Can you believe it is March? I am so excited about this month. Hopefully the snow is beginning to melt in your neck of the woods and spring colors are beginning to blossom. My favorite color is everywhere, and just about every green recipe you could imagine is popping up in my internet feed. And with all of these green desserts around, you’re going to want to add something like this Green Velvet Cake with Jameson Irish Whiskey Buttercream to your list for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
Have you ever thought about what exactly makes a cake a “velvet” cake? Is it because there is a hint of vinegar in the mix? Is it because there is a lot of dye in the cake? The origins and history of velvet cake are not the easiest to track down. Red velvet cakes use red food coloring, but it is the reaction of acidic vinegar and buttermilk that tends to better reveal the red anthocyanin in the cocoa and keeps the cake moist, light, and fluffy. If you use a dutch processed cocoa, the red color is less pronounced. Now, I found out something interesting as I was making the green velvet cake during round one of recipe testing when I exchanged the red coloring for the green. I decided I wanted to give the green velvet cake more of a chocolate flavor, so I added an extra teaspoon of cocoa powder. I did not think one extra tiny little teaspoon of cocoa would make that big of a difference in the color of the batter. I was very wrong. The vibrant green color turned into army fatigue green. Not at all what I was going for with the recipe. When I tested the cake the second time, I only used one teaspoon of cocoa powder and the cake color turned out great.
With a vibrant color and great flavor, this cake is sure to win over that finicky St. Patrick’s Day crowd.
Green Velvet Cake
Adapted from Cakeman Raven, Cakeman Raven Confectionary, NYC
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 tbsp green food coloring
- 1 tsp white distilled vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare three 8″ cake pans. Spray pans with non-stick spray and line with parchment. I recommend wrapping cake pans with bake even strips, but it’s not necessary.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
- In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
- Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.
- Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart.
- Bake for 20 minutes, checking every couple of minutes after until the cakes are done and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and place on a cooling rack. After about 20 minutes, remove cakes from the pan. Let cool completely.
Many people ask me how I get my cakes so even and flat. It all starts with the foundation. I wanted to share a few easy tips that will help you get rid of that dome. First, measure the amount of batter that goes in to each cake pan. The reason I put the bowl between the pan and the scale is simply because it helps me see the measurement more clearly. This will help you achieve nice even layers.
See how nice and flat those cakes are? For a long time I wondered if I should buy Wilton’s Bake Even Strips. Then I stumbled upon a blog post about Ron Ben Israel and how he felt about these amazing little strips. Ron uses them, and that is all I needed to know. Before, I would have to cut so much cake off the top when trimming the rounds, but this product helps me out a lot as they keep the cake from rising too fast.
Jameson Irish Whiskey Buttercream
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup non hydrogenated shortening (I use Spectrum)
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 tbsp Jameson Irish Whiskey
- 2 lbs powdered sugar sifted
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp meringue powder
- 2 tbsp half and half
- In a bowl, whisk meringue powder with the powdered sugar. You don’t have to use meringue powder. The meringue powder just helps create the cream cheese frosting crust.
- Cream shortening and butter together until nice and smooth.
- Add cream cheese, extract, whiskey, and salt. Beat until combined.
- While your mixer is on low, gradually add your powdered sugar.
- Once it is all combined. Beat until creamy, about 1 minute.
Note: Since the buttercream contains cream cheese, it is perishable, so it must be refrigerated if not used right away.
- If your layers are not flat, take a serrated knife and cut a thin layer off the top. Place face down.
- Pipe a layer of icing on the cake. I like piping on the buttercream because it make a nice even layer.
- Smooth with an offset spatula. Repeat.
- Pipe in rows around the cake sides.
- Smooth with an offset spatula to complete the thin crumb coat.
- Place buttercream that’s not used back in the bowl. Cover.
- Place the cake in the refrigerator to let the buttercream set.
- Once the buttercream has set, about 20 minutes, remove from the refrigerator and apply the leftover buttercream to the sides of the cake.
- Decorate as desired.
Do you have any fun traditions around your house for St. Patrick’s Day?