I love holidays. I dress up for every single one, and they are an excuse to make a thematically decorated cake. For St. Patrick’s day, I wear my green, white and orange scarf with my green pencil skirt and my family name crest pins (both of my parents come from Irish stock). My maternal Grandmother always dressed up for holidays. My favorites were her Halloween and Christmas light-up sweaters. Though I may dress more tamely, I always think of her when I dress festively.
Even though I dress relatively tamely on St. Patrick’s Day, I pull no punches with my cake. This cake attacks you will both barrels; taste and sight. This is a rich, moist chocolate cake topped with incredibly smooth buttercream, sinful chocolate ganache dripping seductively down the sides, and singing with Bailey’s Irish Cream’s delightful boozy flavor. A lot of Bailey’s Irish Cream cakes I have eaten don’t pack the full force of Bailey’s Irish Cream I desire; to ensure my cake is moist and boozy, I made a very simple syrup from the liqueur and brushed in over my baked cakes.
The buttercream frosting is also delightful. By dissolving the powdered sugar in boiling Bailey’s Irish Cream, you eliminate the gritty texture that sometimes plagues standard buttercream recipes. Plus, this recipe doubles the amount of liqueur I see in most Bailey’s Irish Cream frostings. It’s St. Patrick’s Day, after all. Your cake should be a boozy delight.
The decorations came to me one sleepless night (and generally, when stressed, I distract myself by planning cakes). I knew what kind of cake I wanted to make, but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to decorate it. For work, we were going to have a “Guess The Number of Chocolate Gold Coins in the Jar” game for St. Patrick’s Day, and thinking of that inspired me. I would make a chocolate cauldron, fill it with golden coins, and make a rainbow out of white chocolate melts. To decorate the side, I decided some fun fondant shamrocks and a leprechaun would be perfect.
I do hope you will give this cake a try; it is definitely multi-step, but it is awfully fun to make. And even more fun to eat! Enjoy!
1/2 cup boiling Bailey’s Irish Cream
4 cups of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 sticks of softened butter
4 ounces softened cream cheese
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, pour in your powdered sugar. With the mixer on low, pour in the boiling Bailey Irish Cream in a slow drizzle. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the sugar completely dissolves and the mixture is cooled to room temperature (about 5 minutes). Add your almond extract and vanilla bean paste and mix well.
Add the butter and cream cheese and beat on low until fully incorporated. Increase the speed to medium high and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.
10 ounces of dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream
3 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream
Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream to a bare simmer. Pour it over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. Stir until smooth. Add the Bailey's and whisk to combine. Let cool slightly before using.
2 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
2/3 cup oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup strong coffee
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 9 inch round pans with baking spray (I use baker’s joy). Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray it as well. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
Beat together the egg, egg yolk, oil, buttermilk, sour cream, Bailey’s Irish Cream and strong coffee.
Add in the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Divide the batter evenly between your two prepared cake pans. Tap them on the counter to remove any bubbles in the batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted to the center comes out clean and the cake springs back to your touch. Allow the cakes to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pans- run a spatula along the edges to release them.
For the simple syrup, add the sugar and water to a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Cook, while stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the liqueur and cool to room temperature before using.
Brush the cake generously with the Bailey’s Irish Cream syrup. Cool the cakes completely on a wire rack.
Fondant, in assorted colors
White chocolate melts, in rainbow colors
Dark chocolate melts
Shamrock cookie cutters
5 inch silicone cake mold
4 inch silicone cake mold
Golden chocolate coins
Roll out green fondant to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shamrock shapes with the cookie cutters.
Draw a leprechaun with pencil on parchment paper. Turn the paper around so you are working on the non-penciled side. Roll out red fondant, flesh colored fondant, brown fondant, green fondant, etc. Cut out shapes for hair, clothes, shoes, hat, etc with an exact knife using the parchment as a guide. Brush the pieces of fondant with water to attach them together.
Draw a rainbow on parchment paper. Turn it around to work on the non-penciled side. Melt red white chocolate melts in the microwave in a heat proof bowl. Start with 30 seconds, mix, then keep adding 10 second bursts until melted. Put the melted chocolate into a pastry bag and pipe the red line of the rainbow. Repeat with the remaining colors of the rainbow. Finish with white clouds. Allow to cool.
Melt the dark chocolate melts. Pour into the 5 inch chocolate mold. Push the 4 inch mold down into the chocolate, weighing it down with rice or beans or pie weights. Allow to cool completely and carefully remove from the mold.
Frost the chocolate cake with a spatula in a thin layer. Pop the cake into the fridge of freezer to chill the crumb coat. Use the rest of the frosting to completely cover the cake. Pop into the fridge or freezer to chill the frosting again.
Pour the cooled but still liquid ganache over the fully frosted cake, allowing it to drip over the sides. Allow it to cool completely.
Place the chocolate bowl on the top of the cake, filled with golden coins. Place the fondant cut outs around the sides of the cake, using leftover frosting to attach them.
Use a knife to make 2 slits in the top of the cake, about an 1 deep. Push the clouds of your rainbow about a half inch into the cake where you made the slits. The rainbow should look like it is going over the cauldron of coins.
Present your creation, slice it up and enjoy! To really guild the lily, may I suggest serving it with mocha lattes spiked with some Bailey’s?
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