I had this urge over the weekend to throw myself back into baking. I made cupcakes for the bambino’s birthday, per his request, but I found myself wanting to make a cake. I went looking through cookbooks for inspiration, and found a recipe that became this Baileys Chocolate Cake.
Perhaps this is how I should decorate any of my layer cakes from now on. Just spread some ganache over the top of each layer and be done!
I daresay this is one of the better layer cakes I’ve ever made, and not just because this one looks halfway decent! You can actually taste the Baileys in both the cake and the ganache, which is nice. It’s subtle and not overpowering. Not that there’s anything wrong with a cake that kicks you in the face with the taste of Irish Cream…but this one doesn’t do that.
It’s rich enough that while I ate the slice you see there in the photograph, the rest of it was given away.
This is sort of what I was thinking I wanted when I made those Double Chocolate Pecan Cookies. Something to make your teeth hurt and give you an instant stomachache from too much sugar, but that you need more of the instant you finish a slice. The kind of cake that you regret eating once its finished, but gives you a warm hug while you’re eating it.
(Again, this is what happens when I have extended periods of unstructured time on my hands. Either I need to find a new job ASAP, or sit myself down and seriously plot out my day, so that I don’t ramble and my mind doesn’t wander so much.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 8-inch round cake pans. Line with circles cut from parchment paper. Butter the circles, then flour the pans, tapping out any excess. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cake flour, almond meal, and salt.
In a small saucepan, combine the milk and butter. Heat over medium, until the butter has melted, and the milk begins to simmer. Remove from the heat, and add the chocolate. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Beat the egg yolks with 1/4 C of the sugar. Beat on medium speed for at least 5 minutes, or until thickened and light-colored. Beat in the chocolate, vanilla, and Baileys.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs whites until soft peaks form. Add in the other 1/4 C of sugar, and beat until stiff glossy peaks form.
Using a flat spatula, alternately fold in the flour-almond mixture and the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Make three additions of each.
Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans. Bake 33-35 minutes, or until the sides of the cakes pull away from the pans. Cool in the pans on wire racks for 5 minutes, then invert onto wire racks to remove from the pans, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely.
While the cakes are cooling, heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Add the chocolate, and allow to sit for a couple minutes. Whisk until smooth, then add the Baileys. Whisk again to combine. Allow to cool slightly.
To assemble the cake, place one layer on a plate. Spread approximately a third of the ganache over top, allowing any excess to drip down the sides. Carefully place the second layer on top. Spread half the remaining ganache over the top and allowing the excess to drip down the sides. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes. Top with the remaining ganache.
Refrigerate the cake, but bring to room temperature before serving.