Chocolate Whiskey Cake

Chocolate whiskey cake sure is the match of the finer things in life. Here’s a decadent mix of layers of moist chocolate cake, flavoured with crisp whiskey and slathered with creamy chocolate ganache. I found it to be the perfect baking gift, for the dad in our house. Happy Fathers’ Day to all dads everywhere.

For father’s day last year, we made the Beer cake. I’m beginning to see a pattern here. Tarnishing the good father’s pristine reputation, inadvertently. I’ll post more Fathers’ Day pictures on my Instagram over the weekend.

My Chocolate Whiskey Cake Story:

I have a history with this chocolate whiskey cake. I first discovered it in an old food magazine an aunt gave me back in college. It was a magazine from the early 90’s and a lot of its content looked outdated and almost boring. Hidden there was a recipe for this chocolate whiskey cake. All else was instantly forgiven.

Seeing the title of “Chocolate Whiskey Cake” immediately caught my attention. Chocolate was already a favourite and using whiskey in a cake, seemed like a very cool idea for the barely adult me. After all these years, it sounds just as exciting. I loved it at first bake. Everyone did.

I baked this often and might have been responsible for slowly emptying the stock of whiskey in the house, for the cake of course. Somewhere down the years, I lost the recipe, although I never forgot what I often felt was the coolest cake I ever made.

Luckily for me, just last month, a friend mentioned she’d written down my recipe in her book and shared it with me. I could barely wait for an occasion to bake this cake again, which explains why we might have celebrated father’s day a whole week in advance.

Frosting the Chocolate Whiskey cake or serving it plain.

Although the original recipe was just for the cake, I’ve revisited the recipe and added a few additions of my own to it. I’ve included a simple sugar syrup (and you can add a dash of whiskey to it if you like )and a chocolate ganache frosting. Although by all means, this cake is perfect on its own. So you can serve it as is, without any of the extra fuss.

I wanted to make a tall cake, so I used three 6 inch pans to bake this cake. You can use two 8 inch pans too, or make one 9 inch layer cake too.

So here we go :

Chocolate Whiskey Cake :


For the cake :

1/2 cup/113 gms/1 stick butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup milk

1/3 cup whiskey

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

2/3 cups boiling water

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

For the sugar syrup :

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

For the ganache:

200 gms cream

300 gms milk chocolate

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease and line three 6 inch round cake tins or two 8 inch pans with butter and baking paper.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar using an electric beater. Beat until the mixture is pale.
    Add the eggs, one by one, beating the mixture after each addition.
  • Add the vanilla and the milk. Mix on low speed.
  • The batter will look curdled at this point, don’t worry. Keep going. Add the whiskey.
  • Hold a sieve over the bowl and sift in the dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, baking soda and the cocoa.
  • Fold gently using a spatula. Add the boiling water and mix well, till the batter is smooth.
  • Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake tins. Bake in a preheated oven for about 40 -45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

To make the ganache and syrup:

  • To make the syrup, heat the sugar and water on a low flame until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a boil. Let it simmer for 5 minutes and then turn off the heat. Leave it to cool.
  • To make the ganache, roughly chop the chocolate. In a microwave-safe bowl, add the cream and the chocolate. Heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and then heat it again for 20 seconds. Leave the mixture to sit for 5 minutes for the chocolate to melt completely.
  • The ganache should be smooth when you stir it. If the chocolate has not melted completely, heat the mixture again for 20 seconds. At all times make sure the cream doesn’t boil or it might split or burn. (You can also make the ganache over a double boiler)
  • Let the ganache and the baked cakes cool down completely before you assemble the cake.
  • If you’ve made the ganache in advance and refrigerated it, put it in the microwave and heat in 10-second spurts until it comes to a spreadable consistency.

To frost and assemble the cake :

  • On a serving board or cake board, smear a little ganache and then place one layer of the cake. (This ensures the cake stays in place)
  • Sprinkle some of the syrup over the cake, then spread a little of the ganache.
  • Stack the second layer of cake and repeat the process and then the same with the third.
  • Using a spatula, spread the remaining ganache over the top and the sides of the cake. You can smoothen the sides using an offset spatula or makes designs using a spoon or a fork. Decorate with chocolates on the top.

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