Do you like chocolate? How about whisky? Well then, do I have a cake for you! This intensely chocolate cake with a generous amount of spirits in it will warm more than the cockles of your heart: Chocolate Whisky Maple Cake.
Sometimes inspiration strikes at exactly the right time. Like a few weeks ago when I was trying to decide what kind of cake to make for someone who just happens to have a weakness for chocolate and likes to indulge in a whisky now and again. An article popped up in my Facebook feed about a “Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake” made by Melissa Clarke for the New York Times. Hello, dilemma solved!
My version of this cake isn’t radically different from the original, but I did make some changes. For instance, I didn’t have any espresso powder on hand, so I used strong coffee instead. And instead of regular sugar, I made a sweetly unrefined version using maple sugar and maple syrup. There was maple in one form or other in the cake, in the glaze and in the topping. Yup, lots of maple, and who can resist that? The original recipe made a large bundt cake or two loaf cakes, but I cut it in half to make a single loaf cake.
Oh, another change: being Canadian and an editor, I spell it whisky instead of whiskey. But I don’t care how they spell it on the label as long as it’s good.
Chocolate Whisky Maple Cake
With all that out of the way, I’m pleased to present this Chocolate Whisky Maple Cake. It’s dense and very rich, with a fine crumb that allows you to cut thin slices. (Because if you cut thin slices, then you can have two, which is scientifically proven — or not — to be more satisfying than having one thick slice.) The chocolate flavour is deep and the whisky is warming. This definitely isn’t one for the kiddies!
I thought about serving the cake with a dollop of maple whipped cream, which would have been delicious. But instead I used creme fraiche, since I had it on hand, and a drizzle of maple syrup. Because, more maple syrup. And the creme fraiche tartness was a good counterfoil to the richness of the cake.
What can I say, the cake was a hit!
(Recipe below photo)
Chocolate Whisky Maple Cake
© Marlene Cornelis, Urban Cottage Life.com 2017
This is my riff on a cake developed by Melissa Clark, who adapted it from a version made by Maida Heatter. So it goes with recipes! This cake is very rich, dense and moist. Its fine crumb allows you to cut thin slices (not that you have to).
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Prepare a 9×5-inch loaf pan by buttering it and then coating it with a mix of flour and cocoa powder.
- 2.5 oz good quality 70 percent chocolate
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- almost 1/2 cup double strength coffee, hot or warm
- 1/2 cup whisky
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup maple sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp whisky
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- (optional) 1 tsp or so of maple sugar for sprinkling
Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Be careful not to get any water in the chocolate, or it will seize. When the chocolate is mostly melted, move the bowl to the stove top or a trivet and stir until all the chocolate is smoothly melted. Let it cool while you get on with the rest of the preparations.
Put the 2 tbsp cocoa powder in a 2-cup measuring cup and add coffee to the half-cup mark. Then add the 1/2 cup whisky and 2 tbsp maple syrup. Mix well with a fork and set aside to cool.
Stir the flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.
In a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and airy. Then cream in the sugar until fluffy. Scrape the bowl, then add the vanilla extract, and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the melted chocolate and scrape the bowl again.
Add the whisky and flour mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with the liquid. (As so: 1/3 liquid, 1/2 flour, 1/3 liquid, 1/2 flour, 1/3 liquid.)
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, scraping the mixing bowl well to ensure you get every bit. Smooth the top and bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Because the cake is so dense, it may be a tad sunken in the centre, but that’s okay.
Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then carefully turn it out to finish cooling. (Put a plate or second cooling rack over the top of the pan and flip it over. Then put the original baking rack on the bottom of the cake and flip again so the top is facing up, and remove the top plate or rack.)
Use a toothpick or skewer to poke holes all over the cake. Mix the 1 tbsp each whisky and maple syrup together in a small measuring cup or jug with a spout, and pour evenly over the cake. If you wish to use your finger to taste any of the dregs, I won’t judge.
When the cake is cool, sprinkle with more maple sugar if you desire. Slice and serve with a dollop of whipping cream or a mound of creme fraiche and drizzle with maple syrup. Ice cream would work too.