Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chocolate Whiskey cake with Baileys frosting

I promised all my friends I'd bake them cakes in March and April, mainly so I could bake all the delish recipes I've been dying to try, and then not have to eat them. A fellow whiskey-loving friend who periodically ensures there is Cutty Sark in my life recently had a birthday, and having seen these over on smittenkitchen, I decided I'd try them.

The first problem was that they're cupcakes and I needed to make them into a cake. Luckily, trawling the comments revealed a fairly straightforward formula for it. The second and larger problem was the lack of Guinness in our lives and not enough knowledge of beer to know what I could use to substitute it. I decided to ditch the beer entirely - a bad mistake I found out later when the cake itself tasted really bad. Then I needed to get my hands on Baileys, but that was solved by a quick search online, after which I made my own Irish Cream. DAYAM it was good.

So I began. Lordy, I had hell. I have only one round cake mold, that's larger than 4 inches, and by the time each layer had baked I was late. Then I forgot the golden rules and didn't freeze the layers OR chill the frosting. Then the top layer broke and splatted into the bottom one, and then the whole thing kept falling apart and raining frosting all over everything. It was madness. I finally stuck it together and poured a ton of whiskey in it and my friend was quite happy.

I was not.

I tried it again for another birthday, this time using the cake from Double Chocolate Cake (which is officially my go-to ultimate favourite chocolate cake now), and the Baileys frosting and whiskey laced ganache. I also made 2/3rds the recipe and baked it simultaneously in 2 4-in tins, and made the cake the previous night and froze the layers overnight! I ended up with a tall tower of cake, with four layers, but the birthday girl was ecstatic, and my cake had succeeded.

Remember, I used 2/3rds the recipe for 2 4-inch pans that are about 4 inches deep, so use the whole recipe for 2 8-inch pans.

For the cake:
  • 3/4 cup chopped chocolate 
  • 11/2 cups brewed coffee (about 2tbs Bru in 11/2 cups water)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder (Cadbury's of course)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sunflower oil 
  • 11/2 cups shaken buttermilk (I did 1/2 cup nestle dahi plus 1 cup water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
For the Baileys:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 can (14oz/400g) condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whiskey
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 2 tbs melted chocolate (I used around 2 square inches and melted it)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

For the Baileys frosting:

  • 3-4 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 tbs Baileys
For the chocolate whiskey ganache:

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 tbs whiskey

To make the cake:
Pour the hot coffee over the chopped chocolate and stir until it becomes smooth. In a large bowl sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Beat eggs (I used whisk, yup, beater's still broken) until slightly thickened, and light yellow. Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture. Add in the flour mixture and stir till well combined. Bake at 160C for an hour.

To make Baileys:
Stick em in the blender and whizz on high for a few minutes. I had to use a whisk so I did it in stages. Store in airtight container, in fridge. Keeps about 2 weeks.

To make Baileys frosting:
Whip butter with mixer till light and fluffy. Slowly add sugar a few teaspoons at a time. Adjust amount to your desired sweetness. I had to do it all by hand - ouch. Add Baileys once the sugar's in. Chill for a bit before applying on cake.

To make ganache:
Warm cream in a saucepan and stir in the chocolate. Take off fire as soon as you've added the chocolate and keep stirring till it's smooth. If not using immediately then refrigerate, and only add whiskey before use, because you'll have to warm it up to make it pouring consistency. Once it is cool to the touch stir in the whiskey. 

To assemble: 
Divide the cake into layers as you wish (I did 4 layers, but probably 2 8-inch ones would be good too). Freeze overnight in ziploc or cling wrap. Take them out and place bottom layer on cake plate. spread evenly with Baileys frosting. Continue till layers are done, without putting Baileys on top of the top layer. Pour the cooled ganache over the top and refrigerate.

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