Moist chocolate cake + buttercream + patriotic-colored sprinkles = The perfect way to cheer for Team USA at the Olympics!
I’m thrilled I get to blog about two of my favorite things: dessert and figure skating!
But it’s kind of long — and, I admit, a bit fangirly! — so I won’t be offended if you want to get to the recipe for these delicious whoopie pies; this is a food blog after all. You can scroll to the bottom of this entry for the recipe (and links to the other #LetsLunch entries)!
If you are willing to humor me, read on about why I decided to make whoopie pies for the Olympics.
Thanks to Mashable, Buzzfeed, Business Insider and about six million other websites, this video of 19-year-old Jason Brown skating (or Riverdancing?) his way to the 2014 Olympic Team has generated more than three million views on YouTube.
If you haven’t seen it. Go watch it. This entry will still be here. You will thank me.
But before this performance went viral, I ( and thousands of my closest skating friends) had the opportunity to see this amazing figure skating performance in person.
Last fall, I convinced my husband that it would be a great idea to take the cross-country trip to Boston to attend the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. I knew I would get to soak up the excitement of attending U.S. Nationals during an Olympic year and get to see a ton of skaters I’ve always wanted to see in-person.
Jason was one of them. I’d been a fan since 2011, when he first debuted as a senior at U.S. Nationals. Even though he didn’t have the big tricks (You hear a lot in the YouTube video about the fact he doesn’t have a quad, or the fact he struggled with the triple axel at one time. Quad jumps and triple axels are the hardest jumps any male figure skater had to do to be competitive).
No, it’s not your imagination, he’s skating to Prince!
But despite lacking the big tricks, there was something about Jason that caught my attention back then. He had charisma and really well-constructed programs. He can draw the crowd’s attention — even during a practice.
I find myself watching his programs over and over again. I would like his skating regardless of whether he has a triple axel (Though I’m thankful that he has one now!).
I am also a big fan of Kori Ade, his coach — an assertive and determined woman who wasn’t going to let a few naysayers get in the way of the goals she set for herself and for her students.
Coming into this Olympic season, Jason was one of several men who could nab one of the two Olympic spots, but was considered a dark horse at best. But then he was second place after the short program at Skate America, an international event, in October. Then he got the bronze medal at Trophee Eric Bompard, another international competition in France, in November.
So when I arrived in Boston last month, I was eager to see how my favorite men’s skater would do at U.S. Nationals. I knew there was so much competition for those two Olympic spots and that several skaterse had more difficult technical content than Jason. But I also knew that Jason had clean, well-choreographed programs that could score well. I decided I would just enjoy seeing him live and let things fall where they may.
A mix of delight and surprise when Jason received his huge score after his Riverdance free skate while his coach Kori Age flashes a big grin.
And luckily for me, that meant enjoying that electric performance that got him a spot on that Olympic team. The energy of the arena was amazing during his performance. As he nailed each element, the crowd got louder and louder. The crowd (including me) didn’t just clap for him. THEY ROARED. By the time he was doing his final step sequence, it was clear the audience was ready to stand up and cheer. It was an absolute thrill to be there.
And my husband, who did not care for the Riverdance music, liked Jason’s program anyway and was overall impressed with what he saw from him at U.S. Nationals. Jason has a new fan!
Jason is super friendly and gracious
Another highlight was meeting him during a practice. He a super nice guy. I have heard stories from other friends that he is very friendly and the most happiest and joyful person that you’ll ever met and I can say that those stories are definitely true.
You rock, Kori!
In fact, when I told him that I was also a big fan of Kori, his coach, he smiled and asked, “Do you want me to introduce you to her?” And he did! Then I gushed for five minutes about how much I loved the fact she was willing to hack (in a good way) her way to career success and overcome so many challenges.
I feel very privileged to have met them both and am absolutely thrilled that they’re both in Sochi!
When I decided to do an Olympic theme for my first time hosting gig for #LetsLunch, my monthly virtual lunch date with food bloggers from around the world, Jason and his Riverdance program came immediately to mind.
Here was my thought process for my #LetsLunch post:
Riverdance = Irish = alcohol.
Yeah, I know, that too easy and obvious.
But it wasn’t so easy to choose which direction I wanted to go. Do I make a stew? Something sweet?
I knew I wanted to do something with Guinness. I always enjoyed having a pint every so often and I knew that people made delicious food with it.
And then I thought about something I always wanted to make: whoopie pie. For those who are not familiar, it’s basically a sandwich of two cake-like cookies with a filling of marshmallow cream or other type of frosting . The ultimate American sweet treat.
So now I needed to learn to make a whoopie pie and to somehow incorporate Guinnesss in them.
Luckily, I did not have to reinvent the wheel. I came across the blog Baking with Whiskey, which had a great recipe for Guinness-infused chocolate whoopie pies (and that recipe was adapted from a recipe from one of my favorite recipe blogs, Smitten Kitchen). Even better was that whoopie pie cookies were filled with buttercream made of Bailey’s, the popular Irish Cream liquor. So now I had two types of Irish alcoholic beverages involved. WIN.
While picking up ingredients for this recipe, I also snagged a special Olympics edition of US Magazine. Yay!
The cakes were moist and the Guinness provided a nice contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate. The buttercream definitely had a nice kick from the Bailey’s. To complete my Olympic masterpiece, I sprinkled the whoopie pies with red, white and blue sprinkles.
Regardless of what happens in Sochi, I found a winning recipe that I can make well after the flame burns out!
I will be enjoying them while I watch Jason Brown’s Riverdance during the Olympics (or when I watch that YouTube video for the millionth time).
GO JASON and TEAM USA!
It’s hard to write with whipped cream! But it’s always fun to play with sprinkles!
Chocolate Guinness Whoopie Pies with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting
(recipe by Brit Wolfe of Baking with Whiskey)
1 cup of Guinness
1 cup of butter, softened (two sticks)
3/4 cup unsweetened coca powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup sour cream
Buttercream frosting1 cup butter at room temperature3-4 cups of powdered sugar3 to 4 tbsp of Bailey’s Irish Cream liquor
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Combine Guinness and butter in saucepan in medium heat until butter is melted.
- Bring to simmer, then add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Cool completely (30 minutes in room temperature should do it).
- Mix sour cream and eggs in an electric mixer until combined then add Guinness mixture.
- Mix up dry ingredients together and fold into batter. Chill for 10 minutes.
- Scoop rounded tablespoons of batter several inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Form each tablespoon into a small round. Back each sheet for 10-13 minutes.
- Whip the butter in an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, until the frosting becomes thick.
- Drizzle in the Bailey’s into the mixture and mix until combined. Add additional sugar (if necessary) if the frosting is too thin.
- Put a spoonful of frosting on a cookie. Press a second cookie on top until the frosting fills the entire are of book cookies. If necessary, add additional frosting on the sides.
- Over a bowl, add sprinkles to the frosted side of the sandwich.
I am so honored to host my first #LetsLunch and to get into the Olympic spirit with this month’s theme! Check out the other awesome Olympic-themed entries from my fellow #LetsLunch bloggers:
- Annabelle’s flaming cheese and adventures in Greektown at Glass of Fancy
- Anne Marie’s Sochi Sliders (and a super cute photo of her carrying the torch from the 2002 Olympics) at Sandwich Surprise
- Betty Ann’s Ham-Pineapple Garlic Rice in honor of Filipino Olympic athletes at Asian in America
- Cheryl’s Homemade Vegetarian Poutine and her 2010 Olympics memories at Miss Cheryl Tan
- Cheryl’s Solyanka at Tiger in the Kitchen
- Grace’s snowboarding adventures and her Coconut Hot Chocolate with Kahula at HapaMama.
- Jill’s Honeybell Chess Pie (Go Team Pie!) at Eating My Words
- Linda’s Guinness Ice Cream (more Guinness, yay!) in honor of the Jamaican bobsled team at Spicebox Travels
- Linda’s Meyer Lemon Cake (with gold medal candided lemons!) at Free Range Cookies
- Lisa’s Hot Borscht and the story behind this twist on a traditional Russian favorite at Monday Morning Cooking Club
- Lucy’s Russian Tea (and cheer for her hometown girl Elena Meyers) at A Cook and Her Books
- Margaret’s Olympic King Cake at Tea and Scones
- Nancie’s Kotleti: Mom’s Russian Hamburgers and a great book recommendation at Nancie McDermott.
#LetsLunch is a monthly virtual lunch date where food bloogers from around the world share recipes and stories around a different theme. We post the blog entries on Twitter and other social media channels using the hashtag #LetsLunch. Want to join us? Just tweet #LetsLunch! The more the merrier!