Kahlua Kicker Cake Layers:
This is a slightly-modified/simplified layer cake recipe from ChelSweets.com - I highly recommend checking out her site if you haven't before; it's amazing!!
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
½ c Irish Cream coffee creamer
2 T instant espresso powder (make sure you use powder and not granules – large granules might not dissolve)
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 coffee creamer and espresso granules 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.
Kicker Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
¼ c Irish Cream Coffee Creamer
1/4 t. salt
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with whipping cream until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add salt and beat until well combined.
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 instant espresso powder – make sure you use a fine powder that will dissolve into the frosting and note large granules. Unless you want them to crunch in your cake, I suppose. I guess I added chopped chocolate-covered coffee beans to mine so….do what you want!
- 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle
- 1 empty Dutch Bros coffee cup – I used a medium-size cup – and a lid and straw if you’d like
- 1 c chocolate-covered espresso beans (I chopped about ¾ c of mine and used the rest to decorate the top of the cake)
- 10-15 red and yellow candy melts (Optional; I added some chopped candy melts to give a bit more color to the inside of the cake)
- 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, offset spatula, and bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful!
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. Pipe a circle of frosting around the outer edge, and spread the coffee filling in the center, being careful to keep the filling from spreading over the top of the frosting rim.
Sprinkle a few chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans and chopped candy melts over the filling, and add your next cake layer on top. Repeat the process with the next layer and add your last cake layer on top. I put mine on upside-down to make shaping the frosting on top of the cake easier.
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. Usually the fridge is sufficient, but you need a frozen cake to set your drips.
White Chocolate Ganache (for drip)
1/2 cup heavy cream (77 grams)
1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (175 grams)
1 squirt each red, yellow, blue, and brown gel food coloring (I used Americolor gel color - this set has all the above colors plus several more)
For the coffee drip:
- extra 1/2 Tablespoon heavy cream
- 1/2 Tablespoon instant espresso granules
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 drips would set and the coffee cup would stay put. ALSO –make sure your ganache is in the 90-95 degree range – they should be liquid and just slightly above room temperature. Too cold and they won’t make the drips, too warm and they might melt your frosting!
Mark eight sections on the top of your cake – I used a large knife; you can use whatever’s large and straight and close-by. With the red, yellow, and blue ganache in turn, pipe a border of ganache around the top of the two of the sections and fill it in, allowing some ganache to drip down the side of the cake. Leave two sections (next to each other) empty. Just behind those empty sections, press the coffee cup upside down into the top of the cake at an angle, leaving a bit of room to drizzle the brown ganache underneath. Drizzle brown ganache under the rim of the cup with a small container or spoon, allowing it to run away from the cup and drizzle down the side of the cake. It should set fairly quickly if your cake is frozen.
I decorated around the top of the cake around the cup with swirls of frosting to resemble whipped cream, and just left the cake base alone this time. I’ve added leftover filling, more frosting, and more chocolate-covered espresso beans to the base of the cake before though. Your option!
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!