Thursday, May 31, 2012

Irish Birthday Cake

I've mentioned before that I have no shame when it comes to convenience foods.  One of my favorites is the boxed cake mix.

Oh, sure, I make cakes from scratch, too.  Some of those recipes are wonderful and worth the little extra effort.  But the boxed cake mix makes life so much easier when you need a dish in a hurry.

What's more, there are so many ways to spruce up a boxed mix to make it extra special.  When I was young, my mom made something she called "poppyseed bread."  There was nothing "bread" about it; it was cake, pure and simple.  It started with a box of yellow cake mix, some coconut instant pudding, and a mess of poppyseeds.  I could eat a whole loaf in a single sitting.

In fact, there are so many ways to trick out a boxed cake mix, there's even a book called The Cake Mix Doctor.  I highly recommend the chocolate cake made with sour cream and raspberry puree.  Delish!

Recently, I attended a birthday party (sort of a grown-up slumber party:  a handful of girlfriends, take-out pizza, some schlocky chick flicks, and CAKE).  I chose this cake for a couple of reasons:  (1) it was fast to whip together; (2) I had a bottle of Irish cream liqueur in my pantry, and I'm not much of a drinker; and (3) it looked so, so good.

Dang, it was awesome.  The crumb is dense and moist, almost fudgy.  The Irish cream in the cake itself is just a subtle note, but the liqueur in the buttercream gives it just the right depth of flavor, that heady hint of whiskey and a finish reminiscent of good French roast.  Yum.

Delicious, dense, fudgy cake!

As an added bonus, I got the recipe from the Betty Crocker website (in the interest of time and tidiness, I left off the chocolate glaze and it was still heavenly).  It was such a hit, I think I'll be perusing the company's website for more delicious dishes I can whip up in a pinch.

What about you?  What's your favorite convenience food?  Or are you a "strictly from scratch" person?

Simple, ingredients
Irish Birthday Cake

1 box devil's food cake mix
1 box (4 serving size) chocolate instant pudding
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 c. Irish cream liqueur
1/3 c. oil

Irish Buttercream

1 c. softened butter
4 oz. softened cream cheese
3 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. Irish cream liqueur
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350; spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray.

Combine all cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mixing until well-combined.  Divide batter between pans and bake 35 - 45 minutes (until tester inserted near center comes out clean).  Cool 10 minutes on wire rack, then remove cake from pans and cool completely.

Sour cream creates a silky batter
For buttercream, cream butter and cream cheese.  Beat in powdered sugar until smooth and fluffy.  Add liqueur and vanilla and combine.

For pretty frosting, start with a thin "crumb coat", refrigerate for 30 minutes, and then use the rest of the frosting.  This keeps the crumbs from popping through and leaves the finished cake pristine!

Place one cake on a platter and top with 1/3 of the frosting.  Top with second cake and use remaining frosting to cover top and sides.  Chill until ready to serve.


  1. This looks fabulous Wendy! But I'm here to say that I tried your roasted broccoli from last week. YUM!! Absolutely great and ridiculously easy. I'll be making it again, and again. Thanks!

    1. Julie - so glad you liked the roasted broccoli! The yin to the calorie-bomb yang of this cake. :)

  2. Wonderful Post! If there's ever a day I need a cake all to myself it's today and this recipe has all my favorite ingredients. I for one love boxed cake mix. It's not a problem at my house. I save the made from scratch cakes for Christmas, Easter and Birthdays. I just love this blog too. Not often do I post but I always make the time to read it. Thank you Windy and :)

    1. Quick! If you whip this up right now, you'll have time to devour the whole thing before anyone else gets home. :)

  3. Hi Shawn - good to see you today!

  4. Sounds wonderful! my favorite go to dessert right now is a version of a lemon cake mix that makes some wicked good lemon bars. Thanks to my rep I am able to pass them off as home made, but they are just too easy!

    Thanks for sharing and I was just th9nking of you as we hit 95 degrees over the weekend. Time to break out the ice cream maker

    occasionally Year on the Grill, but mostly

  5. Dave - if you check out the picture of the ingredients, it looks like there's snow on the roof of our garage. Nah, that's just blinding sun glaring off the gray shingles. We've already hit a heat index of 100. So, uh, yeah ... it's ice cream and sorbet season!!

  6. This is definitely going in my recipe box! Yum! Love the idea about the crumb coat, too. I'd never heard of that before! Let's see, whose birthday is next in the family...

  7. I also discovered Betty Crocker recipes recently and regret not discovering it years ago. I made the "Impossible East Breakfast Bake" and it was a HUGE success. Can't wait to bake this cake for company this weekend! :)

  8. Wendy, I love what I call dump cakes, putting everything in you like to a mix cake. My limitations make it impossible for me to have this specific one, but I can do the poppyseed coconut with a gluten-free Betty Crocker mix. And I make this version, just using rum instead of the Irish cream liquor (whiskey is out for me). So tasty, so moist!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Avery aka Daryl