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The Irish Boutique - Long Grove, IL (847 634 3540)

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847 634 0339

The Irish Boutique is an Irish import store that has been located in the Chicago land area for over 40 years.  The shop stocks a variety of products ranging from Irish jewelry, crystal, china, food, sweaters, caps, t-shirts and a wide variety of Irish gifts. 

Cooking Blog

Visit our blog to read about Michelle Barry's adventures in cooking and eating Irish cuisine and to learn about new products and upcoming events. 


Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake with Super Simple Chocolate Frosting, Ganache Glaze and Chips Ahoy Crunch

john barry


Boy am I glad that I was on maternity leave for both Isla and Emmett’s birthdays. Kids’ birthdays are no joke. I don’t feel like we celebrate more than the average family but when you are a little kid, birthdays are legitimately a BIG DEAL. And Emmett just turned five. FIVE! I can’t believe I’m the mother of a five year old. It really is bittersweet. I’m so proud of the little guy he is becoming but devastated that time is going by so fast.  

I’ve been letting the kids pick a birthday cake on Pinterest for me to recreate for their birthdays. I, of course, steer them away from the ones that are way out of my league in terms of difficulty. And thankfully, so far, so good. This year Emmett wanted a dinosaur cake.  He was so set on his plastic dinosaurs being part of it, he has been keeping them in the kitchen “cake” drawer ever since Christmas.  

The cake itself had to be chocolate.  I don’t feel like I’ve ever found a go-to chocolate cake, although the basic Hershey’s one is pretty close. But this cake may have changed all that. It was super tasty and very easy to make. I covered it in super simple chocolate frosting, a ganache glaze and chips ahoy crumbles.  Oh yeah, and dinosaurs. Even though there were a few steps involved, putting it all together was a breeze.  I’m pretty sure I could have pulled it off even if I was back at work - though I’m glad I didn’t have to.

I made the whole evening even easier on myself by making slow cooker corned beef with cabbage, carrots and potatoes for dinner.  You can find the recipe for that here.  I plated the corned beef and vegetables on a big platter and kept it warm in the oven until we were ready to eat. Perfect for a weeknight dinner.  Also, this allowed me to pay attention to the kids and get the low-down on Emmett’s big birthday at school instead of standing over the stove.

Emmett was pretty thrilled with his cake and his birthday in general. It was nice to see him so happy and excited. And most of all, grateful. He must have thanked me a hundred times for his cake, his dinner, his presents. I was super proud of my little man.


And the cake. The cake was awesome. Then again, it was covered in frosting, ganache and cookies. How could it not be? Paul said it tasted like Portillo’s chocolate cake.  Lest you think I would be offended, that is actually high praise around here. Portillo’s was our wedding cake and how we celebrated the birth of all of our children (there’s a Portillo’s directly across the street from Lutheran General Hospital).  No fancy cake for me. It’s Portillo’s all the way.

This cake would be great with no embellishments, just the cake and super simple frosting. Here’s how to do it with the ganache and cookie crumbles too.

Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake with Super Simple Chocolate Frosting, Ganache Glaze and Chips Ahoy Crunch

Make 1 Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake, just the cake part.  Recipe here.

I made ½ a recipe which worked perfectly in my 6” cake pans. I also made the cake ahead, wrapped each layer separately in saran wrap, then foil and froze them until the big day.

Make one batch of Super Simple Chocolate Frosting. Recipe here.

Again, I made ½ batch, enough to fill and frost my 6” cake.

Place about 16 (or 8 for a 6” cake) chips ahoy cookies in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.

When ready to assemble the cake. Place one cake layer on a plate, lazy susan or turntable, removing any dome off the top with a serrated knife. Repeat with the second layer.

Slather about 1 cup (½ cup for a 6” cake) of frosting in the center of the first layer and place the second layer on top.  

Now, crumb coat your cake by covering the top and sides with a very, very thin layer of frosting all over to seal in the crumbs.

Place cake in refrigerator for about 20 minutes for crumb coat to set.  

Remove cake from fridge, frost top and sides and place back in the fridge to set.

Meanwhile, make ganache. For a full-size cake (halve these amounts for a 6” cake), heat 4 oz heavy cream in a microwave of over a stovetop until simmering. Stir 4 ½ oz dark chocolate pieces (I used chopped baking chocolate) into cream and whisk until completely melted and ganache is shiny and smooth. Allow to cool to room temp.

Once ganache has cooled slightly but is still pourable consistency, take cake out of fridge and pour ganache on top, nudging some over the sides with a spatula for the drippy effect.

Coat with cookie crumbs and top with dinos. Viola!