Time for another Birthday cake! This time it’s for my good friend/neighbor/co-worker/partner-in-crime: Karen. I have been making her birthday treats for a while now, usually some sort of cheesecake. After seeing her reaction to the Banana Walnut Cake Cheesecake I made, I decided I should concoct some sort-of layer cake for her as well. She really enjoyed the layers of cake with the layers of cheesecake so I figured I’d go with that idea and figure out different flavors to do.
She will admit to anyone that she is a Bailey’s Irish Cream addict. Anything Bailey’s makes her happy so it seemed like an obvious thing to add to this cake, in some form. And since she is a chocoholic like me, I thought hmmm, Bailey’s and chocolate, how could that be bad?!? How can I take it up even another notch though… Add Kahlua and make it a mudslide cake cheesecake! Yes. these are one of her most favorite drinks to order when we go out so it was decided.
I added Kahlua to the cake layers and Bailey’s to the cheesecake. I thought long and hard about a good way to incorporate vodka into this dessert since it is in the drink recipe but decided that since it is (or should be) mostly flavorless and tends to dry out cake and chocolate that I would skip it. After covering the cake with ganache I topped the whole thing with a bittersweet chocolate ganache and drizzled it with white chocolate ganache. I sprinkled the whole thing with grated milk, dark and white chocolate. And then I decided that I would take some of the leftover cake scraps, roll them in little balls and coat them in some of the leftover white chocolate ganache to make sort-of truffles and use them to adorn the top as well.
I don’t think I could add any more decadence to this cake if I tried.
Happy Birthday Karen, my friend. You deserve this cake and oh-so-much-more. 🙂
Mudslide Cake Cheesecake
(Cake recipe adapted from “Beatty’s Chocolate Cake” by Ina Garten; Cheesecake recipe adapted from Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours)
Ingredients for the Cake Layers:
- Baking spray
- 1 ¾ cup + 2 tbsp. cake flour (or 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour- will be easier to work with when layering but will have a more coarse crumb)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cups good quality cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tsp. espresso powder
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup Kahlua
Ingredients for the Cheesecake Layers:
- Butter for greasing your pans, or parchment to line it
- 1 ½ lb. cream cheese, room temperature (3 8 oz. bricks)
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- ½ cup Bailey’s liqueur
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
- 1 tsp. unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of fine sea salt
Ingredients for the Ganache Topping:
- 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate (up to 62% cocoa), finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp. Bailey’s liqueur
Directions for the cake layers:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F with rack in the center position
- Place a silicone baking mat on a half-sheet pan and spray lightly with baking spray (or butter and flour)
- Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and espresso powder into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
- In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
- With mixer still on low, add the Kahlua and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the batter onto the prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool thoroughly in the pan (for at least 30 minutes). To remove, place a sheet of parchment over the whole cake, followed by a cutting board larger than the cake and then invert the cake onto the board. (Remove from pan in this fashion when ready to cut cake rounds and begin assembly as directed bellow in “Directions for Assembly”)
Directions for the Cheesecake Layers:
- Preheat oven to 300 degree F with rack in the center position
- Butter or line your 9-inch cake pans (with parchment or aluminum foil if lining- spray with cooking spray in this case)
- Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth on low speed
- Increase the speed to medium and gradually add the sugar and then the Bailey’s, scraping down the bowl as needed
- In multiple additions, add the beaten eggs, beating until they are absorbed into the batter and scraping down after each addition
- Add the flour, vanilla and salt and beat until completely smooth
- Divide between your pans
- Place pans on a half-sheet pan and bake until the sides have risen slightly and are barely beginning to color and the center is just set, about 25-30 minutes
- Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before covering tightly and refrigerating until chilled, at least 4 hours
Directions for Ganache:
- Place chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowel
- In a small saucepan heat the heavy cream until barely simmering
- Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 5 minutes
- Stir until completely melted and smooth
- Remove ½ cup of the ganache and to it add the Bailey’s and stir until fully incorporated
Directions for Assembly:
For more detailed pictures, etc., please refer to Banana Walnut Cake Cheesecake
- Cut two cake rings from the sheet of cake made previously using an 8 inch cake ring. Cut one ring from each of two opposite corners and two half circles from the sides of the two long edges of the cake
- Using the cake ring, first place a cardboard cake round into it, followed by one of the “whole” cake circles. Spread a thin layer of Bailey’s-ganache over the cake layer. Top that with one of the completely chilled cheesecake rounds. Top with a thin layer of Bailey’s-ganache. Top with the two cake half-rings, patching the area between the rounds with bits of cake leftover from cutting the rounds. Top with a thin layer of Bailey’s-ganache. Top with second cheesecake round. Top with thin layer of Bailey’s-ganache. Top with remaining cake round. (**Note: when “gluing” layers together with ganache, just drizzle or spread a small amount over each layer).
- Lightly compress the entire cake using a second cake round. Carefully lift the cake ring up and off of the cake, using the second cake round to hold it down.
- Top the cake with remaining ganache (which should be about ¾ the original volume of ganache). To keep your cake board or surface clean when decorating, place cake (already on a cake board) on a piece of parchment or foil to catch extra ganache and place strips of parchment between the cake and the cake round to shield the round. Do this by gently lifting the cake from the round, one side at a time, and slipping parchment part-way under the cake. Pour slightly warm ganache (heat in microwave over 50% heat for about 30 seconds if necessary first) over the cake, starting from the center and allowing it to flow to the edges and down the sides. Spread with a spatula to coat and smooth. Drizzle with other toppings like white chocolate ganache, if using and sprinkle with any other toppings you are using*. Remove parchment strips when finished, before it fully dries or it may break off in chunks.
- Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Place in refrigerator to allow ganache to fully set before serving, at least 2 hours, preferably 4 or overnight.
*Optional toppings to sprinkle on ganache while still tacky: mini chocolate chips, mixture of dark and white chocolate chips, grated chocolate, crushed oreos, white chocolate ganache drizzle (make a small batch of ganache using the recipe given above except use white chocolate)
I made two cakes, as I mentioned above, one to gift and one to taste-test. The pictures of the insides of the cake are of the “test” cake which isn’t quite as beautiful. Also, for the gifted cake, I mushed up bits of leftover cake, coated them in white chocolate ganache to make sort-of cake “truffles” and adorned the cake with them. Nom nom.
A note about the cake itself as well: if you are using cake flour the cake layers will be somewhat difficult to work with because it is so moist and bit tacky. It is luscious and delicious so I think it’s worth it but you can use all-purpose flour instead and it will be easier to work with, just follow the instructions in the recipe for this substitution.