Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chocolate Whiskey Cake

Use "Irish whiskey" for a great St. Patty's day dessert.

Sometimes I debate to post a recipe. This one is from Melissa Clark who writes a food column for the New York Times. It went together easy enough. I added black walnuts because, well, the earthy smokiness of whiskey just seems to go with them. It was a great addition.

But I thought the cake a bit on "bitter side." Maybe it was the combination of coffee and bitter chocolate? A good sprinkle of powdered sugar certainly helped. Still . . . So I bought most of it to work and most people loved it (what do I know?).

A day or two later I spied what was left on the platter and cut myself a piece to go with my coffee. Ta-da! It was a different cake. It just needed a day or two to breathe and to "mellow" out and for all those strong flavors to come together. So that's what I recommend. After brushing the cake with whiskey, wrap it and allow to sit for a day or two. Then sprinkle with powdered sugar, cut and serve.

I made a half recipe and baked it in the recommended 9-inch loaf pan. I felt the pan too big for that amount of batter. The cake itself has a very light and tender crumb. Served without the powdered sugar but a dollop of soft vanilla ice cream would be ideal, too. Below is the full recipe.

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 cup instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup bourbon, rye or other whiskey, more for brushing on finished cake
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped black walnuts (optional but recommended)
  • Confectioners's sugar, for garnish (optional)

Grease and flour or spray a 10-inch Bundt pan (or two 8- or 9- inch loaf pans). Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt chocolate in microwave or over double boiler. Allow to cool. Using a bit of flour or cocoa powder, powder your nuts (and trust me, here in the South during the summer, I do). This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom while baking.

Put espresso and cocoa powders in a 2-cup (or larger) glass measuring cup. Add enough boiling water to come up to the 1 cup measuring line. Mix until powders dissolve. Add whiskey and salt. Cool.

Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup butter until fluffy. And sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.

Mix in vanilla extract, baking soda and melted chocolate, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.

On low speed, mix in one-third of the whiskey mixture. When liquid is absorbed, beat in 1 cup of flour. Repeat additions ending with whiskey mixture.

Oh, gosh! Just let me swim in it!

Carefully fold in powdered nuts. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes for Bundt pan (loaf pans will take less time, start checking after 55 minutes.)

Remove from oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Brush warm cake with more whiskey. Allow to cool. Wrap in foil or waxed paper and allow to sit for 1-2 days. Unwrap and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.


Katie said...

That sounds amazing.... I love the combination of chocolate and coffee (add some whiskey.... sigh...)

Kitchen Bounty said...

Booze + Chocolate = amazing . . . everytime. LOL. Merci beaucoup!

Lily said...

This looks absolutely yummy!

whiskey decanter set

Kitchen Bounty said...

Lily: Thanks!