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.