Thursday 31 January 2013

Chocolate Bourbon Espresso Cake


In a cake. Altogether. At once. Yes, its heaven. And, yes - you must give this a go!

I found the recipe in the beautiful Tea with Bea cookbook (Bea's of Bloomsbury ) who make the prettiest and most indulgent cakes ever, as far as I'm concerned.

I've been needing a reason to bake this recipe (its not an everyday bake sort of cake, as the ingredients can be costly) and last weekend gave me the perfect excuse - my lovely Father-in-Law's birthday. He's a man who enjoys good coffee, good whiskey and is partial to a bit of cake 'n' choccie, so I thought it would be the perfect gift for his special day.

I found the cake a really enjoyable make, and impressive in the final look and taste (I of course HAD to try some, after he'd blown out the candles you understand!)

The final cake is rich, almost fudgey in texture, and has the warmth of whiskey without the burn, the coffee absolutely brings out the deepness of the dark chocolate, and the espresso buttercream with added bourbon is the perfect balance of ultra-sweet and ultra-rich - cake indulgence at its best.

This is the book you need to buy - full of amazing recipes for cakes, bakes and more. 

The Recipe from Tea with Bea

Ingredients - the cake mix

225g unsalted butter
4 shots good espresso
110g natural cocoa powder (I used Green & Blacks)
200g caster sugar
220g dark brown soft sugar
2 eggs
75ml Bourbon
1 tsp vanilla extract
280g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

20cm/8 inch round baking tin, greased and lined.

Method - the cake

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees / Gas 5
2. Put butter into a large saucepan and melt, then stir in the espresso and cocoa powder.
3. Add both sugars and the eggs and mix throughly.
4. Add 3 tbsp's of the Bourbon and vanilla extract and set aside.
5. Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and sift twice.
6. Slowly pour the espresso mix into the flour mixture, stir until well combined (NB: The mixture should be very liquidy).
7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
8. Bake in the preheated oven for 28-35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean, bake for an additional 5-10 mins if necessary. (I had to bake mine for an additional 15 minutes until the skewer was clean, so try not to worry, it will bake!)

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan for 10 mins - then pop it on a wire rack for around an hour, before slicing in half across and sandwiching together with buttercream.

For the Mocha buttercream:

350g unsalted butter, softened & cut into chunks
780g icing sugar
30-50ml/2-3 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp espresso
3 tbsp cocoa powder
a small splash of whiskey (if you fancy some extra indulgence!)


1. Using a paddle or beater attachment on your electric mixture (if you have one) beat the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
2. Stir in the milk, vanilla, espresso, and mix some more.
3. Add the sifted cocoa powder, and mix until fully combined.
4. Finally, give it a taste....decide on whether to add a little splash of booze (I did!).

Use a palette knife to spread just over half the mix between the two layers of cake. (You could cut the cake into three layers if you're brave enough!) Then, using a piping bag pipe rosettes of the buttercream around the top of the cake, and in the centre. Place whole coffee beans in the centre of each rosette for added glamour!

My cake vs. Bea's

 The thing I love most about cookbooks is comparing my own finished product with the image in the book itself...have I done the recipe justice? Does it look as good as the one in the book? Can I alter the presentation to suit my ability and visual preference? On this occasion I'm proud to say I was pleased with my outcome, so was my Father-in-Law, and other tasters, so that's the main thing. 

Bea's of Bloomsbury's Chocolate Bourbon Espresso Cake....

My Chocolate Bourbon Espresso Cake...

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. 

That is all.