Monday, May 20, 2013

Every few weeks we have a nerd night which involves Cards Against Humanity and entirely too much alcohol. We're the type of people who start out with intentions to make delicious margaritas and end up just drinking the tequila with limes because it's quicker and more direct.

This week, seeing as we were celebrating a birthday and will, no doubt, end up finishing off the Milagro pre-margaritas, I decided to do something fancy with the alcohol. Also, truth be told, I'm one of "those" people who tends to collect various bottles of stuff because people bring it over as a "thanks for feeding me" present and then leave it at the house. It seemed a good time to polish off some of the liquor bottles and start streamlining the collection. Thus, Irish card bomb cake! It's the only irreverently named cake capable of celebrating a game whose sole objective is to come up with the most offensive, inappropriate response possible.

In terms of ease, this cake is rudimentary -- if you can make rail against microtransactions, you can make this cake. But the flavor is over-the-top decadent and presents the illusion that you worked really, really hard. In fact, you learned to make this ganache when you studied in France that summer. I know because I was there with you. Ah, memories.

Chocolate Stout Cake:

Okay, this is a cheater recipe, I admit it. Judge all you want, it's effing delicious.


1 Devil's Food cake mix
1 ¼ c. Guinness
⅓ c. vegetable oil
3 eggs

Preheat your oven to 350 F°. Follow the instructions on the back of the box, substituting the Guinness for the water required. Yes, you're going to have to drink the rest of the Guinness in the can, I'm sure you'll be okay taking this one for the team. (I don't have any pictures of this part because I assume you played enough Cooking Mama to know how to mix a cake.) Pour into two greased and floured 9" cake pans. A cake mix makes approximately 4 ½c. of cake batter, so pour 2 ¼c. into each pan. Thump them two or three times on the counter to make sure they're level and you don't have any unsightly air bubbles. Set your timer for 25 minutes. The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and the cake has pulled away from the sides of the pan. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack.

Loaded Ganache

While your cake is in the oven, go ahead and make your ganache. It'll need a couple of hours to thicken up so you can save some time now.


8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
⅔ c. heavy whipping cream
2 T. butter
1 T. Jameson or Irish whiskey of choice (see variations below)

Coarsely chop your chocolate with a large knife. Don't worry, it's hard to not coarsely chop baking chocolate. I use Baker's brand but you can use whatever kind strikes your fancy. Leave this on the cutting board.

In glass mixing bowl, combine your heavy cream and butter and set in the microwave. You could do this on the stove top but I'm inherently lazy and dislike dirtying yet another dish. Microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring between each cycle. You want to nuke it until it just boils so that it doesn't scald or go funky on you.

Remove from the microwave and add your chocolate and whiskey. Stir gently, alternating folding your chocolate into the cream so as not to slosh around. The result will be very liquidy. You could drizzle it on stuff if you wanted, but we're going to let this firm up. Place it in the fridge and stir every 30 minutes until it is thick but still spreadable -- you want it just thicker than margarine. This takes anywhere from two to three hours.
Now, I'm going to stop you right here because you're probably thinking to yourself "Self, I should add more liquor to this." No, no you shouldn't. It will mess up the consistency.

Once your cakes are cooled and your ganache is the right consistency, we make frosting!
 Bailey's Buttercream 

When you start making your ganache, go ahead and set out 1c. butter on the counter to start coming to room temperature. 

1c. butter, room temperature
5c. powdered sugar
6T. Irish Cream (see variations below)

Once your butter is room temperature and you're just about ready to throw this cake together, set your butter in your mixer or mixing bowl and beat on high until light and creamy. Can you use butter-flavored Crisco here? Yes, absolutely. Crisco vs. butter, in frosting, is entirely a preference thing. In fact, in the dead of summer (mid-July - mid-August), I might even advise it because buttercream is not friends with summer weather.  Here we're using butter. Once it's light golden and creamy, add your powdered sugar 1c. at a time.

How do you not get powdered sugar all over your counter? Gently shake your sugar into the bowl and then turn your beaters on and off in quick bursts until the sugar is mixed with the butter. Alternate the sugar with Irish Cream as you need it. Once all the ingredients are added, mix on high for 5 minutes.

If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar, about 2T. at a time. If it's too thick, add more Irish Cream, 1T. at a time. Don't get too carried away or you'll have a mess!

Alright, buttercup. Let's do this thing.
Set the bottom layer of the cake, rounded side down on your cake plate. You could torte the cake and slice off the rounded part to give you a totally level surface, but every time you do this, Lara Croft kills a defenseless deer. Seriously, don't waste good cake, there's no need to.

On your smooth, luscious chocolate surface, drop your ganache in the center of the cake. Using your spatula, gently smooth the ganache out to the edges of the cake, but stop about ½" from the edge. Trust me on this, you don't want your Irish Cream frosting to have trails of chocolate running through it. Or maybe you do. I dunno, I don't judge. Once you have a gorgeous, decadent, velvety even layer of ganache, slap your other cake, rounded side up on top of the cake.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, Jen," you're probably saying." Won't this make my cake a little rounded? Yes, a little. But we can fix a lot with frosting.  Speaking of which, let's frost! Before we do that though, what instrument shall we use?

Should we use a rubber spatula? Do you want to destroy this tower of divine? That scrapes the bowl, that's its lot in life and the spatula understands that. You should, too.

Should we use a butter knife? Wtf put that thing away. The only thing a butter knife is good for is spreading butter on your toast and frustrating your family at dinner when you decide to be a spiteful cook and hand them that to use on their steak. Oh, ho, who wants steak for dinner now? ... I'm sorry, where were we?

Ah yes, an angled spatula! Take from an ex-Wilton instructor when I say this is the best tool for the job. The first thing we're going to do is make a crumb coat. What's a crumb coat? It's a thin layer of icing you put over the cake so that you don't dredge unsightly crumbs or ganache along the edges when you frost for realsies.

Once your crumb cake has created a beautiful force field against unsightly bits, it's time to frost. You want to make sure you continually clean your spatula between spreading so you don't get gunked up and messy. Keep pulling your frosting in the same direction along the sides, going from top to bottom. Don't worry if you develop a "crown" of frosting around the top edge. That's a good thing. It'll give us a nice, crisp edge later.

Once your sides look as smooth as the alabaster walls in God of War, frost your top. Similarly to the ganache, dollop a large portion on top and evenly spread it toward the edges, stopping when you hit the edge made from your sides. Once everything is smooth and even, start lightly dredging your spatula across the top to create a smooth, crisp surface. Wipe your spatula off on the edge of your bowl after every pass.

Look. At. That. Holy shit, you guys.

Mmmmmmmm. Cake.

Now, it should go without saying but this is an adults-only cake. The alcohol bakes out of the cake entirely (leaving nothing but a rich, deep chocolate flavor), but the ganache and frosting are loaded. Not so loaded as to get you buzzed, but you'll notice the alcohol in each sinful bite.

Hopefully, so too will your fellow players and they'll think your answers are the funniest because you're a witty bastard and you got them drunk on cake. Play to win, baby.


This is, without question, the most versatile cake I know. You can substitute most anything. My personal favorite combination is to use Cointreau or Grand Gala in the ganache and then substitute Amarula for the Irish Cream in the frosting. You end up with a chocolatey, fruity combination that is particularly nice in the summer months.

Or you could substitute Kahlua in the ganache and use a dairy cream liqueur in the frosting to make a white Russian-style cake.
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