I've always loved St. Patrick's Day. No, it's not just an excuse to celebrate, drink green beer or wear funny hats. And for me it has nothing to do with Patrick, saint or not. It's that St. Patrick's Day is not only a celebration of specific nationality and heritage, it's an inclusive celebration. It embraces everybody. As the saying goes, everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day.
As a kid, with no real roots in any culture or traditions, I felt embraced by this, and I took it to heart. For this one day, me and the rest of the world were all Irish, and we celebrated together. For that reason, this day still holds a special place in my heart.
I'm going to celebrate the day in the best possible way - with chocolate!!! I'm going to bake myself an Irish Chocolate Cake. I found this recipe at Irelandseye.com:
Irish Chocolate Cake
175g/ 6oz self-raising flour
50g/ 2oz dark chocolate
110g/ 4oz butter
175g/ 6oz caster sugar
80g/ 3oz cooked mashed potato
2 eggs, beaten
110g/ 4oz dark chocolate
125ml/ 4fl oz double cream
50g/ 2oz icing sugar
3tbsp Irish cream liqueur
Preheat oven to gas mark 5/ 190°C/ 375°F, and grease and line two 20cm/ 8 inch cake tins. Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Melt chocolate in a bowl placed over a saucepan of hot water. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy, then beat in the chocolate and mashed potato. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little flour with each addition. Fold in the rest of the flour and stir in the milk.
Divide mixture between cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until top is firm but springy to the touch. Remove from oven and after a few minutes, turn out on a cooling rack. While the cake is cooling, make the filling. Melt the chocolate as before, stir in the other ingredients and mix well. Use the filling to sandwich the sponge layers together and coat the top and sides of the cake.
Hmmm, my only problem is the cake pans. I may have to get creative with large cupcake tins. I'll add photos later.
For more Irish chocolate goodness, try one of these Irish Hot Chocolate recipes. Here's my version, which combines all my favorite things:
1-2 shots espresso
1/2 cup milk
2-3 oz milk or dark chocolate
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp Bailey's Irish Creme
1 tbsp Irish Whiskey
In a small saucepan, combine milk and chocolate and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Add sugar. Pour over espresso. Add Irish Whiskey and Bailey's. Top with whipped cream. In a word... YUM. Alternatively, you could just heat the milk and add 2 tbsp powdered cocoa, or Nestle's cocoa, if you really want to make it easy.
And last, but not least, some recipes for making your own Irish Creme Liqueur. I don't know if these recipes are true to the Bailey's I love, I'll have to try them and see, because they use both chocolate and coffee! Who knew? That may explain why I like Bailey's so much, eh? Heheh.
* Irish Cream Liqueur - from allrecipes.com, best if left to sit for a month
* Quick Irish Cream Liqueur - also from allrecipes.com, but an easier and faster version
* Irish Cream Liqueur - another variation from drinksmixer.com
Well, that wraps up Irish week for me. I hope you all have a wonderfully green day! Here's an Irish blessing to send you on your way:
May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
from Irish Blessings