Monday, December 15, 2008

Have your cake and drink it too

Being an enthusiastic fan of both bourbon and chocolate, I knew I needed to bake Melissa Clark's Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake when I spotted it a few weeks ago in the New York Times.

I made it this weekend as dessert for a football watching dinner/party and I have to say there are few better ways to end a testosterone-filled Sunday night. The guys were enthusiastic at the thought of a boozy treat and even more so when they smelled their slice. Yes, the 'nose' on this confection is strong! I would discourage bakers to add more whiskey to drizzle over the cake once it comes out of the oven and instead add some milk chocolate shavings when serving which I found balanced the flavors a bit more. Otherwise, it's a great, unique dessert. Moist and flavorful. Plus, the bundt shape makes it a bit more portable than say, a layer cake, for your holiday potlucks.

Happy drunken eating!

Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake
by Melissa Clark

Time: About 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, more for greasing pan

2 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting pan

5 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/4 cup instant espresso powder

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup bourbon, rye or other whiskey, more for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish (optional)

1. Grease and flour a 10-cup-capacity Bundt pan (or two 8- or 9-inch loaf pans). Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In microwave oven or double boiler over simmering water, melt chocolate. Let cool.

2. Put espresso and cocoa powders 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. Add whiskey and salt; let cool.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup butter until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in 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. On low speed, beat in a third of the whiskey 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 before serving, garnished with confectioners’ sugar if you like.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

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