A friend of mine told me that her mother used to make these little Irish snack cakes for them when they were little. She described them as basically a yellow sheet cake that was cut into cubes, glazed in a powdered sugar glaze, and rolled in chopped salted peanuts. I don’t know if they’re a real Irish treat or if they’re another American “Irish” invention, sort of like corned beef and cabbage, but they sounded yummy anyway and it seemed like they wouldn’t be too hard to make so I tried making up my own version.
The cake is just a basic Cook’s Illustrated yellow cake recipe, but I put a little twist on the glaze by spiking it with Bailey’s Irish Cream. The “stones” turned out with the moist, chewy consistency of cake pops. They weren’t overly sweet and the saltiness of the peanuts made a nice balance. I served these for dessert on St. Patrick’s Day and everyone liked them. I had put them in the fridge so they were nice and cold and went great with a cup of after-dinner coffee. They were so easy to do, too. I think I just might be making these for St. Paddy’s Day every year from now on.
- ½ cup whole milk at room temperature
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1¾ cups flour
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 2 sticks butter, cut into pieces and softened
- 1 recipe Irish Cream Glaze (see below)
- 3 cups lightly salted peanuts, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Grease a jelly roll pan, line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the parchment paper.
- Whisk milk, eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl.
- Using stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on low speed until combined.
- Add butter to flour mixture, one piece at a time, mixing until only pea-size pieces remain, about 1 minute.
- Increase speed to medium high and add all but ½ cup milk mixture, beating until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Reduce speed to medium low, add remaining ½ cup milk mixture and beat just until incorporated. Batter will look a bit curdled.
- Give batter a final stir by hand and pour into prepared pan smoothing top with a rubber spatula.
- Bake about 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Let cake cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely.
- While cake is cooling, make Glaze and pour peanuts into a shallow bowl or pie plate.
- Cut cooled cake into small 1-inch squares.
- Coat each cake square with glaze.
- Gently press all sides into chopped peanuts.
IRISH CREAM GLAZE
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
NOTE: Glaze will thicken and firm up as it cools. If it starts to thicken while you’re still coating the cake squares, just microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then continue working. If you want a non-alcoholic dessert, replace the Bailey’s Irish Cream with milk. Also, depending on how thickly you coat the cake squares, you could run out of glaze and may have to whip up a second batch.