Pastry / Sweet

Happy St. (Ana) Patty’s Day!

Hmmm I know its no surprise I never touch this blog but a few times a year, but I really have a recipe to share, it even has a history. My adventure with Guinness cake started when I finished my first year at GTF in 2011. We had 4 dinners in October, which the kitchen playfully called the playoffs or the all-stars, something like that. Jc, the head chef wasn’t involved but all the underlings took turns each week making a 5 course meal served wine dinner style. There were hand-written menus and good food. It was like a chance to show what talent exists and grows at Gathering Together.

This is what I love about Gathering Together Farm, everyone wants to be better at what their doing. I see it in the kitchen, we all make the best food we can and then one day something we’ve made, makes us shine. And the cool thing about GTF is that it is the perfect place to gather what you need to change, learn, and grow. Everyone is supportive of every effort you make. We work together and try each others food until the balance arrives. This is of course with the food we serve but also in all our lives.

Recently I have experienced the most overwhelming outpouring of love and support. This winter I uncovered a new adventures for my life. I wasn’t even aware of it until it was in the works. I went to Europe this winter to go on a wonderful pastry scavenger hunt. I had restaurants and bakeries mapped out all over France, Belgium, and Holland. I wasn’t sure what I would find in Ireland but I figured it was a good jumping off point. Then met a wonderful Irish man Dec, he invited me to swim with Dusty the Dolphin…in the Atlantic Ocean…on the west coast of Ireland…on December 2nd. All I heard was swimming with a dolphin, and I said “YEAH! How could I say no to that!”. Short story short, he is now my best and boyfriend. The decision to move shocked both of us, it was just the path that was born somewhere in a soul space.

I wasn’t sure how the farm would respond. I have found my place at the farm and become a beneficial part of the whole picture I think. How would they feel about me jumping ship after only 3 seasons, or even worse mid way. I was so comforted when I began to let everyone know that I would be leaving, everyone was happy for me. They all know that life is so unplanned and the best way to find the path you walk is to take it where it leads you. So my path takes a huge right turn on June 18th on a straight flight from JFK to Dublin and I am so excited to find what I find there.

So the beginning of this Guinness cake started for Ricky’s dinner, Guinness Cake with Salted Caramel and Bailey’s Ice Cream. I can’t even remember what that cake was like. Really chocolatey and, yeah, if you were a super taster, you could pull out the nuances of a somewhat stouty taste. The next season came around and I made this cake for Ricky and JC’s birthday. Camille documented it here. This time it was more Guinness-y but still not something you eat and think hmm I wish I had a Guinness to drink with this cake.

I forgot about it until I picked up this book Leon Baking and Desserts. I’m still not sure if it is a bakery or a group of people that just like to cook, but it doesn’t matter, it has a recipe for a Guinness cake that looked like it would give some promising results. It had not only Guinness, but also molasses, and also malt powder. Yes, this was a good starting point. I made it as is and thought, “Yes, this is better, but I want BITTER!” So I added more malt powder and also upped the Guinness, AND reduced the Guinness by quite a bit. What you say, you upped and reduced? I reduced the Guinness first, then I put more of that syrupy Guinness reduction in the cake.

This was fun because the cake made a perfect 10 inch cake, so I couldn’t try it until the Rehearsal Dinner Party (not what you think, The Crescendo Show traded us, a group of friends, food for music. We all made dinner, they rehearsed their music, both parties were happy with the resulting party.) So I waited until yesterday to finally dig in. I topped it with a simple whip cream that I sweetened with a little Dulce De Leche I had sitting around. Whiskey would have also been welcome in the concoction. :)

The verdict on this cake was that it was better, bitter, and best of all very reminiscent of a good Guinness. I am a happy baker. All in one cake I fed friends, fed my passion of finding the perfect recipe and paid homage to my future home of Ireland. I can’t wait to make this cake for the Irish.

Essentially, a Guinness Cake, with a real Essence of a Sense of Guinness:

  • 1 Cup Guinness Reduction (I used 2 – 12oz bottles and reduced it to 1 Cup, if you are scared of that I suggest only starting with 1 bottle/can.)
  • 5 oz Butter
  • 1 T Molasses
  • 1/2 Cup (lightly packed) Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder, plus a little for dusting the pan
  • 3 T Malt Powder (I found this in the bulk section, but Ovaltine also works)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 Cup Yogurt 
  • 1 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 White Sugar
  • pinch of Salt
  1. Preheat to 325 F. Butter and Cocoa dust a cake pan, or cupcake, or loaf pan, or bundt cake, whatever, you know the drill.
  2. Melt the Guinness, Butter, Molasses together
  3. Whisk in the Cocoa and Malt Powder. I sifted the malt powder because if there are clumps, they with cook like candy and then caramelize in the cake, which is NOT a bad thing.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the Egg and Yogurt.
  5. Sift in the dry ingredients together. Whisk together. Yum, yum, eat some of this wonderfully bitter chocolatey batter.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, but check and rotate after 15 minutes. Your oven is different than mine, talk to your cake about it. :)





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