Last weekend I made the most incredible cake, it was a zesty lemon sponge cake filled with lemon buttercream and finished with a dark chocolate Baileys ganache, I decorated it with some chocolate shavings and some chocolate dipped strawberries with a few bare ones for a burst of colour. It was delicious and went down well at a family birthday party. It was also remarkably easy to make. I love making cakes but I have never really got to grips with fondant and royal icings, I prefer the ease of spreading soft buttercream or silky ganache over the top – its hard to go wrong with it.
Can I tell you a secret? I really dislike most cupcakes that are store-bought or even from fancy bakeries. The reason is the overwhelming sweetness of the buttercream – it tastes so sugary that I find it hard to eat them and you can hardly taste the buttercream. Obviously there are some exceptions but more than often I am disappointed. I much prefer homemade buttery buttercream and my secret ingredient is salted butter. The combo of the salted real butter with finely sifted icing sugar is perfection and I could eat a bowl of it!
There are no photos of the interior of the cake as it disappeared pretty quickly!
Lemon Cake With Dark Chocolate Baileys Ganache
You will need:
For the cake:
300g of Self Raising Flour
300g of Butter (softened)
300g of Golden Caster Sugar
6 medium eggs
2 tsp of lemon extract
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
For the buttercream:
200g Icing Sugar
100g Salted Butter ( softened )
1.5 tsp of lemon extract
25ml Warm Milk
For the Ganache:
200g dark chocolate
300g Double Cream
75ml Baileys Irish Cream
Preheat your oven to 180c and grease/line 3 cake tins – you could do this in 2 or one large one and separate with a cake slicer but I do like the effect of the three layers.
Cream your butter and sugar together until pale and smooth. Add your flour in 100g increments along with 2 eggs each time and beat. Now add your vanilla, zest and lemon extract. When lump free and combined, divide between your tins and bake for 20 -25 minutes or until golden and bounces back when lightly pressed – you may need to adjust your timings if you are using less than 3 tins. Remove from oven, carefully remove from tins and leave on a wire rack to cool.
Whilst they are cooling make your buttercream and ganache. For the buttercream cream beat your butter until soft and creamy, add the milk and slowly sift in your icing sugar and mix well. When smooth add your lemon extract. Set aside.
For the ganache, break your chocolate into small pieces in a glass bowl now bring your cream to a simmer but do not let it boil. Pour your cream over the chocolate and immediately beat with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth. Now add your Baileys and stir in until combined completely. Leave to cool then cover with clingfilm and pop in the fridge to allow it to thicken slightly.
Once the cakes have cooled spread half of your buttercream across the top of the bottom layer, add you second layer and do the same before adding your final cake. If you have a lump in the middle of the top cake trim with a knife until flat.
When your ganache is slightly thickened ( do not allow too harden ) spread across the sides and top of your cake in one thick layer. Any remaining ganache can be left to harden and then rolled in cocoa powder to make the most delicious truffles.
Now decorate your cake as you wish, I chose to dip strawberries in white and dark chocolate and placed along side along with some chocolate shavings on top but you could use anything – perhaps some truffles or candied lemon as a hint to whats inside.
This cake is rich and tall so you could easily serve 10 people.
Enjoy! Do let me know if you try this.