“A Suitcase and a Dream” Chocolate Stout Cake

Posted on: September 12th, 2010 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth thrown in. Aim at Earth and you get neither.” ~ C.S. Lewis, Irish-born theologian and author

Getting to a point in life that you can be truly proud of yourself is a STUNNING place to be. Let’s be stunning!” ~ Philip McKernan

No matter where you live and what your surroundings are like, if your inner self is not true and authentic, you will feel restless. Sometimes, though, it takes shift of your physical world to jolt your inner one.

Photo Credit: Philip McKernan

Philip McKernan came from a successful business family, all born and raised in Ireland. It was in his home in Ireland that he developed a passion for soccer & rugby, and he learned the pleasure of sipping a good dark stout. It was through his family businesses he found a love for travelling and meeting people all over the world, plus he acquired an affinity for fine wines.

From the coffee business to real estate to a winery, Philip had been involved in many successful ventures, but his biggest venture was yet to come. He was going to face an inner personal challenge. It has proven to be his most important venture of all.

He got a hint once after giving the Best Man speech at his close friend’s wedding. Philip had been diagnosed dyslexic as a child, so words and writing never came easily to him. He was anxious about the speech, so for his own comfort, he decided to be sincere rather than funny. He knew speaking from the heart was the easiest thing to do. He received a standing ovation that day and a stranger in the crowd walked up to him with tears rolling down his face. “I know I have never met you before but if I get married some day would you be my best man? You should do this professionally.” Its amazing how a total stranger can make such an impact.

Sensing a need to break out on his own, Philip and his wife Pauline made the decision to leave their native Ireland along with the family business and start something new in Canada. He had been to Canada for business and had serendipitously met several key real estate investors. He felt a connection with these people and saw it as an opportunity to start an investment business on his own in a new land.

Life has an interesting way of unfolding. Sometimes we start in one direction, but life turns us toward something new and it can take us by surprise. Philip now wonders if life was using investing as something of a ruse.

When Philip landed on Canadian soil, he looked at his suitcase and thought to himself, “I’m here with a suitcase in my hand and a dream in my heart. I am ready for whatever lies ahead.”

Philip’s investing business grew quickly and he began mentoring new startups. People then began asking him to speak. He started with small groups and it grew. Before long he had speaking engagements across the country.

Over time, he noticed a recurring theme. While many many people were happy with their businesses, there were too many who were miserable. They had set very high goals for themselves and had sacrificed too much to achieve them. Some had made poor decisions and their finances were in shambles. Others had given so much time to their businesses that their families were torn apart. Others had worked so hard that the stress had taken a physical toll.

Philip kept meeting people who had neglected the most important things in their lives hoping for a pay off down the road and he recognized the same struggle within himself. He knew he had to take the time to find out what really motivated his own self. He recognized that many external forces had influenced his decisions in life and he would only find peace of mind when he followed a path that was authentic to him and him alone.

One day in front of a crowd of investors he asked, “Who here is passionate about real estate?” Hands went up all over the room. “Really?!” he said, waving a brick in the air, “You’re passionate about THIS?!” Looking straight into the crowd, he said, “This is a world class investment, but it is not your heart’s true passion.” At that point, he recognized that his dream was not about investing, it was about changing people’s lives and it had started with his own.

People get busy doing important things, but Philip says we are not always stopping and asking the big questions. We need to question the norm. We need to question everything that we have allowed to influence us. We need to find out what gets us excited in our lives. We need to ask questions that challenge us to the core, then we need to be quiet and create an environment for the answers to come. We need to be able to listen to what comes from the center of our beings, for that is our authentic self speaking to us. It is a continual process we must do throughout our whole lives.

Philip left Ireland with a plan to build an investment business across the Atlantic. His dyslexia had always been a significant obstacle, so he never imagined he would conquer it and write two books – with more in the works. Philip found his real authentic purpose was beyond his investing plans. The true dream in his heart as he held his suitcase at the airport, was to speak, write and coach to help other people find their own authentic purpose.

Photo Credit: Philip McKernan

Philip and Pauline recently welcomed their first child, an adorable little boy named Charlie. Though they wish he could grow up like they did in Ireland, he will be Canadian. He will love Canadian sports and activities and food. He will feel at home in Canadian weather and the Rocky Mountains will be part of his identity.

You can be certain, though, that Philip and Pauline will do their best to keep Charlie in touch with his Irish roots. You can bet that Charlie will love soccer and he will see his parent’s homeland often.

When Pauline shared this recipe with me, it was all in European measures, some of which are done by weight. For example, it said 75g of cocoa which translates to ¾ cup. I had never seen a recipe done this way, but after some searching, I realized this was fairly standard in the UK. It also calls for “caster sugar” which is the same as “superfine” sugar we can buy here. I’m not sure it makes a difference, but I followed the recipe as closely as I could.

You will love this cake! Any kind of dark stout will work, but there is a Double Chocolate stout out there that I think would be perfect for it. Let me know if you use it.

Philip McKernan Chocolate Stout Cake 650w

“Suitcase and a Dream”

Chocolate Stout Cake

250ml Dark Stout beer  1 cup
250g unsalted butter (cut into pieces)   1/2 cup
75g cocoa   3/4 cup
400g caster sugar (fine white sugar)  2 cups, rounded
1 142 ml  sour cream  3/4 cup
2 eggs
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
275g plain flour  2 cups
21/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

1. Preheat oven to 180° C (360° F)
2. Butter a 23cm (9 inch) spring form pan and line the bottom and the corners with parchment. Light dust the sides with cocoa powder.
3. Place beer in a large saucepan and add the butter. Heat on medium heat until the butter melts, then whisk in the cocoa and sugar.
4. In a bowl beat together the sour cream, eggs and vanilla and then pour into the beer mixture, then whisk in the flour and soda.
5. Pour into the cake pan, cook for 45mins to an hour, remove from oven, place on a cooling rack and leave to cool in the tin .

300g cream cheese  8 oz.
150g icing sugar  1 1/4 cup
125ml double (whipping) cream  1/2 cup

1. Whip the cream cheese until smooth. 
2. Sieve in the icing sugar & beat together.
3. Add the cream and beat together again for several minutes until it is smooth, spreadable and frothy.

Place cooled cake on a flat serving dish, spread the topping on the top only. The cake will resemble a beautiful pint of creamy stout! 

And when Irish eye are smiling, sure they steal your heart away.”

~ G. Graff & C. Olcott

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply