Woah--seems like lots of you enjoy your St. Paddy's Day dinners. I received many requests for the other Sunday Dinner recipes. I had not intended to blog about them this week, but I just couldn't say no. I was going to save this recipe to share next year. Why? I have many recipes other than Sunday Dinner ones that I want to share; breakfast, lunch, kid-friendly food, snacks, staples, and everyday sweets. I suppose I will get to them all in due time. Today, I give the people what they want.
I created this cake years ago for my husband, lover of all things chocolate, caramel, cream cheese, and beer. Over time it has found its way to the table in many incarnations; double decker, completely frosted, and a version with alternate layers of frosting and caramel. They all worked in their own way, but I always come back to this version; a simple, one layer chocolate cake filled with caramel and topped with a caramel cream cheese frosting. I just love the way it looks, too--a simple chocolate cake oozing with caramel (not too much), topped by waves of caramel cream cheese frosting--it makes me want to dive right in. It is sticky, gooey, and creamy all in one bite.
To create this cake, I make a basic chocolate snack cake, but use Guinness in lieu of the liquid. I slice it in half and fill it with a homemade salted caramel. Then I whip up a fool-proof cream cheese frosting that I flavor with a bit of the caramel to create a pillow of goodness on the top. You will find yourself with more frosting than you need (I use only 1/2-2/3 of the recipe), but I think you can figure out what to do with the rest--frosting shots anyone??
*I received many requests for the Parslied Potatoes as well. If you are interested, stay tuned--with some small Yukon Gold potatoes and fresh flat leaf parsley on hand.
Chocolate Guinness Caramel Cake
For the cake
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghiradelli)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil, or other flavorless oil
1 cup Guinness Stout
For the caramel
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the frosting
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces (1/2 block) cream cheese, cold
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup reserved caramel
1/2 pound of confectioners' sugar, about 1 1/2-2 cups
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick baking spray.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, and soda. Whisk in the salt, sugar, and espresso powder. In another bowl, stir together the vanilla, vinegar, oil, and beer. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake until the sides have pulled away from the pan and the top springs back when gently pressed, about 35-40 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert the cake, remove the parchment paper, and place it top side up on a rack to cool completely.
To make the caramel