This post was created as in partnership with Imperial Sugar. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

These Blarney Stones [aka Peanut Cake Squares] are salty-sweet bite-sized cakes that are a fun and easy treat for St. Patrick's Day or anytime you are craving a unique dessert!

Be sure not to miss any of our St. Patrick's Day recipes! Many are traditional Irish recipes like Irish Soda Bread and The Best Shepherd's Pie Recipe, or go with something fun and different like Layered Rainbow Jello or Lucky Charms Snack Mix!

An image of a popular Iowa dessert made with peanuts and pound cake known as Blarney Stones that are fun for St. Patrick's Day.

Blarney Stones

I actually stumbled onto the idea for these Blarney Stones when researching recipes that the state of Iowa is known for when planning my American Eats series. Apparently they are popular there, although I had a hard time finding anything about these little cakes anywhere else. 

So while I doubt their authenticity as being directly from Ireland, it's likely that they were invented by those of Irish descent who settled in Iowa, especially since they made up the second largest immigrant group to the state.

Remember the musical "The Music Man"? It was written by an Iowan named Meredith Willson and set in the fictional River City, Iowa based off of Mason City, Iowa where he grew up. Many of the characters were supposedly inspired by people from his town and the main character's mother was even given a strong Irish accent.

A friend from Iowa said she had never heard of these blarney stones, so I'm not sure how far spread the dessert is throughout the state, but it was mentioned in an article of the best desserts in each state as being popular there so I had to try them!

An image of peanut cake squares on a plate.

What do blarney stones taste like?

With the crunchy, salty nuts on the outside and sweet, soft pound cake interior, these blarney stones remind me a lot of Payday bars, except without the caramel and not so chewy. I actually think I like them better! Paul said they remind him of donuts topped with peanuts. So if you are a fan of either of those treats, you are definitely going to like these blarney stones!

How to Make Blarney Stones

  1. Buy or prepare a pound cake. I'm all for making pound cake from scratch, but with this dessert, I went with one that I picked up in the freezer section just to keep things simple and easy. Cube the pound cake into bite-size pieces roughly 1-inch square. I got 48 of them from my pound cake.
  2. Chop the nuts. I think you really could use any type of nut to cover the sides of these blarney stones, but it's the classic peanut taste that I was going for. Use dry roasted and salted peanuts and chop them up in your food processor (affiliate link) until they are pretty well chopped. Transfer them to a shallow dish and set aside.
  3. Make a simple vanilla icing. I didn't want to have to actually frost all sides of each square, but I also didn't want the glaze to just soak in to the cake so much that the crushed peanuts wouldn't stick to the outside. Whisking milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla together gives you the perfect sweet vanilla flavor to balance the saltiness of the peanuts.
  4. Assemble blarney stones. Dunk each piece of cake in the icing before rolling them in the nuts. You may need to press them into the sides a bit, but don't worry about perfect coverage. Let them dry for about an hour before serving.
A collage of images showing how to make Iowa Blarney Stones.

The FULL RECIPE is on my partner Imperial Sugar’s site, so click through to make these for your little leprechauns! Each month we collaborate to bring a great recipe to you using their wonderful products, and you can see all of them over on their site!

More Fun St. Patrick's Day Treats

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An image of pound cake covered in chopped roasted peanuts.

Be sure to click over to Imperial Sugar’s site to get the FULL RECIPE.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. I grew up in Mason City and returned here five years ago; I've never seen nor heard of a Blarney Stone here--not at a church potluck even. However, they are super well-known in Clinton, IA, on the Mississippi River, and elsewhere in Eastern Iowa. The Sweetheart Bakery in the Lyons neighborhood shopping district would be the best place I could recommend to try one--and from there, be sure to check out the Lumberjack/ Sawmill Museum just down the street.