Yep it’s that time again. I just can’t seem to get enough of my whiskey! This time I’m gonna tell you about one of my absolute favorite cake recipes. I made this for the first time as my birthday treat this year (yes I always make my own birthday cake!). I’ve made this a few more times since then, but the addition of the chocolate ganache is genius. This is my most popular dessert request. Get ready for something rich, decadent, indulgent…and yes, full of frisky whiskey goodness!
This recipe is enough to make two 8″ round cakes, but since I was covering it with chocolate ganache, I thought one layer was plenty. So I decided to use the remaining batter/ganache to make mini cupcakes to share with some friends.Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Take an 8″ round cake pan and butter it well and then lay out cupcake liners in a 24-cup mini cupcake tray. Set those both aside while you make the batter.
In a medium-size pot (3-4 quart), heat the coffee, whiskey (see note below), butter and cocoa powder over medium heat, whisking together until the butter is melted. Remove pot from heat, add the sugar and whisk until the sugar is fully dissolved into the mix. Let it cool for at least 5 minutes. I use the same pot to mix in the other ingredients, to save time.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. The sifting will make the cake more fluffy and it really works, so I wouldn’t skip this step.
In a small bowl, loosely whisk together the eggs and vanilla, then add to the chocolate mixture until all combined. Now add the flour and whisk until the batter is just combined.
This batter will be thin and will look bubbly, it’s supposed to look like that.
Pour half the batter into the 8″ round cake pan. I also cut a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan, this will help make sure the bottom of the cake doesn’t stick. Evenly divide the rest of the batter in the mini cupcake tray. I use a measuring cup to pour them because it has a spout which makes it easier to be more accurate and not so messy.
Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. The actual time will depend on your oven. The cupcakes will take about 8-10 minutes, again check them with a toothpick. I really hate when I get a cake that is dry and overbaked, so it’s really important to watch your cakes very closely during baking.
Let the cakes cool completely. Once cooled, invert the cake onto a wire rack and set the mini cupcakes aside.
Making chocolate ganache is so simple, but it will really impress people when they see the finished product. Break up the chocolate and put in a medium size bowl. Put the heavy cream in a pot and heat until scalding (just about to boil). Then pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute before mixing. Mix together and you will end up with a glossy chocolate ganache. First we’re gonna cover the cake, take some ganache on a knife and put some on the sides of the cake as a base (it will get covered by the final coating). Pour some ganache on top of cake and using a straight edge frosting spatula, push the ganache to the edges of the cake (some will pour over the cake and that’s fine). I used two layers on my cake. Then apply the ganache to the sides, using the frosting knife to keep it smooth.
Now for the mini cupcakes. Take each cupcake from the base and dip them into the ganache. Then carefully take out and place on a tray to dry. If the ganache starts to cool too much, you can microwave for a few seconds to melt it.
I was making the cake to celebrate both Fathers’ Day and my brother-in-law’s birthday. I just added some crushed pecans I had from another recipe to top the cake and to add another texture. I saved the mini cupcakes to share with some friends who also enjoy their whiskey.
This cake is so moist and the whiskey flavor actually gets stronger as it sits. I prefer to make the cake a day before I want to serve so it allows the whiskey flavor to really come through.
Now about the whiskey, you can use any American whiskey, but I like to use something special. I always use Kings County Distillery Chocolate Whiskey. Kings County is a small distillery based locally in Brooklyn and they make a limited production chocolate flavored whiskey by infusing their whiskey with the leftover cocoa husks from Mast Brothers Chocolate, another Brooklyn-based company. I really believe this is the secret ingredient that makes my cake and cupcakes so irresistible. It also tastes great on its own, of course!