Whiskey and Chocolate

This past weekend was the bachelor/bachelorette parties I spoke of in my last entry. To illustrate how much fun I had, I probably need only say that I slept for eight or nine hours Sunday...morning/afternoon/evening as opposed to Saturday night! Between the end of the bachelorette party and Monday, I was probably awake for only four hours. Crazy! I do not like to sleep. Sleep is a waste of my time. Of course, I'm constantly exhausted and try my best to get at least seven hours a night, but during the day? Naps are not an option...though I often fall into an extreme coma against my will.

Anyway, the party was just absolutely awesome and the night flew by so quickly! We started out at the bride/groom's house, quickly ate some of my exquisitely decorated cake (this is the part where you recall what kind of cake I made and laugh), hopped onto the party bus to make our way to the bars, and within what felt like an hour, we were dropping people off. That's how you know you had a great time; it just passes you by in a blink. I only spent $10 too, which is pretty amazing! Of course, I only bought two drinks, but mixed drinks are usually more than $5 a piece.

Beginning of the night...
End of the night...Apparent by the table full of bar condiments!

The only thing I would do differently about that night is bring home some of the whiskey brownies...or actually put the tiny whiskey cake I set aside (using the leftover batter) in the fridge rather than leave it out all night on an open-air cake stand. OOPS.

Oh, and use a different recipe for the bachelorette cake/cupcakes. I didn't want to make a chocolate cake because I wanted it to be as authentic as possible (if you know what I mean), but I hate yellow cake; I absolutely loathe it. It was the simplest thing I could think of, though, and my compromise was to add crushed pineapple, so it would be more like a pineapple upside-down cake. Too bad the pineapple didn't add enough flavor! I actually believe that, had there been more fruit, it would have been great. But I'm entirely unsatisfied with the outcome! I'm sure not everybody felt the absolute same way, though. The meringue frosting was at least amazing.

Of course, I have plenty of leftover "pineapple" cupcakes! The one thing I do not want to eat. I actually hate whiskey, but those cupcakes were pretty good! I think it was the fact that the whiskey was set against so much cocoa; the cake was practically black! I also made bourbon caramel to pour over the tops, which was really my favorite part. I could eat spoonfuls of that...maybe. At first bite, it's really delicious and then the back-flavor of bourbon hits you.

Just sampling the ingredients! I recommend leaving the whiskey for the cake...

The combination has inspired me to try something similar with other liquors. I've brushed straight liquor and liquor-infused simple syrups onto cake before, but I've never actually baked it into the cake, and especially caramel, until now. Perhaps, soon, I'll experiment!

Chocolate Bourbon Cupcakes


  • 1 1/2 cups brewed coffee (hot)
  • 1/2 up whiskey
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 F and prepare cupcake tins (either with liners or butter and flour). I made 24 cupcakes and had enough leftover batter to make a tiny little cake out of a large ramekin, so you could probably use two full pans plus part of a third, if you like. Otherwise, just do what I did with the leftovers! 

Combine coffee, whiskey, butter, and cocoa in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat and whisk until ingredients are incorporated and butter is melted. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and cool 5 minutes. In the meantime, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. In another bowl, lightly whisk eggs and vanilla; whisk into the cooled chocolate mixture until combined well. Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined; you may decide to do this in a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, but make sure the speed is high enough to incorporate the eggs properly. Because this is a thin batter, it's difficult to incorporate the eggs at a low speed (at least it was for me!). 

Pour about 3 tbsp batter into each muffin cup to fill them about 3/4 full. I used a quarter cup measure and poured slightly less than the entire thing into the cups. These cupcakes do not rise much and mine didn't dome at all, so you could potentially fill the cups further, if you plan to frost the cupcakes, top with whipped cream, or leave as they are. Because I was going to pour caramel over them, though, I needed a little room between the cupcake and the top of the liner, to keep the caramel from flowing over.

Bake about 20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Leave to cool at least ten minutes before removing from tin. I simply let mine cool completely in the tins because I baked them a day ahead and wasn't going to need them yet; since they were in liners, I wasn't worried about them sticking.

Bourbon Caramel Topping

  • 2 tsp water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Stir together the water and baking soda, so that the baking soda dissolves. In a 6-quart saucepan, bring the sugar, buttermilk, butter, and corn syrup to a boil, stirring to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the baking soda water; the mixture may begin to rise up and bubble--just make sure you keep stirring so it doesn't flow over.

If it looks like it's getting out of hand, remove it from the heat temporarily to calm it. Keep cooking until the sauce is thick and golden, about eight minutes. If you want it thicker, keep heating the mixture. I cooked mine a little longer until it really looked like thick caramel, rather than like a pourable glaze. When it's come to the stage of your preference, remove it from the heat and stir in the bourbon and vanilla. 

I let the caramel cook so it would really thicken and I could essentially spread it over the cupcakes. All I really had to do was drop about a teaspoon (this is an estimation) onto each cupcake and let it spread apart on its own; I only had to coax some of it into the corners to make sure the cake was wholly covered.

If you'd rather make this recipe as a cake, I suggest making enough caramel to spread or pour between the layers. I'd cut a few thinner layers, rather than two or three thick ones, so that there's a bit of caramel in every bite, which I think would just be devine! I'm sure the cake would look absolutely sweet with caramel simply oozing out of the layers. You could also turn the caramel into frosting to cover the outside of the cake, though I really think it wouldn't be necessary.

Also, if you're not a whiskey person, try another liquor of your choosing! Kahlua, dark rum, or Frangelico would probably be amazing. I will say the cake was a little strong, so, if that would be a problem, try just reducing the amount of liquor, especially with something as potent as whiskey or rum.

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