My family is finally starting to recover from all the Christmas and New Years festivities. Most importantly, we’re back to actually cooking dinner at home, instead of running out to a restaurant every night. I get sick of eating out really quickly — even when we go on vacation, I can only make it two or three days before craving a home-cooked meal. So, needless to say, I’m happy with this development.
I made this cake for Thanksgiving, and then promptly forgot to post about it until I found the picture of it on my computer this morning. I really, really liked it — I think it was my favorite thing that I made this year. The process is a little more involved than the normal cake-and-frosting cake, but it’s well worth it, and very do-able. I tweaked the recipe in a few places. First, the original recipe calls for you to make a chocolate cake from scratch. I actually did do that, but the cake was terrible – super crumbly, and half of one layer stuck to my greased and floured nonstick cake pan. It tasted really good, but there was absolutely no way to salvage it. So I went out and bought a devil’s food cake mix, and that worked out just fine…and as an added bonus, the pieces of the first cake made a really good snack while I was cooking! You can definitely forgo the from-scratch cake — there’s so much else going on in the cake, you’ll never be able to tell the difference.
Next time I make this (and there definitely will be a next time!), I think I’m going to make double the amount of ganache, so instead of one layer on ganache on the inside and two of buttercream, there will be two layers of ganache and only one of buttercream. The ganache is fabulous. It originally was supposed to be caramel chocolate ganache, but since I wasn’t using the caramel flavored Bailey’s, I left out the caramels and added a tablespoon of Bailey’s. I really like the fact that the buttercream isn’t incredibly sweet. I usually like my cake frostings very sugary, but with the ganache in the middle, it counteracts the richness really well.
Bailey’s Chocolate Cake
Adapted from: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
1 Devil’s Food cake mix
Water, oil and eggs as called for in the cake mix
10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish Cream (or more, to taste)
4 egg yolks
1/2 c. water
2 c. granulated sugar
3 c. butter (6 sticks), at room temperature
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish Cream
1) Prepare the cake as directed on the package. Bake as directed for two 9 inch round cakes. Cool completely. Once cooled, cut each cake layer in half lengthwise so that you have four thin layers of cake.
2) For the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the heavy cream over medium heat until steaming, and just barely bubbling.
3) Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and let sit for one minute. Add the Bailey’s and stir until smooth. Refrigerate about 1 hour, or until the ganache has reached a spreadable consistancy. If it gets too hard, microwave at 10 second intervals until softened, or let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
4) For the buttercream, whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light yellow and foamy.
5) In a saucepan, simmer the water and sugar until it reaches the soft ball stage, about 234 – 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
6) Immediately transfer the syrup to a heatproof measuring cup. Pour the syrup in a slow, thin stream into the egg mixture, whipping on low speed the entire time. Once the syrup has been incorporated, increase the speed to medium and mix until the mixture has cooled – about 7 minutes.
7) Still mixing on medium speed, add the butter, half a stick at a time. Let each piece get incorporated before you add the next. Once all the butter has been added, continue mixing for about 2 minutes, or until the buttercream has thickened slightly. Stir in the salt and Bailey’s.
8) To assemble the cake, place one of the four cake layers on the serving platter. Cover with buttercream (you’ll have a ton of buttercream, so don’t skimp on the middle layers!).
9) Place the next layer of cake on top. Cover with all of the ganache. If desired, save about half a cup of the ganache to decorate the top the cake.
10) Place the third layer of cake on top, cover with buttercream.
11) Place the last layer of cake on top, then cover the entire thing with the rest of the buttercream. Decorate as desired. You can’t see it in the picture, but I piped a shell border in buttercream along the base of the cake, and piped little stars of leftover ganache on the top.