Sunday, March 13, 2011

Shamrock Delights

I love to bargain shop for interesting baking supplies. I always find cute and useful items that are reasonably priced and get my creative juices flowing. On Friday, I found Paula Deen cupcake pans at Ollies, that will replace my old rusty set. Then at TJ Maxx I found some really great cupcake liners that are extra thick made by Cupcake Creations.
St Patrick's Day is coming and I wanted to make something cute with my my bargain finds that would also use some Irish products. I thought I would make a Guinness cake with Baileys buttercream, but when I went to the store I found some other brands of Stout and Irish Cream made in Ireland that I thought I would give a try.

Kevin and I did a blind taste test to try out the Irish Cream, comparing Baileys to Carolans. Surprisingly, we both thought that the Carolans was better. It had better flavor, although a little thinner in texture/ At half the price , Carolans can't be beat. For the stout we used O'haras. No taste test here because I don't drink beer. (That's right, no green beer for me. Instead I'll take green Irish Cream spiked frosting!!!!)

The Chocolate Stout Cake recipe I used is from Epicurious and was easy to make. My mom and I usually use the recipe on the back of the Hersheys box, but this was even better. So moist and rich and most likely fool proof since I normally can't make a cake to save my life! I made the batter with Penzey's Dutch processed cocoa. Once upon I time I would use the Hershey's Dutch Processed Cocoa, but lately its been hard to find in stores. You can order Penzey's online, but if you live in the DC metro area, there is a store in Falls Church, VA.

While the cake was baking, I made shamrocks to make this project fancy and festive. This is a very easy project, if you just have a few items. I started out by printing out a sheet of shamrock pictures, which I taped under wax paper on a cookie sheet.

To make the shamrocks, you'll need a good semisweet chocolate, green candy melts and a couple of plastic bottles. I love the small decorator bottles because you can choose the size tip you want.

Break up the chocolate if you are not using candy melts and place in microwave safe bowls. Microwave on the defrost setting of your microwave at one minute intervals, stirring frequently. After the chocolate is melted fill the plastic bottles.

Pipe the dark chocolate outline leaving the center of the leaves open. Only do 2 to 3 shamrocks at a time to prevent them from setting up too quickly.

Fill the inside of the leaves with the green chocolate. The leaves are almost heart shaped, so when piping keep it simple and easy by dragging the bottle in a V shape. If you have a holiday in the chocolate, use a toothpick to spread the chocolate. Do not tap the pan, as the chocolate will spread and ruin the crisp shape.

To combine the colors, drag a toothpick through the dark chocolate into the green, starting at the indent of the leaves. Start with the left leaf, pulling into the center. Move onto the right leaf, cleaning the toothpick with a paper towel after each swipe. Finish with the top leaf dragging into the middle of the stem. Let the shamrocks set up at room temperature or transfer to the refrigerator for a few minutes.

Here are the cakes before decorating. I actually made the layers with pans that are a couple inches smaller than the typical 8/9 inch size. This made it so I could make a nice sized cake and cupcakes with the same batch of batter. The new cupcake liner I got were so wonderful because the liner did not get oily when baking.

The buttercream was made with the Carolans Irish Cream. So easy....3 sticks of salted butter, one 32 oz bag of confectioners sugar and Irish Cream to taste. I wanted a very soft consistency, so I used a lot! I started out with a couple tablespoons, but in the end I might have used more than a quarter of a cup! I colored the icing green and swirled it onto the cupcakes, sprinkled the frosting with chocolate jimmies and topped off each confection with a shamrock.

Here's the finished cake. I need to practice my piping skills, but overall I am very happy to have out-witted my cake curse. I also made Guinness ice cream which I will sample with the sous chef (I mean husband) when we cut into this luscious cake tomorrow night. I think I might just skip dinner tomorrow!

Happy Baking!

Sweet Charity


  1. You're amazing....and these treats look amazing too!

  2. Hi Charity, I work with Kevin and he brought me a shamrock cupcake. It was beautiful and delicious! I also had a chocolate caramel that you made for Valentine’s Day and it was divine. Your blog is great, I really enjoy following your baking adventures! :)

  3. Thanks Mary! I'm so glad you enjoyed one of my treats! I am glad folks in Kevin's office are enjoying my baked gods because we are making them at such a clip we couldn't possibly eat them all!

  4. I don't drink beer either (and I live in Germany!) Your cupcakes and cake came out lovely. I love how you did the shamrocks. I also did a Bailey's cupcake for St. Paddy's Day as well and purposely bypassed the cheaper brand. Your blind taste test has inspired me not to. Thanks!

  5. Lora, I was really suprised when we both picked the Carolans. The texture of the Baileys is thicker but the flavor of the Carolans is so much more rich. I just hope my friends don't think I'm cheap when I start serving Carolans at parties!

  6. Totally love the chocolate shamrocks! Great deco!