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Karen's in the Country Bailey's Irish Cream Cake

For the cake:
2 8-inch, round white cakes, already baked and cooled, each about 1- to 1-inches thick (use your favorite white cake recipe, preferably one that produces a light interior)

For the Bailey's Bavarian-cream filling:
1 3.4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding
3/4 C. milk
3/4 C. heavy whipping cream
3 T. Bailey's Irish Cream liquer (using more may make the filling taste bitter)

For the coffee-butter cream frosting:
12 oz. (3 sticks) butter, softened
1 lb. powdered sugar
4 to 5 T. very strong coffee (dissolve coffee grounds with a little hot water; Taster's Choice instant coffee suggested)

For the fudge icing:
1/4 C. heavy whipping cream
1/2 T. corn syrup
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 T. butter
1 t. pure vanilla extract
2 oz. high-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Equipment needed:
A pastry bag
A large star tip for the pastry bag
An 8-inch springform pan, if you have one

To make the Bailey's Bavarian-cream filling, place all the ingredients for the filling in a mixing bowl, and beat with a mixer on slow speed until blended and smooth. Turn speed to high and continue blending until the filling is light and fluffy and will hold its shape. Do not overbeat (or the cream will turn to a butterlike, "curdy" consistency).

To make the coffee-butter cream frosting, put softened butter and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat until blended. While beating, slowly pour in coffee, continuing to beat until frosting is a smooth, spreadable consistency.

To make the fudge icing, place cream, corn syrup and sugar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Add butter, vanilla and semisweet chocolate to the pan, stirring until melted and smooth.

To assemble the cake, start with the two 8-inch layers of white cake. (Use a paper pan liner in the bottom of each cake pan during baking.) Trim the top of each cake so that it is level. Remove the paper pan liner from one cake only, and place this cake bottom-side-down in an 8-inch springform pan, if you have one. (If you don't, no need to worry. Please read on.)

Spread the Bailey's Bavarian-cream filling evenly on top of this cake. Place the remaining layer, with the bottom of the cake facing up, on top of the Bavarian cream; leave the paper liner on. (You will frost the sides of the cake while this liner is still attached; doing so will keep the top edge of the cake from crumbling off).

Press down lightly on the top layer to level the cake and to distribute the Bavarian-cream filling evenly to all the edges. If you do not have a springform pan, wrap the sides of the cake with plastic wrap, forming a band around it to keep the layers and filling in place. Place the cake in the refrigerator for one to two hours, until it sets up.

Remove the cake from the springform pan or plastic wrap. There should be 2 layers of cake separated by about 1 inch of Bavarian-cream filling. Carefully place the cake onto a serving piece.

Put the coffee-butter cream frosting into a pastry bag with a large star tip, and apply the frosting in contiguous vertical stripes along the sides of the cake. Remove the paper lining from the top of the cake. With the pastry bag, make a border trim of frosting around the top edge of the cake; this will serve as a wall to hold in the fudge icing.

In a microwave-safe bowl, quickly warm the fudge icing in a microwave, just to the point where it is shiny and will flow smoothly. Pour the icing on top of the cake and spread evenly. Do not overwork it or it will loose its shine.

Place the cake in the refrigerator again until serving time; it needs at least 30 minutes of chilling to allow the fudge icing to set.

Makes one 8-inch cake.

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