15 March, 2014

Yum of the Irish!

Oooh...  It is one of my favorite holidays in just a couple of days!  St. Patrick's Day, a holiday celebrated with happiness and great pride, is one of the most revered holidays worldwide...even by those who can't prove they are Irish.  It is quite hilarious, but everyone and their uncle claims Irish heritage on this day and most of them with no proof or genealogical knowledge of their ancestors whatsoever.  I however know for a fact that I have Ireland in my blood not too far back on my paternal Grandmother's side.  My Mister's paternal family line can be traced back to Irish royalty.  It was an amazing find!

Last year I posted a recipe for Irish Soda Bread that really hits the spot and quite frankly puts most dinner table breads to shame, even if there ARE only four ingredients in the loaf.  This year for my celebration I decided to make a loverly cake for dessert rather than something for our main meal.  It wasn't easy to choose what I was going to make because they honestly have some of the best desserts out there.  I narrowed my choices down to Irish Tea Cake (a basic butter cake that is very versatile), Chocolate Potato Cake, Apple Amber, or Chocolate Orange Guinness Cake.  Difficult decision to make...sweet, simple butter cake, a super soft chocolate bundt cake, a rich apple pie with a meringue topping, or a moist, rich cake filled with chocolatey orange goodness with a slight gingerbread taste in the background.  Golly...  I had to think about this and ask my Foodnatic fans.

What they came back with didn't surprise me one bit...  A majority of the fans wanted to see a recipe for Chocolate Potato Cake.  The potatoes make this cake SO moist and scrumptious I wasn't about to override their decision, even if Apple Amber (a rich apple bottom pie topped with sweet meringue) DID sound awful interesting.  Let's get to it!

Chocolate Potato Cake
2 sticks unsalted organic butter, room temperature
2 1/3 c. caster sugar
4 organic brown eggs
5 (5 oz.) squares of high quality unsweetened baking chocolate
5 heaping T. almond meal (walnuts or pecans work as well)
1 c. of cooked potatoes, riced
2 1/2 c. cake flour (regular flour is fine if that's all you've got)
2 heaping tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. organic milk (I used unsweetened almond milk, why not?)

cocoa powder

Milk Chocolate Drizzle
10 oz. high quality milk chocolate chips
4 T. unsalted butter

Start your potatoes cooking first.  Peel then cook 2 medium sized or 3 small potatoes in UNSALTED water.  When still slightly hot, rice the potatoes into a bowl and set aside.  DO NOT add the potatoes to the cake batter while even a TAD warm.  It will completely ruin the rise of the batter!!  Wait until they are completely cool.  (Honestly, I always have potatoes baked and in my fridge for random reasons.  I used an already baked potato for this recipe...it killed two birds with one stone.  Cooked...and cooled.  BAM!)

Next, prepare your cake pan by greasing it up with shortening (less water content means a better chance of cake not sticking to the pan).  Mix your cocoa powder and flour together then toss it into the greased cake pan and work it round in the pan until all the grease is covered in the mixture.  Set the prepared pan aside and begin your cake batter.

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Using a grater, grate the baking chocolate and melt it down double boiler style and then mash it into the cold potatoes.  It warms the potato up enough to mash it easily while simultaneously cooling down the chocolate.  Fabulous...

Sift the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder together in a small bowl and set aside.

Begin the cake batter by creaming together the butter and 2 c. caster sugar until it is fluffy.  Separate your eggs into two bowls.  Add the YOLKS only into the cake batter ONE at a time, completely incorporating each one before adding another.  Stir in the cooled chocolate/potato mixture making sure it is completely mixed in.  Mix in the almond meal.  Add flour, alternating with the milk until both are in the batter and the batter is smooth and silky.

In a large bowl whip the egg whites and remaining 1/3 c. caster sugar until stiff, but not dry.  Carefully fold the whites into the chocolate cake batter and turn out the batter into the greased and floured bundt pan.  Tap the pan very gently on the top of your counter so the batter settles well.

Bake for 1 hour then test for doneness by inserting a toothpick.  If the toothpick doesn't remove completely clean, allow the cake to bake for another 10-20 minutes (the potatoes in the batter make for an extremely dense batter before adding the whipped whites, as such....it takes quite a while for it to bake).

Remove from the oven when done and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before turning the cake out of the pan.  To finish the cake either drizzle some loverly caramel sauce or chocolate ganache on top or...dust the whole cake with powdered sugar when the cake is COMPLETELY cooled.

I honestly didn't expect this cake to turn out as well as it did.  It was quite a fuss to work with but, it was wonderful.  Not as rich as I worried it would be and not as sweet either.  That is why I chose a milk chocolate drizzle for it.  It seemed to be begging for something sweet when I tried a bit of crumb from the cake.  Honestly, you could get the same sweet satisfied by putting a dollop of sweet whipped cream on a slice of this.  But the chocolate of the cake itself was so delicate, the drizzle really helped bring it home for the chocolate lover in me.  The Mister approved, even though he told me he'd rather have it with just a light dusting of powdered sugar.  We'll be having this again so we can try it his way next time.  The Sprout was keenly interested in this beauty when it made its way out of the oven.  But as soon as I put the drizzle on it, according to the Sprout, I had "ruined" the cake.  He likes chocolate but "not that much".  Live and learn....live and learn.

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