chocolate whiskey cake

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Chocolate Mocha Cake with Irish Whiskey

From the book Good Tempered Food by
Serves 10 to 12

Culinate editor’s note: I have made this little black dress of cakes numerous times and it always turns out wonderful, even when I fudge the recipe, substituting whatever coffee I have in the house, ordinary sugar, unblanched almonds, and even — mon dieu! — Kentucky bourbon. Be sure to check the cake on the early side; though this cake is tolerant of substitutions, it does not like to be overbaked.


A delicious birthday cake, which needs little more than a perfectly made vanilla ice cream with fresh Madagascan vanilla beans.



6 oz. semisweet chocolate (minimum 70 percent cacao)
4 Tbsp. freshly made strong mocha coffee
2 Tbsp. Irish whiskey
7 Tbsp. raw vanilla-flavored sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, soft enough to cream
3 organic eggs, separated
½ cup freshly ground blanched almonds
~ A few drops of natural bitter-almond extract
Tbsp. all-purpose flour, sifted


2 oz. best bittersweet chocolate
2 Tbsp. Irish whiskey
¼ cup unsalted butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan.
  2. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler with the coffee and whiskey. Remove the top pan and allow them to cool.
  3. Cream all but a tablespoon of the sugar with the butter until it is pale and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt to the soft-peak stage, then add the last tablespoon of sugar and beat to firm peaks.
  4. Blend the chocolate mixture into the creamed butter and sugar with a rubber spatula, then stir in the ground almonds and bitter-almond extract. Fold in a spoonful of the egg white, followed by a spoonful of flour, and continue until it’s all blended in.
  5. Scrape the mixture into the cake pan and bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. A skewer should come out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife round the edge of the pan and turn the cake out on to a rack.
  6. Ice the cake when it is completely cool. Melt the chocolate and whiskey in the top of the double boiler until satiny smooth. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter, a tablespoon at a time. Stand the bowl over iced water and continue to beat, otherwise the butter and the chocolate will separate. You can always add a little cream if this happens — whisk and the mixture will cohere. Spread the icing over the cake, leaving a rough finish.

This content is from the book Good Tempered Food by Tamasin Day-Lewis.

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