Baking || Chocolate Whiskey Cake

DSC_0072Before I even share this delicious cake recipe found on the New York Times website, I have to admit that I baked this cake twice yesterday for family Easter dinner because, in the most comical lack of common sense in my recent history, I reasoned that “a cup and a half” of coffee did not mean 1 1/2 measuring cups of coffee, it meant a mug and a half of coffee because that’s what one generally means when talking about a “cup of coffee”…  Oy. Yeah… Sometimes I amaze myself. Fortunately, all the excess liquid burned off in the oven so both cakes turned out fine, we got a funny story, and my family had no problem eating, what I dubbed, the “cake soup” version (My dad: “At least you know it won’t be dry!”) and a good portion of the appropriately measured one before I snagged a photo. I will make a few changes when I bake it again, so you can find the original recipe here, and I’ll post mine with changes.


  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (plus a few extra tablespoons to dust the pans)
  • 2 cups brewed strong coffee (take my advice and actually measure that out!)
  • ½ cup Irish whiskey (I used the Jameson I had stocked in my cabinet)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 cup light brown sugar 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shaved chocolate (don’t use chocolate chips)
  • powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 2 8-inch cake pans and dust with cocoa powder.
  2. In a medium saucepan over low heat (Use the 2 or 3 setting, not the low setting), warm coffee, Irish whiskey, 12 tablespoons butter and remaining cocoa powder, whisking occasionally, until butter is melted. Whisk in sugars until dissolved. Too hot and it will take forever to cool, but too cool and your sugar won’t dissolve. Remove the chocolate mixture from heat and cool completely.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Slowly whisk egg mixture into chocolate mixture. Add dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in chocolate shavings.
  4. Bake for 50-55 minutes.
  5. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.


  • I used chocolate chips like the original recipe said and they sank to the bottom and made an only slightly melted chocolate layer that pulled away from the cake (you can see it between the layers in the photo). The batter isn’t thick enough to keep chocolate chips from sinking, so that’s why I amended it to chocolate shavings. Shavings would have a better chance of melting into the batter while baking.
  • Some of the comment recommendations on the NYT suggested brandy over whiskey, because the flavors played better. I liked the whiskey and I thought the Jameson was great.
  • It isn’t a super sweet cake, and the dusting of powdered sugar is enough to give it a little extra. If I were looking to sweeten it up, I may play around with a whiskey & chocolate frosting.

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