Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Baileys Caramel Swirl and Poke Cake with Baileys Whipped Cream

I'm a huge fan of Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur. Not just for sipping, although that's a very nice use of it. But I've also used it for recipes. So when the folks at Baileys asked me if I wanted to use some of their salted caramel flavored Baileys in a baking recipe, I knew I had to do it.

I had a couple different ideas, but I kept thinking about a caramel I made for ice cream that I used for a guest post on Cravings of a Lunatic. I decided to make a similar caramel, but make it more sauce, and then incorporate it into a cake.

Or course, caramel sauce wasn't enough Baileys for me. There's also Baileys in the cake batter, and in the whipped cream topping.

The caramel that's "poked" into the cake stays soft and squishy, while any excess caramel on top of the cake turns into a thin, crisp, flaky layer. As for that whipped cream, it's an amazing topping for the cake ... but if you happen to have extra, it adds a lovely note on top of hot chocolate. Particularly if you spike that hot chocolate for a little bit of Baileys.

Baileys Caramel Swirl and Poke Cake
with Baileys Whipped Cream

For the caramel sauce:
1/2 cup Baileys Salted Caramel Irish Cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
Pinch of salt

For the cake:
1 3/4 cups (7 7/8 ounces) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Baileys Salted Caramel Irish Cream
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 to 2/3 cups caramel sauce

For the whipped cream:
2 tablespoons Baileys Salted Caramel Irish Cream
7/8 cup heavy whipping cream

To get started:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray.

To make the caramel sauce:
Combine the 1/2 cup Baileys, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, and pinch salt in a saucepan. Heat to a boil, then lower to a simmer.

Cook until the mixture thickens. It should be thick enough so that when it's at room temperature it will be thick and, but not chewy. It also shouldn't be super-runny. You can test it by putting a small amount on a spoon and putting it in the refrigerator to chill.

You should end up with somewhere between 1/2 cup and 2/3 cup of syrup. Pour 1/4 cup of syrup into a glass measuring cup and refrigerate while you work on the cake. Leave the remainder of the syrup in the pot; you'll be reheating it later.

To make the cake:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Combine the Bailey's and the yogurt in small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating until they are thoroughly incorporated.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the yogurt mixture, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl when needed. This is a fairly thick batter, so don't be concerned that it's not as loose as many cakes you've probably made.

Take 1/2 cup of the batter out of the bowl and add it to the chilled caramel sauce you set aside in the refrigerator. Stir to combine.

Transfer the rest of the batter to your prepared pan. Dollop the batter mixed with caramel on top of the plain cake batter, and swirl with a knife.

You could also add half of the plain batter to the pan, top with the caramel, then add the rest of the plain batter. Swirl or not, as desired.

Level the top of the batter and bake at 350 degrees until the cake springs back when touched, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Heat the remaining caramel sauce until it's a pouring consistency.

Holey Baileys Cake!
Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes into the warm cake, then pour the warmed syrup into the holes. You don't need to be neat about it - it's fine to spill over the top of the cake.

When you've used all the syrup, use a spoon or soft spatula to spread the syrup remaining on top of the cake into a thin layer and encourage it to fill any holes that might not be completely full.

Let the cake cool completely, then turn out onto the rack then immediately flip over onto a plate or cake stand, so the side with the holes is on top - the caramel is soft, so if you leave the cake upside-down too long, the caramel will start oozing out.

To finish the cake, you have several options. Because of the holes from poking, you probably want to do more than just sprinkle it with powdered sugar. You could, of course, frost it. You could also cover it with a poured or whipped ganache.

But I thought the perfect partner for this slightly dense cake was a fluffy Baileys-flavored whipped cream. If you know you're going to serve the whole cake for dessert, you can top the entire cake with the whipped cream, but I actually like the idea of topping each individual slice with a pretty little dollop of cream. Or a big dollop.

To make the whipped cream:
The best way to measure this is to use a 1 cup measure, add the 2 tablespoons of Baileys, and then add the cream to measure 1 cup.

The easy way to make the cream is to combine the heavy cream and Baileys and place in a nitrous cream whipper. Charge and dispense according to manufacturer's instruction.

The other way is to start by whipping the cream until it begins getting thick, then add the Baileys and continue whipping until it is as thick as you like.

Because of the Baileys in the whipped cream, it doesn't hold its shape for as long as a plain whipped cream, so it's best to make it right before serving and decorate the cake or slices at the last minute. Of course, if you're using a whipper, you can just leave the cream in the whipper and dispense as you serve.

I received Baileys for my use at no cost to me.
You want this triple-Baileys cake ... trust me, you do!