I never gave much thought to St. Patrick’s Day until seven years ago. Before that, I would don green clothing for the holiday, particularly if I thought I’d be around people who’d get a thrill out of pinching non-conformists. But aside from that, the day came and went every year without much fanfare on my part. All that changed on March 17, 2011, when instead of going out to a bar to celebrate with the rest of Boston, I spent the evening studying at a Panera Bread with the man who quickly became my best friend.
It was the unassuming beginning of what became our story, with all it’s bumps and turns, joys and tears. On that cold New England holiday we warmed ourselves with tea. During little study breaks, he made me laugh and remember to not take myself and life so seriously. He’s done the same every day since. St. Patrick’s Day became our holiday and an anniversary of sorts. It wasn’t our first date, but it was the beginning of a partnership, even if we didn’t know it that night.
Exactly three years later, we got engaged. Tomorrow marks the end of our seventh year as a team. In some ways, this date holds as much significance to me as the day we were married. We were young when we met and lot of life has happened in those years. And while we haven’t done it perfectly, somehow we’ve managed to steady each other when things are hard and leave space for one another to grow and change and become the people we want to be.
I tend to look to the future a lot–what’s next, what will life look like a year from now, how will I change, how should I change, things like that. But March 17th always reminds me to look back with gratefulness and to mine the years for the lessons I’ve learned along the way. That’s cause for celebration in my book.
For St. Patrick’s Day this year, we’ll celebrate in good fashion with Chocolate Guinness Cake and a pint as well. After all, it is a celebration.
If you like this Chocolate Guinness Cake, you might also like:
Chocolate Guinness Cake
- 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup Guinness or stout beer of choice
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 t fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 2 large eggs at room temperature beaten
- 3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9" springform pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the parchment as well and then lightly flour the whole pan.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on low heat. Once melted, add the Guinness, increase the heat to medium-low and bring to simmer. Once it's barely bubbling, take the mixture off of the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until completely combine. Then whisk in the sugars until completely combined. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes while you get the other ingredients together.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
In a measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, vanilla and eggs.
After the five minutes is up, whisk the buttermilk mixture into the Guinness mixture until completely combined. Gently whisk in the flour mixture. Be careful not to over mix, it will be a little lumpy and look a lot like pancake batter. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes. Remove when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out with moist crumbs, but no batter!
Let the cake cool in the pan on a cooling rack completely. Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a small mixing bowl with an electric mixer whip the cream cheese on low until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar until completely combined. Mix in the heavy cream on medium until the mixture thickens 1-2 minutes.
Once cooled, run a thin knife or offset spatula around the edge of the pan before releasing the cake from the pan. Ice with cream cheese frosting and enjoy!