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Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! I hope you’re all doing as well as you can during this time. Please try to stay in as much as possible & lookout for the people around you. Baking is a great indoor activity to celebrate St. Pat’s. I’m half Irish, so this has always been my favorite holiday. Add in my love of holiday theme baking & I’ve been making something special for St. Paddy’s Day for quite some time now. My favorite dessert to make for this holiday is a Guinness cake. It’s absolutely delicious & so on theme that I can’t handle it. I switch up the presentation a little every year in a quest to constantly perfect the most perfect St. Patrick’s Day dessert ever. One year I made shamrock cupcakes, the next year a layer cake decorated with tiny buttercream shamrocks & last year I made shamrock whoopie pies. I decided to go bigger this year & make one big shamrock-shaped cake. I had to combine a few recipes to get this right, but without further ado, here is my recipe for green velvet shamrock cake.
- Guinness chocolate cake (I doubled this recipe & baked 2 cakes in a shallow rectangle pan).
- Buttercream frosting (I used this recipe).
- Green food coloring (I used leaf green from AmeriColors).
- Create a shamrock stencil. Place it over a baked & completely cooled cake & carefully carve out a shamrock with a knife. Repeat with the second layer of cake.
- Color the frosting with green food coloring. Frost the bottom cake layer, then top with the second cake layer & give the cake a crumb layer of frosting. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the fridge & add another layer of frosting, trying to make it as smooth as possible.
- Take your time when carving the cake since it will crumble if you try to cut it too fast.
- Save your cake trimming in a bowl. Snack on them or save them to be used in other projects like cake pops.
- Be careful when frosting the cake, I had some issues with crumby frosting. Slow & steady definitely wins the race here.
I got this idea from a set of 3 laminated construction paper shamrocks that my grandma made maybe around 75 years ago. She was a teacher so they were her St. Pat’s classroom decorations. She gave them to me about 15 years ago & I have cherished them ever since. I always pull them out every St. Patrick’s Day & use them as centerpieces on my kitchen table. After I made shamrock whoopie pies last year, I decided to go bigger & use the biggest shamrock as my stencil this year. It’s neat to think that she made these over half a century ago & I used one of them to carve out a cake yesterday. These shamrocks have seen some things, I tell you what.
My father’s side is fully Irish, so she was my Irish American grandma, no surprise there. That side of my family is also where I got my love of gardening. It seems like the gardening bug hits all of us once we hit a certain age. We love celebrating this day like you wouldn’t believe. We all have our own traditions of making a traditional Irish feast & drinking Guinness, among other traditions. But making a Guinness cake might be my favorite tradition. What better way to celebrate the best holiday of the year than making (& eating) a giant, green shamrock cake? Go ahead, make your own, you know you want to!