Chocolate Bourbon Cake

Chocolate. Bourbon. Cake. I think the moment my father spied this recipe in the New York Times he was a goner. (“You had me at chocolate.”) Nothing was going to stop him from making this cake. When he found out I possessed a 10-cup bundt pan, that was it, he was half-way to the store getting chocolate and instant espresso for the recipe. Reading Melissa Clark’s recipe we both decided that 1/2 cup of Bourbon, instead of the full cup she used, would do. We were both wrong. With 1/2 cup we could barely taste the bourbon. The second time we made the cake we used the full cup. Perfect. This is a great cake. Fine crumb. You can slice it beautifully thin and it still holds its shape. Great for us gals who like to take a very thin slice. And then another one. And then another. (Drives my dad nuts.)

For those of you who would want to substitute out the alcohol I apologize in advance, and suggest that you consider one of the other recipes on this site for chocolate cake that do not use alcohol. This is a whiskey cake; it requires whiskey. And chocolate. Yum.

Chocolate Bourbon Cake Recipe

Yum

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, more for greasing pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting pan
  • 5 ounces high quality, unsweetened dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup instant espresso (can use instant coffee)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup bourbon whiskey (can use 1/2 cup), more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar), for sprinkling

Method

1 Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a large bundt pan (10 cup capacity), or two 8- or 9-inch loaf pans. Melt chocolate in a microwave oven or in a double boiler over simmering water. Let cool.

2 Put instant espresso and cocoa powder 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. Stir in whiskey and salt; let cool.

3 Beat softened butter until fluffy (2-3 minutes on high). Add sugar and beat until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract, baking soda and melted chocolate, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.

4 With the mixer on the lowest speed, beat in a third of the whiskey espresso cocoa mixture. When liquid is absorbed, beat in 1 cup flour. Repeat additions, ending with whiskey mixture. 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 them after 55 minutes).

5 Transfer cake to a rack. Unmold after 15 minutes and sprinkle warm cake with more whiskey. Let cool. Sprinkle powdered sugar through a mesh sieve over the cake before serving.

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Recipe from Melissa Clark's Whisky-Soaked Chocolate Bundt Cake, from the article, When Temperance Isn't in the Cards, in the New York Times, Dec 3, 2008

Showing 4 of 75 Comments

  • Mary

    This does look great — how do you think it would be with dark rum instead of bourbon? (’cause I have the rum …)

    No idea. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  • Sally

    Oh, it’s that time of year…bourbon cake, rum cake. Yum! I’m not sure why I do this, but I always think of things I could use instead of the liquor specified in a recipe. I usually think of liqeuers — Amaretto, Kahlua, Grand Marnier, Framboise and so on.

  • Gira

    Oh, Elise, I just moved to New Orleans and I can’t wait to make this for my friend’s New Years Day party. :D It looks fab!!!

    Any recommendations on which Bourbon to use?

    Thanks.

  • Christina Wagenet

    Would brandy work as well? I don’t know much about baking with alcohol.

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