Coffee & Bailey’s Cake Layers:
Note - this is a slightly-modified layer cake recipe from ChelSweets.com - I highly recommend checking out her site if you haven't before; it's *incredible!!*
3 1/4 c. all purpose flour
3 c. granulated sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 cup unsalted butter (or 2 sticks) room temperature
2 t. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 T Instant espresso powder
½ C Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/8 cup (28 grams) vegetable oil
Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
Pour in eggs, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix the espresso powder and Bailey’s into the buttermilk and pour the mixture into the dry ingredients in two installments, on a low speed. Add in oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.
Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.
Once the layers have fully cooled, the caramelized bits can be trimmed from the sides / top of the cake using a serrated knife if desired. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart.
Bailey’s Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
¼ C Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/4 t. salt
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with Bailey's until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add salt and beat until well combined.
Bailey’s Cake Filling:
This step is optional, but I wanted a little bit more kick in between the cake layers, so I took about ¾ c of frosting from the mixer bowl and stirred in ¼ c of Bailey’s and another tablespoon of instant espresso powder – this made a fairly thin mixture that I drizzled in between my cake layers on top of the frosting.
- 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle
- empty Bailey’s Irish Cream bottle (the one I used was a small-ish 375mL bottle, but it doesn’t feel small when you’re trying to stand it up on top of a cake! You could also use a few of the smaller ‘shooter’ bottles if you want.
- 4 large skewers or long cake dowels
- 1 c chocolate-covered espresso beans
- 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, offset spatula, and bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful!
- Immersion blender and a candy thermometer (if using mirror glaze for the topping)
Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. These cake layers bake fairly flat though, so I don’t think I bothered to level them for this cake. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting, and drizzle with Bailey’s filling. Sprinkle a few chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans over the filling, and add your next cake layer on top. Repeat the process with your remaining cake layer.
Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like - a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer.
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the freezer to set the frosting.
White chocolate ganache: I used a white chocolate ganache for this cake – I found my favorite white chocolate ganache recipe so far on ChelSweets.com .
-1/4 cup heavy cream (77 grams)
-1 cup white chocolate chips (175 grams)
-½ teaspoon instant espresso granules
Place heavy cream and white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on 50% power in 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring in between. Add instant espresso granules and stir until they dissolve and the ganache becomes smooth.
I used a small plastic cup to pour on this drip since my drip bottles were full of chocolate ganache from another project. A drip bottle would work well also!
When your ganache has cooled to a moderate temperature – it should feel slightly warm and still be fairly liquid – transfer it to a small cup, a piping bag, or a squeeze bottle.
Okay! Now that all the pieces are ready, it’s time to decorate your cake! My cake was pretty well set after about 20 minutes in the freezer, which was what I wanted to make sure that the bottle wouldn’t fall over. Press the skewers or dowels into the cake at a slight angle and slide the bottle over them onto the top of the cake. I pushed the rim of the bottle slightly into the frosting. Now the fun part! Drizzle your ganache around the rim of the bottle, allowing it to run away from the bottle and drip down the side of the cake. It should set fairly quickly if your cake is well chilled. I decorated around the top of the mirror glaze with large swirls of frosting that I added a bit more espresso powder to, and around the lower edge with different shades of frosting. Add on some more chocolate-covered espresso beans wherever you’d like to – and you’re done! Refrigerate until ready to eat - and enjoy!
Make this recipe? Let me know how it went - or find me on Instagram or Facebook and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!