Sunday, March 15, 2015

Chocolate stout cake with a whiskey caramel layer and Bailey's cream cheese frosting (aka the Car bomb cake)

Today we hiked to the top of a little mountain in Boulder County. The mountain overlooked a complete 180 degree view of 13ers and 14ers in the Front Range. It was 70 degrees. We saw two other people the entire the time. We found ourselves a little secret place in a world where few secrets still exist. Back at the car we pulled out a picnic of roast beef and horseradish sandwiches, potato salad, an orange, and this cake. A perfect day.

Oh boy, this cake. Do yourself a favor and make this cake or better yet come over to my house and eat some. Save me from consuming this entire cake in 2 days. It's so good. It's got all your Irish favorites: stout, whiskey, and Bailey's Irish Cream. The chocolate cake with compliments of the stout is super chocolate goodness with a light crumb. A layer of whiskey caramel in between and Bailey's cream cheese frosting is dreamy. Really dreamy.

Chocolate stout cake with a whiskey caramel layer and Bailey's cream cheese frosting 
Serves 18-20

Chocolate stout cake
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa powder
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup stout

Whiskey caramel sauce (adapted from Cook's Illustrated)
1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whiskey (I used Jack Daniels but Jameson would be more Irish)

Bailey's cream cheese frosting 
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9" cake pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.

In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment or with a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each egg. Add vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add half your flour mixture and beat until combined. Drizzle in buttermilk and stout and beat until combined. Finally, add the rest of the flour mixture and beat until combined.

Pour batter into cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans and let cool completely before assembling and icing the cake.

While the cake is baking, make your caramel. In a medium saucepan, pour in water and sugar. Cover with a lid and let come to a boil. Once boiling remove the lid and boil until it reaches 300 degrees, about 15 minutes. Once it reaches 300 degrees, turn heat down to medium and cook until it reaches 350 degrees, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, slowly drizzle in your cream, add your salt, and whisk. Whisk in your whiskey. Let cool (I put mine in the fridge to cool completely).

For the frosting, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and Bailey's on low until incorporated. Put in the fridge until ready for use.

To assemble: Trim on cake layer to have a flat top. Pour 1/2 the caramel sauce on top of this cake layer. Spread caramel evenly over this layer with a cake spatula. Place next cake round on top of the caramel layer. Next spread frosting over the cake. My method is to start with all the frosting on the top of cake and spread it out to and eventually over the edges. But really who cares how it looks, since it tastes so awesome.

Serve with an extra drizzle of whiskey caramel sauce

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