Seeking Temperance In Bourbon Chocolate Bundt Cake

Temperance sounds a lot like temper rants. As in, forks are flying, hair is on fire and things are getting completely out of hand, yet it means almost entirely the opposite. It would be safe to say that I’ve felt more on the temper rants side of the dial in this new year than temperance. I’m hoping it’s a phase. Maybe it’s starting to sink in that life doesn’t get any easier? On the bright side, at least I know myself more with every day. That helps.

One thing I’ve gotten to know about myself is that while I have not always been good at practicing temperance, I’ve gotten significantly better at it. For example, I was the teenager who ate an entire Entennman’s Fat-Free Chocolate Cake after school because it was fat-free…and therefore I was being moderate. I am now the adult who bakes a Bourbon Chocolate Cake, eats a big slice and shares the rest. That’s progress! I wish I could say the same for other aspects of my life, but I digress…

When I baked this Bourbon Chocolate Cake for the first time, I followed the directions to the letter. I doused it with bourbon after it emerged from the oven and had cooled a bit. I think my dousing was heavy-handed because the bourbon flavor was overpowering. Tispy cake. The second time around, I didn’t douse at all. It wasn’t as moist or flavorful. What’s the lesson here? Of course! Gently sprinkle or douse with temperance. Your choice.

Just as Henny has always told me: Moderation is key.

Warning: This cake is dangerously good. The original recipe from The New York Times doesn’t call for any garnish, aside from an optional dusting of powdered sugar. I tried that and it’s fine, but I think adding a ganache drizzle is key. It elevates the cake from a nice bundt to an out-of-the-park home run.

Bourbon Chocolate Bundt Cake

Serves 10 to 12

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups flour

5 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/4 cup instant espresso powder

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup bourbon, rye or other whiskey, plus more for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

For the ganache drizzle:

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips

1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease bundt pan (cooking spray works well).
  • Carefully melt chocolate and let cool.
  • Put espresso and cocoa powder in a 2-cup (or larger) glass measuring cup. Add enough boiling water come up to the 1 cup measuring line. Mix until powders dissolve. Add bourbon and salt; let cool.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup softened 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 spatula.
  • On low speed, beat in a third of the bourbon mixture. When liquid is absorbed, beat in 1 cup flour. Repeat additions, ending with bourbon mixture. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
  • Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Transfer cake to a rack. Unmold after 15 minutes and sprinkle warm cake with more bourbon. Practice temperance! Let cool.
  • For the ganache drizzle: Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, then pour over the chocolate, and whisk until smooth.
  • Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over the cake. Start at the top of the cake and work around, allowing it to ooze a little down the sides.

3 thoughts on “Seeking Temperance In Bourbon Chocolate Bundt Cake

  1. What a terrific post. Fantastic recipe, great photos, excellent text, and a baseball reference. Four for four. I’ll try for temperance with Chocolate Bourbon Cake, but I can’t get enough of Happelsauce. XOXOXOXOX Pom

  2. oh man. i would give a lot for one of the shared slices right now. this is my #1 request come March. love you! xoxoxox

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