Cooking With Guinness: A Chocolate Stout Cake

My husband and I not only met on St. Patrick's Day but also married on that day nine years later. We met at an Orphaned Kittens' Peace Summit (We met at a bar, OK? But this sounds much less sleazy, so I'm going with it. Hi Mom!), and on that fateful night, I was wearing a leprechaun's hat that I had stolen off a drunken leprechaun at the Orphaned Kittens' Peace Summit the year before. Despite my pilfered chapeau, and my future husband's shyness, he walked me to my car that first night and even laid a kiss on me. A kiss that almost made me wreck my car as I was busy trying to put my socks back on.

On our first date, which was the following Thursday, we went back to the Orphaned Kittens' Peace Summit to watch UNC play Texas Tech in the Sweet Sixteen, as the NCAA tournament was going on at the time. When we walked into the Summit, the first person we saw was my worst nightmare. MY BROTHER. My loud, boisterous, love-you-to-death-but-you've-been-too-long-at-the-Peace-Summit BROTHER. Now, my future husband had attended the Texas Tech game the weekend before, and saw one of their players shatter the backboard with incredible intensity. Even though UNC was a number one seeded team, he felt strongly that they would be knocked off that night, which would be a HUGE upset. With conviction on his side and kittens in his heart, he bet my brother $20 that Texas Tech would win that night, and guess what... it happened. My future husband won the bet. And 17 years later, my brother STILL hasn't paid up, the chump.

Nine years later, we stole away and married at the courthouse in Manhattan on St Patrick's Day. After our ceremony (which was literally 45 seconds long... ah, romance), we attended the big parade in the city and then ate a fancy steak dinner. Six months later, back home in Baltimore, we had a huge party with all our friends and family, great food, a blues band, and an open bar. On that day, as my chump brother kept his wallet closed while giving a toast that made me cry louder than a bag of kittens on the side of the road, I thanked my lucky leprechaun for bringing me such an incredible man with whom to spend my life. And those kittens. I thanked the orphaned kittens, too.

For our anniversary, I love to make this cake as an ode to our official day of kitten love. The Guinness cuts the sweetness, giving this cake a depth of flavor that is just incredible. The Irish cream dark chocolate ganache? Well, that is my gift of Irish love to you. And I'm not even Irish.

Click here for the recipe for the Chocolate Stout Cake Dark Chocolate Irish Cream Ganache.

— Dawn Diffenderffer-Baker, The