Comparison is the thief of joy.
That quote has been playing over and over in my head lately. There was a discussion in one of my blogging groups about comparing yourself to others, how you always feel like you’re running behind the pack to keep up with the latest trends, the posting schedule, the social media, everything we bloggers do and more. And just when you think you’re doing everything you can to stay current, you start peeking at other bloggers and think, I’m not posting enough. My photographs aren’t good enough. My blog isn’t good enough. Then you start losing sight of why you’re really blogging in the first place. Comparison is the thief of joy. So today, I am putting my blinders on and sharing my first attempt at frosting this Mini Layered Guinness Cake with Irish Cream Ganache Frosting because if I start comparing my, uh, impeccable decorating skills, then I’d never frost a cake again.
Last year, I made Nigella Lawson’s Guinness cake and loved every bite of it. I decided to mini-fy it into a layered cake. Except I had envisioned two layers and not three. Oops. Want to know how easy it is to bake the cake layers? I made it twice in one night. The first time, I overfilled my pans, so I cut the recipe down even more and still got three layers. Meanwhile, it’s 11 PM and managed to start over and be in bed by midnight. Except it was 1 AM because of the time change.
This Mini Layered Guinness Cake was my first attempt at frosting where presentation actually mattered (well, there is the ice cream cake I suppose). Most of the time, it’s just my parents and brother eating the cake, so as long as frosting made it on top, they really don’t care how it looked. I could probably serve a slice of cake in a bowl with a scoop of frosting (much like ice cream), and they’d still be happy. But to decorate a cake to show off to the world? Talk about (delicious) pressure.
I envisioned my Guinness cake with a messy look, especially after pinning this How To Perfectly Frost A Messy Cake tutorial awhile back. It looked simple enough, and if I didn’t do a perfect job, well it is called a messy cake for a reason. I tried adding sprinkles to the top but didn’t like the look, so I scraped them off and refrosted. That’s one benefit of having a messy cake look. Also, it is much easier to decorate on the cake stand itself. Just put small pieces of wax or parchment paper underneath the edges of the cake. Once you are done, carefully remove the pieces.
The frosting is to DIE for. I first made it from Baked’s third book when I made my parent’s anniversary banana cake. This definitely deserved an “ermahgerd moment” and will be my go-to chocolate frosting to spread onto cakes. I added Bailey’s Irish Cream to complement the Guinness cake. The bad part is the frosting doesn’t do well in the fridge (it hardens because that is what ganache does when it is cold). However, if it is warm outside and you do need to refrigerate the cake, bring it to room temperature before serving.
So maybe I’m not the best decorator in the world. And maybe I do fall behind on keeping up with comments, social media, posting multiple times a week, etc. but you know what? Comparison isn’t going to steal my joy (or my cake).
- 1/4 cup Guinness beer
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened and cut into tablespoons
- 2 teaspoons Bailey's Irish Cream
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously grease three 4-inch springform pans and place onto a baking sheet. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the Guinness and butter until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in cocoa, sugar, sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Sift in flour and baking soda.
- Divide the batter among the three pans. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the chopped chocolate. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil. Remove from the heat and immediately pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 3-5 minutes then whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
- Once cool, gradually beat in the butter until the frosting is smooth and silky. Beat in Irish cream.
- Run a knife around the inside rim of each springform pan then remove the cake from the pans. Cut just enough of each top off to create a flat top.
- On a cake stand or plate, place one cake layer. Place a few strips of parchment or wax paper underneath the edges of the cake (you will be pulling them out later). With an off-set spatula, add some of the frosting on top and spread evenly. Add another cake layer and more frosting on top. Add the final layer. Add enough frosting to thinly cover the top and outside of the cake (it is ok to still see the cake through the frosting. This seals the crumbs for clean frosting later). Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the refrigerator. Wipe off the spatula to remove crumbs. Finish frosting the rest of the cake (to get the messy look, use the back of a spoon to swirl). Serve at room temperature*.
*The frosting will harden when refrigerated, so leave the cake out at room temperature. If you must refrigerate, let it warm to room temperature before serving.
Sources: Adapted from Nigella Lawson and Baked Elements
If you enjoyed my Mini Layered Guinness Cake with Irish Cream Ganache Frosting, then you may also like these recipes: