to basically order the ingredients (minus one) before he was willing to make it for us.

biscuitpusher said...

but chocolate beer and whiskey cake isn't even all that accurate since the primary flavors are chocolate and irish cream. when I put it out at work I labeled it with all the flavors and then had questions about it -- right up until i added a.k.a. Irish Car Bomb cake and suddenly everybody got it.

i do understand why people get upset by the name, but then again have you ever considered other shooter names?

pitbull on crack
skylab fallout
oil spill
sloe comfortable screw against the wall
yellow fever
alien secretion
diabetic coma

clearly none of those are nearly as offensive as Irish Car Bomb, but the names are fairly random and quite often fairly offensive.

burkie said...

the sloe screw is the only one of those i'm familiar with, but like i say, i don't spend much time in bars these days. people can take offense to anything, no question about that. just having the word "irish" connected to a recipe with alcohol in it will probably offense someone, even it's made with irish spirits. but i think there's a difference between a name like sloe screw that makes your giggle or roll your eyes, and a name like 9/11 Dive Bomber or Pancreatic Cancer. now, i've served Kamikaze's before and i don't ever remember hearing any controversy surrounding that, but i didn't serve those drinks in honolulu or tokyo in the '40s. maybe it would've been more controversial then? *shrug* i'm not offended, and i'm not urging a name change. just continuing the lively debate and trying to get you up to 279 comments :)

Anonymous said...

I spent a semester abroad in France in college and got to know our local Irish Pub very well. He would laugh whenever we would order Irish Car Bombs. Eventually he told us that the Irish do find them offensive but they just call them Twin Towers over there to make up for it and to be offensive to Americans.

Alice said...

Hey thanks for this and the link back to Smitten Kitchen for the cupcakes version. I made them this past weekend (after it was requested from your blog) and they were delicious! Looks like you've got a lot of delicious recipes, will be checking frequently!

Anonymous said...

Just curious how the batch of frosting you have here equals to store bought cans of frosting