A few weekends ago, after running 18 miles that morning, Joe and I headed to the first annual Nashville Whiskey Festival.
With the weather turning cooler, I’m more likely to find myself enjoying a small glass of the brown stuff after dinner. Something about fall and football and yellow leaves and bourbon just seem right together. For a while, I had put a moratorium on whiskey purchases because the bottles seemed to be multiplying on the baker’s rack that we use as a liquor cabinet, but over the past year, we drank down the contents. At the whiskey festival, we tasted some new products and some old favorites and restocked the shelves.
Additionally, we learned a great trick from the “Chief Cocktail Officer,” Tim Laird, at the Whiskey Festival. He served us some Woodford Reserve infused with dried apples and cinnamon, and after obtaining the materials, we used some of our mixing bourbon to do the same. I’m still brainstorming cocktails using the stuff, but believe me that it is unbelievably good.
This cake made the short list for potential birthday cakes, but a layer cake seemed to fit the celebratory birthday bill better than a bundt cake. Just a few days later, I got to make this cake for a casual dinner gathering. My dad supplemented the cake with a pumpkin pie because there were children present, and this cake is quite strong. However, it didn’t seem to make any difference because our friends’ 4 year-old took down slice after slice of this cake. It’s dense and chocolaty and rich, and the bourbon adds, well, bourbon flavors – caramel, vanilla, and oak. I happened to use a winter-spiced whiskey we bought in Breckenridge, Colorado at Breckenridge Distillery a few years ago, so my cake had some hints of cinnamon and clove as well. Whatever you use, make sure it’s a good quality whiskey or bourbon because there’s a whole cup of it. After a few days, the cake got a little dry, so we just brushed a little more bourbon on it, and it tasted as good as new!
Boozy Chocolate Bourbon Bundt Cake
source: Cook Like a Champion
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
5 ounces unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup bourbon, rye or other whiskey, plus more for brushing
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 325º. Generously butter a 10-cup Bundt pan and lightly dust it with flour and/or cocoa powder.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool. Bring water to a boil. Place espresso and cocoa powders in a 2-cup or larger glass measuring cup, then add enough boiling water to bring the mixture up to the 1 cup line. Stir until the powders dissolve, then stir in the bourbon and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue beating 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 and bottom of the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low, then add about a third of the bourbon mixture. Once the liquid is absorbed, beat in 1 cup of flour. Repeat with another third of the bourbon mixture and the remaining cup of flour. End with the last third of the liquid. The batter will be thin. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with a rubber spatula, then pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with the spatula and bake for about 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Place cake on a cooling rack and allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then carefully unmold the cake onto a serving platter. Brush on an additional tablespoon of bourbon and allow to cool completely. Once cool, dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.