Sophisticate St. Patrick’s Day

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By Jason Shriner, The Aubergine Chef

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t celebrate many holidays. Besides Thanksgiving and Christmas, I let most of the others slip by, St. Patrick’s Day being no exception. This was all a shame, though, because holidays can be a great source of culinary inspiration – especially holidays without designated traditional desserts.

PWL 2 21 Sophisticate St. Patricks Day whats cooking 1But coming up with a dessert for St. Patrick’s Day was not without its challenges. Aside from the color green, shamrocks and drinking, I knew little about the holiday. So I toyed around with ideas for cocktails with my friends, and after the dust settled I was left with three strong contenders: Guinness, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and Crème de Menthe (chosen for its green color and mint flavor). Exhausted from brainstorming, I bleated, “I’ll just use them all somehow.”

Famous last words they were not. I discovered Guinness married well with chocolate, and Bailey’s was a suitable substitute for whole milk in German buttercream. The touch of mint in the chocolate ganache filling blended the mellowness of the cake with the stark sweetness of the icing. They became a trifecta and an embodiment of the shamrock.

Bringing this gourmet recipe home to sophisticate your St. Patrick’s Day celebration is easier than you’d expect. Each component

Serve with Guinness to bring out the chocolate more Photo Credit: Jason Shriner

Serve with Guinness to bring out the chocolate more Photo Credit: Jason Shriner

freezes well, so you could make each ahead of time then thaw them out at room temperature the night before you want to assemble them. The rest of the year you can make non-alcoholic versions of these recipes by simply replacing the beer in the cake with water, whole milk for the Bailey’s in the icing, and heavy cream for crème de menthe. Though I wonder if you’ll want to after indulging in this soon-to-be classic torte.

Jason Shriner owns the baking & pastry blog The Aubergine Chef, which contains free videos and recipes. He also teaches baking classes at the Manassas Park Community Center. You can visit his blog at

Chocolate and Guinness Cake


Makes two 9 x 1.5 -inch cakes

2 cups All-purpose Flour

½ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Salt

5 ounces Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature

1 ½ cups Granulated Sugar

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

3 Egg Yolks

9 ½ ounces Guinness

3 Egg Whites (separated very cleanly)

1.  Prepare cake pans using pan spray and parchment paper.

2.  Place egg whites in electric mixer’s bowl with half of the granulated sugar.   Whip egg until they reach medium peaks.  Remove from mixing bowl and set aside.

3.  Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a regular bowl.

4.  Combine beer with vanilla extract.

5.  In the mixing bowl combine the butter and the remaining sugar.  Beat on medium speed until fluffy.

6.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating on medium speed for 1 minute after each.

7.  Add dry ingredients and liquid ingredients alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined.

8.  After all ingredients are added, beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

9.  Fold egg white meringue into batter; combine well.

10.  Turn batter into prepared pans about 75% full. Spread batter evenly.

11.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 to 65 minutes or till cake tests done

12.  Cool 15-20 minutes on wire racks. Remove from pans; cool thoroughly on racks.



Bailey’s German Buttercream


Ices two 9-inch layers

1 ½ cups Bailey’s Irish Cream

¾ cup – 1 cup Granulated Sugar (adjust to desired sweetness)

4 ½ tablespoons Cornstarch

2 Whole Eggs

2 Egg Yolks

1lb,  8 ounces (6 sticks) Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature

Pinch of Salt

2 tablespoons Matcha Green Tea Powder (optional)


1.  Bring the Bailey’s to a boil.

2.  Meanwhile, whisk together the granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt, eggs, and yolks in a medium bowl.

3.  Temper your egg mixture with the hot Bailey’s by slowly drizzling in the hot Bailey’s while continuously whisking the egg mixture. Return the entire mixture back to the stove and bring to a gentle boil over medium to medium-high heat while constantly whisking.  Allow to boil for one minute while whisking.  Remove from heat and pour into your electric mixer bowl.  (Alternatively, you can chill your prepared custard in the refrigerator until completely cool.  Be sure to cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming).

4.  Using the whip attachment, whisk the custard until it has completely cooled to room temperature – if the custard is too hot it will melt the butter. Once the custard is completely cooled and whipped to a creamy state, add in the room temperature butter one stick at a time until completely incorporated.

5.  Continue to whip until creamy and icing-like. Refrigerate until ready to use if not using the same day.  Be sure to warm to room temperature and whip before using if chilled.

6.  If using matcha powder for coloring, sift the powder before adding. Matcha will add flavor to the buttercream so use less matcha if you want the Bailey’s flavor to stand out. You can also add the matcha to the custard in step 4.


Store at room temperature for 5 days, refrigerated for 10 days, or frozen for 3 months.


Crème de menthe Ganache

Fills one 9” cake (Makes about 12 ounces)

8 ounces finely chopped chocolate or chocolate chips

¼ cup Heavy Cream

6 tablespoons Crème de Menthe

1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter (optional)

¼ – ½ teaspoon Peppermint Extract (optional)

1.  Place the chocolate in a large bowl.

2.  Boil the heavy cream and crème de menthe on the stove.

3.  Combine the hot liquid with the chocolate in pot and stir until completely melted.  Return to the stove on a low heat if needed.

4.  Stir in the butter and extract (if using) until completely incorporated.

5.  Allow to cool to room temperature before using.




1.  Level cake and cut into two layers. Place bottom layer on 9” cardboard. Trim sides down if necessary.

2.  Pipe a buttercream border along the edge of the bottom layer to contain the Crème de Menthe ganache filling. Spread filling evenly within the border.

3.  Place top layer on top of the filling and bottom layer.

4.  Ice cake with buttercream.

5.  If desired, decorate with cake crumbs: Take top layer from leveling cake and crush up half of it into small pieces. Place in warm oven for 10-15 minutes until dry. Place in food processor and grind into crumbs.

6.  To decorate with crumbs, lift the cake up and take a small amount of crumbs in your palm. Carefully rub the crumbs along the bottom edge of the cake, making sure to tap the cake cardboard to shake off excess crumbs.

7.  Place on 10” decorative cardboard. Refrigerate until ready to serve allowing to warm to room temperature before serving.


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