Hi friends! It’s time to put on your cake pants—or cake shorts, since summer has officially arrived—because I’ve got a new cake recipe that you won’t want to miss! But before I get to that, let’s catch up for a minute. Things have been pretty topsy-turvy in the Cake Pants household, but in a good way!
At the end of April, in a whirlwind of pomp, circumstance, and goofy hats, I graduated with a PhD from the University of Michigan. Go Blue!
Then, after stuffing ourselves with cherry pie made with the last of my precious stock of Michigan tart cherries, my dad and I loaded up the car, wedged a rather anxious Phoebe in among the odds and ends from my apartment, and drove two thousand miles to my new home in California. One month later, the fiancé and I got married!
That’s right, we are now Mr. and Mrs. Cake Pants! Or alternatively, Dr. and Dr. Cake Pants. Either way, if this isn’t a good reason to eat a bunch of cake, I don’t know what is—but then again, when does anyone ever need a reason to eat cake other than it being a day ending in –y?
This chocolate Irish cream poke cake was born out of desperation, after several attempts at a Mother’s Day dessert went awry, but as luck would have it, this cake turned out to be a hit! It’s hard to go wrong when you’ve got fluffy, moist chocolate cake punctuated by fudgy Irish cream ganache and topped with sweet whipped cream. I recommend eating this cake chilled, as it’s surprisingly refreshing on even the hottest of days—and trust me, I would know, since it was 101 degrees outside (and not much cooler inside) on the day I photographed it!
Now that the move and the wedding are behind us, the husband (the hubs? Cake Pants dude? I’ll have to work on an updated moniker…) and I are trying to settle into married life/post-grad school life together and find our new normal, but I think it’ll take some getting used to. Do you have any advice for us during this transition? We’d love to hear from you!
- 1 2/3 cups flour
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- chocolate sprinkles (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until all the lumps have been broken up.
- Add the water, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract to the mixture of dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack.
- Once the cake has cooled, use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes in the cake (about 20-25 holes). Poke the handle into the middle of the cake, but not all the way to the bottom.
- Place 1-2 inches of water in the bottom of a medium pot. Heat the water on medium low, and place a heat-safe glass bowl on top of the pot. The water in the pot should not be in contact with the bowl. Place the chocolate chips and butter in the glass bowl. Heat until melted, stirring periodically. Once the mixture has melted completely, remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the Irish cream. Let the ganache cool for a few minutes (it should still be a pourable consistency).
- Spread the ganache over the cake, making sure that it goes into each of the holes poked into the cake. Transfer the cake to the refrigerator.
- Place the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a chilled mixing bowl and beat with a whisk attachment on high until stiff peaks form.
- Once the ganache is firm to the touch, spread the whipped cream on top. Finish with chocolate sprinkles if desired.
- In the refrigerator, the ganache will harden into a more or less solid layer. If you prefer a softer ganache, let the cake sit at room temperature for up to one hour before serving.
Heather @ Sweet Precision says
Congratulations Mara! What a whirlwind of activity you’ve had the past couple months! Your wedding photo looks absolutely gorgeous, I love your dress! I’m so glad you are getting settled in your new location and I’m impressed that the blog is up and running again 🙂 I was just looking at my cherries in the freezer this past weekend and getting excited thinking about what I will do with them!
Thanks so much, Heather! There have definitely been a lot of big life events lately, but there’s been some downtime too. I’m excited to hear what you make with the cherries! By the way – I saw that Wasem Fruit Farm has their tart cherry u-pick starting on July 1st, if you want to restock 😉 And their cherry doughnuts…I miss them already!
Congratulations on the graduation and the Mr. and Mrs. and the cake looks absolutely heavenly! I think I might have had a piece?
Thanks! Yes, I didn’t get a chance to photograph the cake that you had, but this is the same one!
Cake Lover says
Woohoo!! Your recent wonderful life events certainly call for celebrating with cake! Yummy looking cake – did you have to photograph it in the refrigerator? I am not a fan of hot weather, but I am a fan of this cake recipe. Thanks for sharing it and I look forward to new blog posts from the new Mrs. Cake Pants. Congrats!
Thank you! I didn’t have to photograph it in the fridge (if only that were an option!), but the plate did have to go back into the freezer for a few minutes mid-shoot! I hope you get a chance to try this 🙂
Congrats on everything!! Just wow
Thanks, Patrick! We’ll have to celebrate with some burgers soon – my husband saw your recent post and commented to me about how good they look 🙂
David @ Spiced says
Mara! Congratulations on, well, everything. Talk about a crazy busy time! I absolutely love the wedding photo, and I really hope you guys are settling into a new normal. Life transitions are hard…especially in the post-college world. When Laura and I moved up here to upstate New York, it took a while before we settled in. Interestingly enough, it was when we wandered in (and subsequently joined) the local curling club that we finally felt like this was home. So look for a curling club in your area! (Seriously.) Now as far as this cake, it sounds like my kind of dessert. Chocolate. Irish Cream. Cake. I mean all three of those are perfection, so putting them together sounds irresistible! I can’t wait to hear more of your adventures.
Oh, and I still want to read that dissertation at some point! 🙂
Thanks so much, David! That’s awesome about the curling club, and a great recommendation – I hadn’t thought to look for clubs, but that sounds like a great way to meet people. And keep an eye out for an email from me – I’ll send over some light bedtime reading 😉
HomeSweetJones (@HomeSweetJones) says
Holy cow! Congratulations!! PhD, wedding, move – so many life changes. I’ll have to celebrate by making this cake this weekend. It looks so amazing!
Thanks so much, Maggie! I hope you love this cake as much as we do if you give it a try 🙂
Congratulations on your graduation and wedding! Wow, what awesome photos. this recipe looks delicious!
Thanks, Mary! I hope you get a chance to try the recipe 🙂
I hope so, too!
Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop says
Congratulations! What an amazing couple of months for you and your husband! My advice – eat cake everyday! Okay, maybe that’s not really a good idea….but how about celebrate something everyday! And then eat cake every once in awhile. 🙂
Thanks, Kathy! I like that advice to celebrate something each day – it seems especially useful in getting through a case of the Mondays, like we’ve got today!
Angie | Fiesta Friday says
Congratulations! On the wedding, the move, the graduation…must have been a whirlwind month! All exciting stuff! My advice is to just take a deep breath and enjoy each other everyday as much as you can. Before long, pitter patter of little feet will come and then, who will have time to make cakes? Just kidding, lol. I’m sure you’re a very organized type of person and will be able to schedule your cake making time just fine 😄
Thanks, Angie, and thanks for the advice! We should definitely try to be mindful and appreciate each other’s company, even when we’re just running errands or doing chores together. Or eating cake!
Congratulations on all of your accomplishments–doctor and a Mrs! Also, this cake looks wonderful!
Thanks, Kat! I’m so glad you stopped by 🙂
Congrats on the PhD… what field did you earn your doctorate in? (My brother got a BA at the University of Michigan, years ago.) And on the wedding, and the move! Busy lady!
This cake looks chocolatey and moist and tasty… Thanks for sharing with the fine folk at Fiesta Friday!
Thanks, Diann! I love that there are so many Michigan connections wherever I go! My degree is in Classical Studies. Thanks for hosting this week 🙂
Congratulations, Mara! What an exciting few months you have had! I’m sorry you are not with me in Michigan anymore, but I’m sure California is very lovely. 🙂 Let me tell you, it’s really hot and muggy here this week! This cake looks delicious and definitely celebratory. Enjoy your new life, and enjoy time with your husband! 🙂
Thanks so much, Jenny! I have to admit that I miss Michigan already (especially with the tart cherries in season right now) – although I don’t miss the humidity! I hope you’re finding ways to keep cool.
Jeff the Chef says
Congratulations! I’ve got some advice for you: first, bake a lot of these cakes. Never underestimate the power of a good cake. Second: marriage is wonderful, but it takes work. Don’t fear the work, or regard the necessity for work as a bad sign. You don’t just “get married.” You build a marriage. (P.S. I’m wiring this to you from the Leelanau Peninsula – cherry country! I’ll eat a slice of cherry pie for you!)
Thanks, Jeff – that sounds like very sage advice (on both counts)! I’m very much a realist, so I always appreciate advice of that sort. And I hope that you eat ALL THE CHERRIES/CHERRY PIE!!!
My friend has reactions with whip cream and cheese what can I replaced for the whip cream?
Hi Marie! Instead of whipped cream, you can make (or buy) whipped coconut cream. The brand So Delicious makes a coconut whipped topping, which I believe is typically found in the freezer section. If you’d like to make it from scratch, I have the instructions written out in this recipe: http://putonyourcakepants.com/2016/04/25/black-forest-poke-cake/