This cake uses three 9″ layers of chocolate cake. I used the least destroyed layers from the Hubris Cake. Feel free to make better life choices.
The real star of this cake is the bourbon buttercream icing. This was my first attempt at buttercream. But here’s the thing about hubris: nobody learns their lesson. Ever. Until they’re dead, or a spider, or stabbing out their own eyes because they slept with their mom.
So, hey! Let’s make the most complicated buttercream possible, disregard the quantities described by the brilliant Joe Pastry, and fill it with alcohol! What could go wrong?
This problem goes against all my Tenets Of Cake: the best cake is the one that makes the baker happy; shortcuts are awesome; sweat and suffering doesn’t actually make a cake taste better. But as soon as chocolate is involved, all my goodwill goes out the window. People go fucking crazy over anything with chocolate in it. Nobody has to work for chocolate flavor! A bar of Ghirardelli overshadows any citrus chiffon cake, paprika-spiced apples, or spice oil infusion that I can conjure. And it isn’t fair.
I am a whiny pissbaby about chocolate pastries. I’m not proud. That’s just how it is.
But people love their chocolate, and sometimes I am dumb enough to take cake requests. A friend at the comic book shop needed a going-away cake. Another friend had a birthday that same week. They both love chocolate. I conceded and, with no grace at all, decided to make two cakes at once with the most complicated fucking chocolate cake in the Joy of Cooking.
This went beyond pride to straight-up hubris. Hubris is arrogance on steroids, and it never ends well. Think Ariadne declaring that she’s a better weaver than Athena, or Odysseus deciding that he isn’t going to listen to a single goddamn piece of advice anyone gives him on the way home from Troy. When mortals decide they’re on the level of gods, the gods proceed to fuck their shit up. On this blog, I occasionally declare myself a God of Cake. I took it to far. I forgot that I am still subject to the unknowable forces of Oven, Ingredients, and Insufficiently Prepared Pans. I was punished.
Cake One was planned as a big three-layer chocolate cake with bourbon buttercream icing. Cake Two was planned as a single-layer cake with a hidden reservoir of caramel sauce and a coating of caramel, dark chocolate, and crushed pretzels. This did not go as planned.