Tuesday, May 27, 2008


In honor of our servicemen, I made a Memorial Day dinner for my husband (a Navy vet) and our friend (a Marine vet). Our menu was: grilled London broil, mashed potatoes, garlicky cauliflower and snap peas, Caesar salad, garlic-parsley bread, and this wonderful cake. Making dessert shouldn't be such a big deal, but I spent 2 days just deciding on what to make. I printed out 4 chocolate cake recipes (two made with Guiness Stout) and was heading in that direction, when for no apparent reason other than to exercise my female right of changing my mind at the last minute, I decided to come up with my own recipe. The title of this cake is not accurate, because I've also used coffee brandy in the cake. So maybe I should have called it something like "Tijuana caramel-coffee cake with milk chocolate Bailey frosting," but the problem with that is that Bailey's is Irish. So there you have it. Not only did I labor over what dessert to make, I also couldn't pick a title. I guess it was my weekend of indecision. But, happily, I will tell you that the cake is good. A little too good. I need to get rid of the leftovers quickly before I eat them. My assistants for yesterday's confection are pictured below: Hershey's natural cocoa, Lindt Milk Chocolate with smooth milk filling, and a little nip of "Bailey's with a hint of caramel," that I purchased in California. Regular Bailey's will work just fine if you can't find the caramel version. And if you don't want to keep a big bottle of Bailey's around the house, the nips are the way to go. I bought several for $1.00 each in San Diego at a corner store that was trying to lighten up on their inventory.
The cake, itself, is an adaptation of a Pillsbury yellow cake recipe that I halved so I wouldn't have a ton of cake left over that I would be tempted to eat. I subbed some cornstarch for flour to make it more tender and added the flavorings I wanted. Caramel, coffee and milk chocolate....yummmo.
Baileys Caramel-Coffee Cake with Milk Chocolate Baileys Frosting
Rating: 9 out of 10
1 cup + 1 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1/2 stick), softened
1/2 cup fat-free half and half or milk
2 tsp. instant coffee powder
1-1/2 tsp. molasses
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. Bailey's
3 Tbsp. coffee brandy, such as Kahlua
Preheat oven to 350F. Brush a 3-cup bundt pan with melted butter and dust with flour (or follow manufacturer's directions for prepping). (If you don't have a 3-cup bundt pan, you can use an 8" cake pan to make one layer. You can either cut the layer in half to make half a cake, or you can leave it as is and just make a one-layer cake.) Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk till well blended. Add softened butter and mix on low speed of electric mixer till butter is in thoroughly mixed in and mixture is like coarse crumbs. Dissolve coffee powder and molasses in half and half and add to flour mixture; beat on low speed for about 1 minute, or till thoroughly combined and smooth. Add egg, vanilla and Bailey's and mix on low speed just till combined. Do not overmix. Bake 20-23 minutes, or till toothpick inserted near center of cake returns with just a few crumbs. Do not overbake. Cool in bundt pan 20 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to finish cooling. While cake is still warm, brush with 2 Tbsp. coffee brandy.
Milk Chocolate Bailey Frosting
1 cup pecans
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1-1/4 cup confectioner's (10X) sugar
2 Tbsp. natural cocoa
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup Bailey's
3 oz. milk chocolate, melted
1-2 Tbsp. fat-free half and half, if needed
Toast the pecans in a 375F oven for about 8-10 minutes, or till they are aromatic. Let cool.
In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar and cocoa. Mixture will be dry. Add the salt, cinnamon and Bailey's and mix till creamy. Put the chocolate in a small microwaveable bowl and microwave on high for about 1 minute, or till chocolate can be stirred and no hard pieces remain. Mix chocolate into frosting and add enough half and half to make a spreadable frosting.
To assemble cake: Frost the cake. Pick out the best whole pecans for the top of the cake. Grind or crush the remaining. Using your hands, pick up some crushed pecans and gently slap them on the side of the cake, pressing them in. Some will fall. Repeat till sides are encrusted in nuts. Place the pretty whole pecans on the top. Yield: 4 - 6 servings


Anonymous said...

Wow, this sounds yummy. I'm definitely going to try it!

Anonymous said...

I saw something about that subject on TV last night. Nice post.

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