Chocolate Bailey's Irish Cream Cake

7:16 PM

For most of my life I have been able to look out of my window and see America’s Mountain.  For those unfamiliar, I am talking about Pikes Peak, long celebrated as being the inspiration for the words of America the Beautiful.  Katharine Lee Bates the author of America the Beautiful drew inspiration for the words to the song after a trip to the summit of Pikes Peak the summer of 1893. 

Colorado is the state known for having the most days of sunshine per year.  As such, we Coloradans aren't quite
sure why Florida is known as the sunshine state, but we'll let them have it since we have landscape views
that can't be beat!  That snow covered peak in the background is America's Mountain, Pikes Peak!
This his what the residents of Colorado Springs and surrounding areas see each day.  

So what the heck does this little tidbit have to do with baking?  Oh if you only knew . . .  Let’s start with a few statistics.  Pikes Peak’s elevation is 14,115 feet above sea level.  I live in the foothills of Pikes Peak in the City of Colorado Springs whose elevation is over a full mile above sea level at 6,035.  When you think about it, my home is nearly half way up the mountain already!  My Pinterest board is loaded with cakes and yummy baked goodies; for most people trying these recipes means just following the ingredients in the amount indicated.  But for those of us living at high altitude it means tweaking every single baked recipe; decreasing the leavening, increasing the liquid and decreasing the sugar.  Unfortunately, I’m not a food scientist so it usually takes a few tries before I manage to get the adjustment just right on a newly tried recipe.  Alton Brown where are you when I need you???  

Pikes Peak even looks beautiful on "the back side."  This is how we Coloradans refer to the side of Pikes Peak you can see from the Canyon City side of the Continental Divide.  That's right, we routinely traverse the Continental Divide!
What is that joke about California and Texas both being downhill...?  Never mind!  That joke isn't nearly
as funny as watching people find out what Rocky Mountain Oysters are for the first time!

Occasionally it means that I bake a cake that tastes absolutely outstanding, but looks misshapen (fallen in the center), sometimes it leads to my baked goodie turning out too dry, sometimes my baked goodie hits the garbage; there is no salvaging it!  I have loved baking since I was a tweenager.  Living at high altitude has never stopped me from baking I just have to try harder and more often than those of you who live at altitudes below 5,000 feet.  

What is that deliciousness I spy in the fridge!  O. M. G!  Look at that cake!

From time to time I get lucky on the first try and get it right, unfortunately, it wasn’t this time! The weekend prior to St. Patrick’s Day Adrienne and I decided to host a small family dinner including Cait and her husband, Alex.  It was a great excuse to try the Bailey’s Irish Cream cake we had pinned earlier; what better excuse to celebrate Alex’s Irish heritage than with a baked goodie with Bailey’s in it??  So back to the high altitude adjustments, I did make them per my normal formula, but the three layers nevertheless still sunk in the center.  Dang it, all three layers were as concave as the bowl of a spoon.  But honestly the wonderful smell from the Bailey’s permeated the house and the crumbs from the cake tasted glorious and moist so it definitely wasn’t going to the garbage.  

Pretty cake on the outside...

Fortunately this recipe also provided a frosting recipe, which under normal circumstances probably would have produced way, way, too much icing for a cake.  But my little concave yumminess needed something in the fallen center so that we could stack them and from the outside make this cake look as tall and as beautiful as America’s Mountain!   Happily, Adrienne can frost a cake like no other and from the outside, no one was the wiser. I will definitely try this baked goodie again and make some slightly different adjustments hopefully I’ll get this to work.  Yet either way, this cake is so good that I’ll eat it even if it is considered a baking failure!  

...and a little heavy on the frosting on the inside.  But still super delicious!

For those of you who live at lower altitudes, this recipe will work just fine as it is written.  If you are like me living at a higher altitude, you probably have normal adjustments that you make in all your recipes (since they vary depending on the altitude), give them a try, this cake is definitely worth the trouble to figure out until it comes out just right.  

Okay, so I just had to throw in this shot of my vintage coffee grinder.  It was my grandmother's and is definitely
over 100-years-old!

Living at altitude isn’t all bad.  Other than the fact that we have to adjust baking and some other cooking practices, we have a spectacular view, enjoy lots of outdoor activities, biking and hiking trails (yes there is even one going up America’s Mountain) and athletes love it here (balls fly further, bounce higher, and altitude training for the Olympics is a thing here).  All in all, I wouldn’t change where I live for anything, not even for a cake that turns out right the very first time.  Good luck bakers, this cake is a winner at any altitude!

We decided to go with less frosting on the top since there was soooo much in the middle.
We topped these little dollops off each with a cute as a button coffee bean!

Without further ado, here is the recipe from the blog Life Love and Sugar!  There are tons of delicious goodies we are itching to try from this fabulous blog and if this yummy cake is any indication of how sweet the other confections will taste, we are soooooo in!  Who's ready for a sugar high?!

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