♥ Irish Car Bomb Birthday Cake

Fudgey boozey goodness.

The baby J.

My two favorite Irish boys share a birthday today. It may be just another birthday for J, but our boy, ‘S’, is celebrating a milestone today: he’s turning 21. Twenty one. Holy cow! I am waaaay too young to have a child that old. Even so, there is a 21 year-old man out there that calls me “mom”. Oy.

The baby S.

Actually, I was quite young when I had him; young and stupid. I didn’t have a clue about being pregnant or taking care of a baby, for that matter. But I read everything that I could on the subject.

S at 3 days.

This was back in the day before Google. I actually had to go to the library (uphill in the snow both ways, of course) and check out books to read on the subject. There was no such thing as downloading to my Kindle, either.

I probably did everything wrong, according to the “experts”. I didn’t eat meat. I didn’t drink milk. I didn’t care how much weight I gained (and I gained a lot). I held him every time he fussed, while the MIL clucked in disapproval. I kept him in my bed at night because I was exhausted and because he wouldn’t have it any other way. I nursed him until he was two and I made his baby food myself. Baby food from real food, not from jars.

I hope that makes up for everything else that I put him through. Like being totally clueless. And the low paying job with the long hours while I worked my way through college. And the years following while I worked my way up the professional ladder. Sure, the pay was better  . . . but the hours were just as long. And he spent too much time in daycare, as far as I was concerned.

He often cringes when he sees these old pictures. Some of the outfits make him question just what I was thinking (or what I was on). The bow tie and suspender shorts? I’m sorry, S; I really don’t know what I was thinking. But, over time, the clothing situation in the portraits did improve.

Then again, maybe that is all a matter of perspective.

Regardless, there is really no valid excuse for letting him wear the mullet.

I’m sorry for that. Okay, not really.

Despite all that, he grew up to be a fine young man.

He has brains and an extraordinary sense of compassion (he’s a vegan by choice). He has a wicked sense of humor, too.

I still marvel at the miracle of it all. I must have done something right.

♥     ♥     ♥

A special birthday calls for a special birthday cake, for both of my boys.

Gone are the days when S had his very own birthday cake to demolish, some of which actually wound up in his mouth. While we snapped a million photos.

Now that he’s all grown up–and he’s heard my lecture on drinking responsibly and enjoying alcohol in moderation a million times already (blah, blah, blah)–it’s time to make an adult kind (the best kind) of cake.

I’ve always wanted to try an Irish car bomb cake. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I modified our favorite chocolate cake recipe, using Creamy Baileys in place of the non-dairy milk, chocolate stout in place of the coffee and Irish whiskey in place of the vanilla extract.

This cake is definitely not for the kids. Or the teetotalers. The alcohol will bake out of the cake, but the ganache and the frosting aren’t baked and they will be full strength.

Sorry, S, you don’t get your own cake this time. And you can’t eat this one with your hands.

♥     ♥     ♥

Irish Car Bomb Cake


Chocolate Cake:

2 cups granulated sugar

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Ener-G egg replacer to equal 2 eggs

1 cup Creamy Baileys

1/2 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or Irish whiskey)

1 cup of hot chocolate stout (I warmed it in a saucepan)

Chocolate Ganache:

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate pieces

2/3 cup Creamy Baileys

2 Tablespoons non-dairy butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (we like Jameson)

Chocolate Frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) non-dairy butter, melted

2/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa

1 teaspoon Irish whiskey

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/3 cup Creamy Baileys


Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour 2 baking pans; set aside.

Cake: whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the egg replacer, Creamy Baileys, oil and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Add the liquid, except the stout, to the dry and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add the chocolate stout and continue to beat just to combine (the batter will be thin). Pour the batter immediately into the prepared pans. Tap the pans on the counter to release the air bubbles and place the pans on the middle rack in the pre-heated oven.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the pans from the oven and let cool 10 minutes before removing from the pans to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Ganache: Heat the Creamy Baileys until it’s simmering. Place the chocolate pieces in a heat safe bowl and pour the heated Baileys over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute and then stir it until it’s smooth. If it isn’t completely smooth, heat it for about 20 seconds in the microwave and stir well. Add the non-dairy butter and the Irish whiskey and stir until combined and smooth. Let the ganache cool until it’s thick, stirring occasionally, but still soft enough to spread.

Place one of the cooled cake layers on the serving plate and pour the ganache over the top, spreading it so that it covers the top evenly (I hollowed out the center of the cake slightly for the ganache).  Be careful not to let it pour down the sides of the cake. Place the second layer of the cake on top of the ganache.

Frosting: melt the non-dairy butter and beat in the cocoa and the Irish whiskey. Alternately add the powdered sugar and the Creamy Baileys, beating on medium speed, to a spreadable consistency. Add more Baileys if necessary. Frost the cake as desired.

If you want, drizzle the remaining ganache over the top of the frosted cake.

♥     ♥     ♥

Happy birthday, baby S! I've always loved you.


19 responses to “♥ Irish Car Bomb Birthday Cake

  1. Happy Birthday to your lovely grown-up boy. I think you probably did most things right, but what parent or “expert” truly knows what is right. We can only do what we believe is best, and hope we’ve chosen well. Sounds like you’re pretty proud of your boys, and I’d guess they’re pretty happy with their mom, too. The cake sounds amazing, and the perfect adult version of sweet celebration.

  2. Happy birthday to your son! I know how you feel about not always knowing if you’re doing right by them, but somehow, things seem to turn out. 🙂

    That cake looks really good! I probably wouldn’t eat it (I don’t drink at all), but my in-laws would love it. My MIL’s birthday is coming up, so I’ll have to make this (and a requested cheesecake) for the family.

  3. Happy birthday to your boy! Personally, I think the fact that you dressed him in such awesome clothing (suspenders!) is incontrovertible proof that you’re a fantastic mom. 🙂

    And, um, I have no words for that cake. No words.

  4. Holy moly, that is one rich and boozy cake! Absolutely perfect for a 21st birthday alright. 😉

  5. Looking at the luscious icing alone sent me into a sugar fit! It does sound delicious even though I’m not much of a drinker either. Happy Birthday to your son! Good job mom!

  6. Really good post – love all the pics! Someday he’ll forgive you for showing some of those to complete strangers 😉 but until then, all you have to do is look at Matt Smith’s Dr Who to know that bow ties and suspenders are cool!
    I like how you tied it all in to the cake.
    The lesson here, tho’, is that Moms are the best! End of story.

  7. Happy b-day to your son! You know what they say, hindsight is 20/20. Everybody has embarrassing pics from their childhood. 🙂 Great looking cake, love that it’s heart shaped!

  8. This is such a BEAUTIFUL post! So sweet. And the cake is seriously making my drool… Wow, that looks good.

  9. Hi Christina, I found your blog via Cadry’s Kitchen and had to tell you how much I loved this post. I can also relate to having a child at a very young age and not knowing whether I was doing the right things, or still are for that matter! Happy birthday to S and your cake looks truly wonderful!

  10. Why, thank you! I just snuck a peak at your blog and even though I was full from dinner, I find myself suddenly hungry again. Your food preferences are right up my alley. Thanks for finding me; I am putting you in the reader.

  11. Pingback: ♥ Sausage, Chestnut And Mushroom Stuffing | it's a Greyt Vegan Life

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