Ok! So as promised, some good food I made myself. I'm still a little embarrassed about my Lean Cuisine revelation, but hey, no one's perfect. Anyway!
So after making a three-layer 9" round strawberry cake for my sister, and 3 6" round 3-layer cakes for the lovely psmee's bridal shower*, I asked Cam what kind of cake he wanted. He wanted the chocolate whiskey and beer cupcakes (aka "Irish Car Bomb" cupcakes) I made once before, in cake form.
I've certainly been learning from all the Smitten Kitchen reading I do, because I knew the batter for a standard batch of cupcakes should nicely fill 2 9" rounds. So I whipped it up as written, then poured it into the round pans, docked the temperature to 325 to ensure flat tops, and baked them till the toothpick came out clean. Then I cooled them, wrapped them in foil and plastic wrap, and froze them. When your man's on the road constantly and unpredictably, cakes in the freezer make it easy to pounce on a window when he's home.
The day after his actual birthday (which he spent outside Columbus, Ohio. Magical, he'll tell you) I got my opportunity to finish the cake. I used the cupcake ganache recipe too, but either I did something wrong, or it was just too runny to go in the middle layer of the cake. So I added in some more melted chocolate, froze and stirred, froze and stirred, and finally got something that would stay in the center without squishing out the sides.
Finally, the Bailey's icing. I remembered that the original recipe made a small amount, which was ideal because it was incredibly sweet. I'm so infatuated with Swiss buttercream after making it for psmee that I decided to hack SK's recipe by replacing the vanilla with Bailey's. It's the craziest icing - for what feels like forever, the KitchenAid swirls away at this gloppy lumpy white mess, and then suddenly, it takes. Worth the wait, and there is no other frosting, to my experience, that's more delicious, easier to work with, or more durable. Success!
As you can see, Cam's cake came out pretty great. He loved it. The only thing he worried about was the leftovers, significant for a household of 2. But! I threw him a tiny surprise party the following night, and the 8 of us managed to make short work of it.