Bourbon vs whiskey…and cake!

13 Feb

I was a baking machine this weekend! One of the things I made was a chocolate bourbon cake.

You know that I like cocktails. And the chocolate Guinness pudding I made a while ago was really good. So when I found this recipe, I knew I had to try it.

I stopped at the liquor store on Friday night. While I like bourbon, I prefer Irish whiskey. I knew the recipe didn’t call for a whole bottle, so I knew I’d have some leftover to drink. If I’m having something leftover, I’d rather have Irish whiskey. So I asked the guy at the liquor store if he thought you could substitute one for the other in the recipe. Apparently I asked him how to make a clock instead of what time it was, because I got a very long explanation.

According to US regulations, whiskey can be made from any grain, must be produced at less than 190 proof, must be stored in oak containers, and must be bottled at no less than 80 proof. Whiskey can be made anywhere in the world.

Bourbon apparently is a subcategory of whiskey, and it must be made in the US. The grain mixture must contain at least 51% corn, must be produced at less than 160 proof, must be stored at no more than 125 proof, and must be stored in new charred oak containers. It apparently is sweeter than Irish whiskey.

So to use it in a cake, I would need to adjust the sugar amounts to keep the whiskey/chocolate flavor balance, which would in turn mean adjusting the liquid/solid ratios too. Too much work! So I bought the bourbon. Oh the sacrifices I make for baking!

First, I preheated the oven and greased/floured two loaf pans. Then I melted the chocolate in a double boiler.

Then I put instant coffee and cocoa powder in measuring cup and added boiling water. Mixed this until it was all dissolved. Added salt and whiskey and let it cool.

I was too lazy to use my KitchenAid mixer…bad idea. It would have been a lot easier. But it was late in the evening, I was tired, and I didn’t feel like hauling it up from the basement. So with a hand mixer, I beat sugar and butter until fluffy, then added eggs. Then I mixed in vanilla, baking soda and the melted chocolate.

Then I alternated adding flour and the whiskey mixture.

I poured it into the loaf pans and baked it.

Turned out great! I forgot to take a picture of the finished product, so here is what it looks like on the original website:

I would highly recommend this recipe. When you ask the guy at the liquor store a question, just be sure you won’t get a 10-minute answer with no chance to break in.

Chocolate Bourbon Cake (from “Simply Recipes“)

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups flour
5 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate
1/4 cup instant espresso or instant coffee
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup bourbon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a large Bundt pan or two loaf pans. Melt chocolate in a microwave oven or in a double boiler. Let cool.

Put instant espresso and cocoa powder in a 2-cup 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.

Beat softened butter until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla, baking soda, and melted chocolate, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

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/espresso/cocoa mixture. Scrape batter into prepared pans and smooth top. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean – about 1 hour 10 minutes for the Bundt pan; about 55 minutes for the loaf pans.

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

One Response to “Bourbon vs whiskey…and cake!”


  1. Weekly roundup « The Reinvented Lass - February 20, 2012

    […] an awesome bourbon chocolate cake that was a bit bourbon-y, but that just made it better in my […]

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