I was busy Sunday morning.

BAKING! BAKING! You thought I drank all that?!

Quite honestly, I’m not sure where all my bourbon went. I think little elves get into my supply when I’m not looking. A full cup went into this bourbon-licious cake I baked.

It sure did smell amazing here yesterday–a cross between Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and a bourbon distillery. THAT scent, amici, would be one helluva Yankee Candle! But let’s get back to the recipe.

If you’ve ever seen the Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake recipe from the New York Times, this recipe is pretty much it. And I say “pretty much” because I’m guessing the original recipe, on which it must surely be based, is baking maven Maida Heatter’s 86-Proof Chocolate Cake. Maida’s instructions are both detailed and logical, so I’ve incorporated some of them here in this melding of the minds: Maida, Melissa and me!

I’ve also included a neato tip from Cook’s Illustrated–cake release for chocolate cakes. So, take your whiskey home and let’s get baking!

BOURBON-SOAKED DARK CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE
adapted from Maida Heatter, Melissa Clark and Cook’s Illustrated

Chocolate cake release (for the pan):
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (have I told you lately I very much like Kate’s?)
2 cups all-purpose flour
5 ounces dark chocolate (I used Valrhona 70% Guanaja feves)
1/4 cup instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup bourbon (you can use any other whiskey, but what is not to love about BOURBON?!)–more for sprinkling over the cake
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). Whipped cream is a nice option, too.

First, combine 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 tablespoon cocoa to make the cake release. Use a pastry brush to coat a 10-cup capacity Bundt pan.

Adjust rack 1/3 up from bottom of oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.

Sift together the flour and baking soda. Kosher salt, of course, won’t sift so just combine it with the flour and soda and set aside.

Melt chocolate (I use the defrost setting on the microwave; you can use a double-boiler); set aside.

Add espresso and cocoa powders to a 2-cup (or larger) glass measuring cup. Add enough boiling water to reach the 1-cup measuring line. Mix until powders dissolve. Add whiskey; set aside.

Using a stand mixer, beat 1 cup butter until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla, beat until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add the melted chocolate and beat until smooth.

Then, on low speed, alternate adding the sifted dry ingredients (in three additions) with the whiskey mixture (in two additions). Add the whiskey mixture very slowly to avoid splashing; scrape the bowl with a spatula after each addition and beat until smooth.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for one hour and 10 to 15 minutes (1:10-1:15). Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and dry.

Cool cake in the pan for about 15 minutes.

Then cover with a rack and invert. Remove the pan, sprinkle the cake with more bourbon. Two tablespoons sounded like the right amount of MORE to me.

See that? Not just one heap of happiness, but twoTWO HEAPS because I want you to be TWICE AS HAPPY! Two heaps of happiness in the form of bourbon! WOOHOO!

Leave the cake on a rack to cool.

Before serving, you can sprinkle confectioners’ sugar over the top with a fine-mesh strainer. I skipped the confectioners’ sugar. Whipped cream, lightly sweetened with a touch of almond extract is even nicer, if you like. And I like A LOT!

Wishing you two heaps of happiness and a lasting supply of bourbon in your bottles!

CENT’ANNI! CLINQUE! CHEERS! ♥ you!
Katty
>>^..^<<


Now that we can set aside worries about the world ending and meeting our maker, why not meet your Maker’s Mark and see what fun making boozy bourbon blondies can be? I had joked that blondies should be served on a Rapture menu. Then the more I thought about it, the more I thought: Mmmmm, blondies. It’s been a long time. I should whip up a batch!

But what makes a blondie a blondie? Isn’t a blondie just a congo bar or a variation of a toll house bar? And while we’re at it, how many licks DOES it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?!

So, I looked. And I stumbled upon Mark Bittman’s blondie recipe via Smitten Kitchen. Optional add-in: B O U R B O N! As if tollhouse cookie bars aren’t enough deliciousness. Nevermind rapture–this kat is simply rapt! MEOW!

If you do NOT roll on the boozier side of Sweet Street , you’ll want to use LESS THAN the entire quarter cup of bourbon. Or if you omit the bourbon altogether, keep the flour at one cup and you’ll be just fine. But if you’re not shy with alcohol, game on with the whole amount! And cheers to that and to you!

BITTMAN’S BOOZY BOURBON BLONDIES
adapted from Mark Bittman via Smitten Kitchen

1 stick salted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg
1/4 cup bourbon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup + 1 tablespoon flour (the extra tablespoon is to compensate for the Maker’s Mark)
1/2 cup chopped chocolate (I chopped up dark Valrhona feves)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 x 8″ baking dish. Combine melted butter with brown sugar till smooth. Beat in egg, then bourbon and vanilla. Lower your head over the bowl and breathe deeply. KIDDING about that last instruction! 🙂

Combine salt, soda, baking powder and flour. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir in chopped chocolate.

Pour into baking dish.

“I am ready to bake!”

Is anyone looking? Who cares?! You’ll want to lick that spatula. ENJOY! But before you get too carried away, set a timer for 25 minutes. This leaves PLENTY of time to ensure you have licked all your utensils clean. AHM NOM NOM!

Let these bourbon-y babies cool in the pan on a wire rack before you cut them. Are you enraptured or what?

I loved these so much (and they’re so quick!), I made another batch yesterday. This time, no bourbon, but 1/4 cup chocolate chunks and 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries. Omit the extra tablespoon of flour and we’ve got yet another variation on the theme. My two most trusted taste testers liked both, but definitely leaned toward the bourbon batch! Which blondie will you prefer?