Chocolate Cake and chocolate ganache are a perfect foil for Baileys Buttercream Frosting.
I started out thinking I would make a Guiness Chocolate cake but that can of Guiness I try to keep around for such occasions was not to be found.
Over to Plan B – chocolate cake made with coffee topped with Baileys Buttercream. That is a good nod to St. Patrick’s Day.
Coffee naturally enhances the taste of chocolate. You don’t taste the coffee but the chocolate tastes very rich. I learned this first hand when I was experimenting with this Chocolate Salami. ( I know – weird name but it is very common in Europe.)
The original recipe called for coffee as the liquid but I thought a liqueur flavour might add some punch to it. Wrong…. the liqueur flavour didn’t quite come through the chocolate and wafers. I went back to the coffee and have never looked back. The chocolate tastes so rich and well – chocolate-y with the coffee in it.
This cake follows that principle as well. The chocolate is very rich. The cake is quite dense – it is not a light crumb but it makes a nice sturdy slice.
- I made it with two layers – a 9″ base and a 7″ top. You can use 2 9″ pans or a 9 X 13 for a sheet cake. I wanted the stepped layers to make room for holding as much Baileys Buttercream frosting as I could get on it! If you use two 8″ pans you will either have batter left over or you will need to use a parchment sleeve because the batter will rise significantly over the rim of the pan. I used a parchment sleeve in my pans because of the different size and I was glad I did.
- My cakes rose with quite a dome so I used an old trick to to flatten out the dome. I put a piece of parchment paper over the rounded top while the cake was still warm and pressed it firmly down with a heavy plate. That may be why my crumb was quite dense instead of fluffy – but I needed a flat top!
- I made the chocolate ganache and the Baileys buttercream the day before I was going to ice the cake. I was a bit concerned at first because they had solidified in the fridge. I needed to gently microwave them for a couple of minutes and then firmly whip them again. I turned out ok but I think I will try to manage my time to make and frost the same day. I think the frosting would have been lighter and fluffier if I had iced the cake right away.
- Do not use chocolate chips to make the ganache. Use good quality dark chocolate minimum 45% up t 78%. If you use 70% plus cocoa content you may want to add a Tbsp of sugar to the heavy cream when making the ganache.
- The Baileys Buttercream is about 3 cups. You may have some left over depending on what pattern you choose to decorate they cake. You can refrigerate it for a week or freeze up to 3 months.
- The frostings can be made the day before using. You will need to gently warm them (separately) and stir to get a smooth, pliable consistency. Whip with a whisk to fluff it up again. Be careful not to scorch the chocoate or melt the buttercream.
- This cake keeps well refrigerated for a couple of days. It also freezes well because it is so sturdy.
Chocolate Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting
- 2 spring form pans 9" or 9" plus 7"
- 2 cups sugar 400 grams
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour 210 grams
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa 64 grams
- 2 tsps baking soda 12 grams
- 1 tsp baking powder 4 grams
- 1 tsp salt 6 grams
- 1 cup buttermilk 240 mL (see how to make your own buttermilk if necessary)
- 1 cup strong black coffee 240 mL
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil 120 mL
- 2 tsp vanilla extract 4 grams
- 2 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate bars 2 x 100 grams (not chocolate chips)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream 240 mL
- 1 Tbsp sugar 12 grams -optional – See Note 2
Baileys Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature 226 grams
- 1/2 tsp salt 3 grams
- 1 tsp vanilla 4 grams
- 3 1/2 cups icing sugar 454 grams
- 2 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream 30 grams
- 1 Tbsp whipping cream 15 grams
- Heat oven to 350°. Spray spring form pans with cooking spray. Add a parchment circle to the bottom of the pan for ease of removing cake. Make a parchment sleeve if necessary. Cut strips of parchment paper wide enough to rise about 3" above the rim of the pan. Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray and use some spray to stick the ends of the parchment circle together.
- Combine all dry ingredients (sugar through salt) in a large bowl and whisk to mix.
- Combine wet ingredients in a bowl (eggs through vanilla) and beat on medium a couple of minutes to mix.
- Beat the dry ingredients in to the wet ingredients. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 40 to 50 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Time will depend on size of pans used. Start checking for doneness after 40 minutes.See Note 1 if your cake is highly rounded on the top.
- Cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake and remove from the pan to continue cooling on a wire rack.
- Finely chop the chocolate (even grate it roughly if possible). Heat the cream gently in the microwave or over a medium heat on the stove. Be careful cream does't boil.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to set at least 3 minutes to soften. Gently stir the chocolate and cream to combine them and finish the melting.
- Allow ganache to cool to room temperature. Once cooled beat the ganache with a whisk attachment preferably (or beaters) – about 4 minutes until it is light and fuffy.
- Transfer cake layers to a serving plate. Frost the bottom layer with ganache, center the top layer and finish frosting the top and sides.
- Beat the butter with a mixer a few minutes until it is light and smooth. Beat in the salt and vanilla.
- Slowly beat in the icing sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the Baileys and whipping cream toward the end of the sugar addition. Beat on low until ingredients are evenly mixed. Check the consistency – if it is too thick add up to a Tablespoon of Baileys or cream. If it is too thin add up to another 1/2 cup of sugar.
- Transfer frosting to a piping bag and pipe florettes around outside edges of the cake base, top and layer if layers are stepped.
- You may have Baileys buttercream left over. You can refrigerate for a week or freeze it up to 3 months.