Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake


My former roommate Kelly is a skilled baker, and is not shy about adding booze to her baked goods. Last December she made a delicious eggnog bundt cake with currants. Her most famous liquor-filled confection though would have to be her chocolate whiskey cake.

Sarah, current roommate and a skillful baker as well, decided she wanted the cake for after dinner Sunday night. This became one of two Sunday morning baking projects for us. The recipe was featured in the New York Times a few years ago. It calls for a liberal amount of whiskey and is described as “rich, dense and very chocolaty.”

I had my reservations about it. After all, I am not the biggest fan of hard liquor. After you have creamed the butter, sugar and eggs, you alternate between adding the dry ingredients and a mixture of cocoa, boiling water, and one cup of whiskey. The smell that that mixture produced was potent to say the least. Not a smell you’re used to experiencing at 10 in the morning. Not for me at least…

The batter comes together into a very smooth and silky. I could tell it would be a very moist, rich cake.

And as if the cup of whiskey in the batter is not enough, the cake then is soaked with more whiskey after it comes out of the oven. But wait! There’s more. Sarah decided to top the cake with an icing made out of cocoa, powdered sugar, and you guessed it, more whiskey. I really should have photographed the bottle of Jim Beam after the cake was finished to show you how much whiskey ultimately went into it.

The cake was wonderfully dark and fudgy, but ended up being a tad too boozy for me. I’ve had plenty of rum-soaked cakes before. This is something else. This is, Hey how about some cake with that whiskey? But I realize I am somewhat of an anomaly.

The comments and exclamations when this cake was served Sunday night were like nothing I had ever heard. If you like whiskey, I highly recommend this cake. We served it with whipped cream. Should the whiskey content still not be satisfactory to you, feel free to pour more whiskey on top of your individual slice, as some people at the dinner table may or may not have done. This, of course, is optional.

Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake
adapted from The New York Times

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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11 Responses to Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake

  1. Sarah says:

    Thanks Elizabeth! This cake is truly delicious – both the times Kelly made it and now baking it the first time myself. I can comment on the flavor – the cake is rich, chocolatey, dense and very moist. There is a definite whiskey flavor, but you can monitor that by how many shots you pour on the cake after it is baked. It’s also a relatively simple recipe to put together, and makes an elegant dessert. We made this for a friend of mine whose birthday was earlier this month and who does enjoy whiskey. My boyfriend literally ate 5 or 6 slices. It’s THAT good.

  2. Michelle says:

    I adore boozy baked goods, especially ones that incorporate beer, wine or rum!

  3. Mmm… whisky can be a bit of a shocker to my system but, with chocolate, how can you go wrong?! This looks so tasty. Adding fruity liqueurs to whipped cream is something I like to do, too!

  4. biancag2009 says:

    I would love this! Alcohol and chocolate? Yes, please!! Will have to try my hand at something like this soon…

  5. I would love this! Alcohol and chocolate?? Yes please! Would have to try my hand at baking something like this soon…

  6. Surekha says:

    That cake is both genius and evil. Since it’s alcohol, not water, you can beat the tar out of it without fear that the cake will be tough or mealy…. Excellent. Also, there’s the fringe benefit of enjoy a couple fingers of whiskey while you bake, a la the rogue glass of wine while prepping mussels. Also, excellent. PS. We need a foodie date ASAP! You, me, Josie, and Julie. Soon!

  7. Megan says:

    You guys should have made whiskey whipped cream too. 🙂 Sounds like a rich, delicious, and, yes, boozy cake. Lovely!

  8. Yum! I love whiskey and chocolate, sounds divine!

  9. Ryder says:

    Mmmmmmmm this looks DELICIOUS. Thanks for the recipe!

  10. Daisy says:

    I am growing to like whiskey more and more. this cake looks amazing!!

  11. mirseven says:

    Epic! Would have been perfect for yesterday’s snowstorm…

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