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.

Explore || Frankfort, Kentucky

*Edit: I began and promised this post last week, but when I got home from my trip I just never opened my laptop! So without further ado, welcome to Frankfort, Kentucky…

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset      My job takes me to some off-the-beaten-path places, and this week I’m traipsing through the wilds of my Northern neighbor, the Bluegrass State of Kentucky, where (just as an aside) one of my childhood’s biggest disappointments was discovering that the grass here is not actually blue. Lies. Everywhere. As an adult I can accept those disappointments a little easier with a fine Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which brings me to today’s little adventure at Buffalo Trace.

Buffalo Trace Distillery – 113 Great Buffalo Trace, Frankfort, KY 40601

We make fine Bourbon. At a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but always fine Bourbon.” – Col. Albert Blanton

           If you are familiar with Whiskey, you have probably heard of Buffalo Trace. As one of the longest running distillers in the United States (even during Prohibition!), they do make a fine Bourbon. I’m not going to talk about the process behind making their Bourbon and other spirits (I don’t want to ruin the tour for you!), but I highly recommend going to take in the history, the amazing smells, and the very photogenic campus. I was barely there five minutes before I declared that my new dream was to work there, just so I could smell the Bourbon all day!

When you arrive at Buffalo Trace, you really can’t get over how beautiful the campus is. I don’t think there are many instances where you can walk into a working industrial complex and think of beauty! The Visitor’s Center is where you want to start- they have the museum, the gift shop, tasting room, and this is also where the free tour begins. The tour is about an hour long, and you get to go through one of the warehouses where the aging barrels are stored and you get to see the bottling process and talk with the bottlers about their jobs.  After the tour, you get to sample the goods at a free tasting. I was so impressed by how they really go above and beyond with their guests – they have obvious passion for their jobs, and go out of their way to share that with you when you go! I highly recommend going to Buffalo Trace if you are ever in the area. (Also – this place is a photographer’s dream!)

Frankfort Eats:

Gibbys – 204 W Broadway St, Frankfort, KY 40601

We wanted to eat local after our tour and found Gibbys, a great little diner downtown! They have counter service during the day and then have table service in the evening. They have a wide variety of food on the menu. I saw reviews on Google that complained about it being a little pricy, but I didn’t think so (it depends on what you’re used to). I had a huge Tuna Salad sandwich, beer-battered onion rings, and a drink for about $10, and the food was very good! Totally worth it, in my humble opinion.

We were only in Frankfort for less than 24-hours, and there are some other places downtown that I’d like to go back and check out if I’m in the area again, but the intro was worth it!