Ingredients

Ganache

1 pint of heavy cream
18 ounces Merckens chocolate wafers (aka Buttons) (available at AC Moore and other craft stores. You can use other brand names as well, but be sure to buy the 'coating wafers')

Directions

1. Bring Heavy cream to the scalding point.
2. Remove from heat immediately and add chocolate wafers.
3. Stir with wooden spoon until evenly melted.
4. Place in refrigeration over night to set. * this must be done ahead of time to allow the chocolate to set.
5. Remove from the refrigerator at least 3 hours before use.
In order to use as frosting the chocolate ganache should be at room temperature, smooth enough to frost. So, more time should be allowed out of the refrigerator.

Recipe courtesy of Kelly Delaney, Cakes For Occasions, 2010.

A Guinness Cake in Honor of St. Patrick's Day.

Cake decorating expert Kelly Delaney of Cakes For Occasions originally attended the world-renowned cooking school at Ballymaloe, Ireland created and run by Darina Allen. While there she learned that St. Patrick's Day is celebrated differently by the Irish, but over here it is known as a day to consume Irish beer. In honor of that tradition she will show us how to make a cake of a draft of Guinness, the most famous beer from Ireland. It uses her favorite frosting, chocolate ganache.

You may wonder what St. Patrick's Day and cake decorating have to do together. So let me show you how to make the most awesome Guinness cake.

I'm going to take my knife. And I'm actually going to cut off the top of a vanilla cake. We're going to fill this with chocolate ganache.

Chocolate ganache is basically chocolate and heavy cream melted together, brought to a simmer. And when it's cooled, it is the best tasting frosting that you're ever going to have. Actually, it tastes more like fudge than it tastes like frosting.

So we're just going to fill the center of this cake with the ganache. I chose to use ganache because we're going to be making the Guinness cake. And I think it resembles the color of Guinness the best rather than say a chocolate buttercream.

We're then going to take our second cake. And we're going to invert this right on top.

Now, you may also notice that I'm using two fairly large sized cakes, as far as the height of them. And I want to do that on purpose because we're going to be making a glass cake. And we're going to be making a mug that's going to go on the side and then a great big frothy top. So we want to use a more dense, sturdy cake rather than cutting them into small layers, might be really hard to transport.

So we've got our cake assembled there. I'm going to take my ganache, pop it right on top. We don't want to waste too much ganache on the top of the cake because we're going to end up covering it with the white buttercream for the froth.

So before we start to decorate this cake, since it's kind of top heavy, I'm noticing it's going to slide around on my cake wheel. So what I just took is some paper towels. I wet it down. Put it onto my cake wheel. Then I put my cake on top.

So that way, when I apply pressure, it doesn't go anywhere. It's like a suction cup. It's just a little tip so when you're decorating and you're noticing something is sliding around.

So we're going to take our ganache. And we're going to frost it.

Ganache is a little bit trickier to use because it firms up. So if it's a little bit too cold in your kitchen or it's a little bit too warm, you want to make sure it's the right consistency.

So I've got my ganache. And I'm just going to frost it right around.

When you're decorating and you're going to notice that the ganache is going to hit your board, just take a paper towel. And just clean off the edges as best you can.

I've got a little top edge. I'm going to cut right across. Again, not really worrying about what the top edge is going to look like because we're going to be putting the froth of the Guinness right on top.

Now the froth is going to be made out of just our regular buttercream frosting, white, no color. The couplings with the tips that you get and you use to put on your tip, I'm just actually using just the regular white coupling, no tip. No tip required.

And then I'm going to pipe up my froth, starting in the middle. I'm just going to just pipe frosting around.

Then starting there too, I'm going to take it. And I'm going to be using it as if I'm using a pearl or a round tip. Just piping froth as if it just came off the tap. I'm waiting for it to settle.

So continuing all around the cake, you're going to be piping your froth. Now I purposely didn't fill in the front part just yet because you don't want it to be so symmetrical. And you don't want it to really kind of go right in line. It's kind of best to just go through, pipe it here and there, and then go back and fill it in. Gives it more of that realistic froth as if it's coming off and going to be kind of out of control.

The next thing we're going to need to do is we're going to need to clean this bottom up. I'm using the basket weave tip, which is number 47. This is perfect to act as a frame for the bottom of the cake.

Next thing we're going to need to do for our Guinness cake is I need to make a handle. So let me show you how we're going to do that out of white chocolate.

So I've got my bag. And I've melted my white chocolate. I'm going to spoon my white chocolate into my bag.

Now, white chocolate can be melted two ways, over a bain-marie, which is a water bath, or in the microwave. It's much quicker to do it in the microwave. So you could use that.

But when you do melt chocolate in the microwave, be sure not to walk away. Do it in 10 second intervals and then stir in between because you don't want to burn the white chocolate.

So I've got my parchment bag. Now I'm going to make an opening. For this instance, I'm going to make a bigger opening with my scissors because I'm going to pipe out then handle.

I just use another piece of parchment. And you want to pipe onto parchment because this is going to go into the refrigerator and set. And we're going to want to remove it. So don't pipe it on regular paper or directly on a plate or a cookie sheet. Use a piece of parchment when you pipe on your white chocolate so it pops right off.

Thinking about the height of our beer mug that we have, we need to make that handle be an appropriate size. So this is about a 5 inch cake. We're going to want to make the opening of that beer handle be about 2 and 1/2 inches, as if you can kind of put your fingers in and take a real good hold to it.

We're going to pipe out the white chocolate as a "C," having a good 2 and 1/2 inches for the opening. Now that's the handle part. But in order to put this into the cake, you need to make an extra, almost like nails going to be going into the cake.

So now you're going to go up to the top. And you're just going to pipe a little additional going up this way. So that way where we're going to be pushing that into the cake.

So this part here is our handle. And then the extra is going to go into the cake so it stands. And it holds well.

And then what I'm just going to do is to take in a little additional because it's always good to have it a little bit thicker than you think you need because white chocolate is so fragile. Last thing you want to do is be making this, go to insert it into the cake, and then it breaks in half. So make it a little bit thicker than you think you may because you'll be thankful later. So I'm going to pop this right in the fridge.

So my white chocolate handle has hardened in the refrigerator. It only took about 10 minutes or so.

We've got our white chocolate handle. You can pick it right up.

So what I'm going to do is I'm going to place it right into the side of the cake. And I'm going to make sure that I hold it properly by just pushing, applying pressure on the top. And then separately applying pressure on the bottom. You don't want to push from here because when you do that, your white chocolate handle will snap.

So it goes right in. Just kind of pretend to grab onto it. Seems like it's working pretty well. There's your beer mug handle.

Now to give it some definition, we're going to outline it. I've taken my chocolate ganache bag. I exchanged it with a number three tip. And I'm just going to just make an outline of the handle.

We're going to be using the round tip when we write on a cake and when we do an inscription. It's a smaller opening. So I've outlined the handle of our beer mug.

Next is the inscription and then the finish for our garnish for our froth. So we're going to be writing the inscription right along the side here.

This is a nice brown frosting, a buttercream frosting, with a number three tip for easy writing. So now we're going to pipe on the Guinness logo, which is a nice little harp.

It's more used for the inscription and also used for fine lines and intricate borders and intricate piping that you may do, like a lace. I'm going to choose to use a parchment bag for this to get a smaller writing.

When you do melt chocolate in the microwave, be sure not to walk away. Do it in 10 second intervals. And then stir in between because you don't want to burn the white chocolate.

In Ireland, when I was in school and I came back home, a lot of people asked, do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Ireland? Every day is St. Patrick's Day in Ireland. I don't think they really celebrate that particular day.

There's Guinness written out. Go back to our brown.

It's more of St. Patrick trying to get the snakes out of Ireland, so they say, years ago. Us Americans, we turn it into going down to the local pub, down to the local bar, and having some beers.

And then, with the last final touch, we're going to have that frothy head just slightly pouring over, as if you need to kind of quickly pick it up and lick it off. And there's your Guinness cake. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Guinness Cake
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