Friday feeling: Bailey’s cheesecake

A chocolate cheesecake with just the right amount of creamy booze

There is always one: one drink the merest mention of which evokes visceral memories and a spontaneous shudder, followed by that universal explanation of, “Ugh, that drink and me have history.” For most, it’s tequila or vodka—anything drunk cheaply and in bulk in your student years and then shunned for ever after. For us, however, it is cream liqueurs.

They are sweet, they are—obviously—creamy, and they are perilously moreish, tasting more like pudding than alcohol. Their ABV sneaks up on you like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, leaving you broken and eaten up with self-loathing the very next day. In short, cream liqueurs and us ‘have history’—so it was with some trepidation that we came to sample Ion Patisserie’s Bailey’s cheesecake. Would we cope, or would the first mouthful spark a Proustian descent into fuzzy memories of sickness and shame?

Four-layer masterpiece
We coped. Indeed, the well-scraped emptiness of the box suggests we didn’t just cope, we relished ION’s sweet, smooth creation: a four-layer masterpiece of chocolate brownie base—“made exactly like our indulgent chocolate brownies,” the stall’s founder Cornell advises—a layer of chocolate cheesecake, a layer of Bailey’s cheesecake and a layer of sweet-sour cream.

“It is only on the third layer we use Bailey’s—approximately 125ml for the whole cheesecake, so it's not too strong in alcohol and just gives a hint of this fantastic liqueur,” she says—a level of restraint for which we are most grateful. “Bailey’s is an extremely delicious blend of two of Ireland most delicious ingredients: rich dairy cream and fine, elegant whiskey,” Cornell points out, but it does need moderation to really shine.

Velvet sweetness
“For the lovers of cheesecake creaminess and the flavour of the chocolate-Baileys combination, this is the answer,” she continues. “The smooth, velvety taste of Bailey’s makes it a dessert in its own right, so going further and using it in other sweet combinations becomes instinctual.” Bailey’s on ice is still a no-go zone for us, but with the velvet sweetness of Ion’s cheesecake singing round our tastebuds, we now feel emboldened to approach desserts involving Bailey’s with a spoon and an open mind.