Subtlety has never been one of my strongest qualities. Case in point: today’s Chocolate Whiskey Cake. The intensity of the chocolate and booze that’s jammed into this eight-inch, chocolate ganache-topped circle of fudgy euphoria is anything but indirect.
I blame my Irish heritage for my inability to understate. A prime example is my inability to whisper.
This “Irish whisper” of mine has followed me into adulthood, where I regularly speak at inappropriate volumes, while believing that I am using normal tones. It’s a work in progress.
If someday you catch me in a restaurant waxing poetically about the dessert (probably these Dark Chocolate Cookies) in an explosive manner typically reserved for campaign speeches, feel free to tell me to pipe down. I’ll probably thank you.
This chocolate whiskey cake is also not known for its subtlety (nor are these Chocolate Meringue Cookies).
Flourless chocolate whiskey cake is not a hushed dessert for ladies in white gloves. It’s boisterous, fudgy, decadent, and made for serious chocolate (and whiskey) lovers. (Whiskey lovers will also enjoy this Brownie Pie.)
Topped with a whiskey-infused chocolate ganache is the sort of indulgent dessert that will cause you to lean back in your chair, close your eyes, and utter a three-way combination of, “MMMMMMM,” “YAAAASSSSSS,” and “WHOOOOAAA.”
I’ll let your imagination put that together, but know this: you will not say it in a whisper.
How to Make Chocolate Whiskey Cake
This chocolate whiskey cake would be fun and appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day (don’t forget to add a scoop of Whiskey Ice Cream), but it’s wonderful any time you are looking for a rich dessert. It’s silky smooth, truffle-like in flavor and texture, and the whiskey adds a marvelous kick. Did I mention that it’s entirely gluten free too?
- Dark Chocolate. Gives the cake a deep heavenly chocolate flavor. PLUS it provides a boost of healthy antioxidants—who says chocolate isn’t healthy? (These One Bowl Brownies are another “healthy” chocolate recipe.)
- Butter. Enriches the cake with lovely butter flavor and helps the cake rise as it bakes.
- Sugar. Sweetens the cake and adds moisture.
- Eggs. Provide lift, richness, and stability to this flourless chocolate cake with whiskey. (This Almond Flour Cake also relies on eggs for lift.)
- Cocoa Powder. Deepens and intensifies the rich chocolate flavor of this sinful chocolate whiskey cake (and this Chocolate Mug Cake recipe that’s also gluten free).
- Vanilla. Balances and enhances the chocolate flavors and compliments the whiskey.
- Chocolate Ganache. Made from a simple combination of melted chocolate, butter, and a little extra Irish whiskey, the topping is rich, decadent, and ultra-fudgy (like this Vegan Chocolate Tart).
Since I added Irish whiskey to the flourless chocolate cake and to the chocolate ganache, I felt it only appropriate to take the Irish reference a step further by adding a sprinkle-shaped shamrock too. It’s super easy to do, even for the least crafty among us (myself included).
- Click here for a free printable shamrock stencil that you can download and use to make your own shamrock chocolate whiskey cake.
- Open the link, right-click to save the shamrock image to your desktop, then open it from your desktop.
- Print it on an 8×11-inch sheet of paper and cut along the black line.
- I’ve included the rest of the instructions in the recipe below.
- Grease and line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler on the stovetop until smooth.
- Remove from the heat, add the sugar and salt, and mix until smooth.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Sift the cocoa powder into the bowl, then add the vanilla extract and whiskey.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake.
Do not overbake or the cake will be dry! Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it.
- While the cake cools, prepare the ganache.
- Spread the warm fudgy ganache over the cooled cake.
- Decorate with sprinkles in the shape of a shamrock, if desired.
- Slice and serve. ENJOY!
For cleaner slices, I suggest chilling the cake in the refrigerator for several hours before slices. Alternatively, you can dig in right away if you’re okay with a little mess.
Tools Used to Make This Recipe
- 9-Inch Cake Pan. This one has been my favorite for cakes of all kinds for years.
- Parchment Paper. Makes removing the cake from the pan a breeze. For a shortcut, you can also purchase pre-cut parchment paper circles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Technically, the Celiac Disease Foundation has concluded that whiskey is gluten-free as a result of the distillation process. However, it is worth noting that those who are especially sensitive to gluten may react to whiskeys if they were made with gluten-containing grains.
I have not tried making this whiskey cake vegan before so I can’t provide specific directions on how to adapt it to a vegan diet. The eggs are pretty essential to the cake’s texture so, unfortunately, this recipe may not be the best choice for a vegan diet. This Vegan Chocolate Pie may be a better option.
Sure. If you would prefer to make this recipe without the whiskey, you may omit it from the recipe and swap it for cooled brewed coffee. It will not make the cake taste like coffee—only intensify the cocoa flavor. (This Flourless Chocolate Torte is another similar recipe made without booze.)
Chocolate Whiskey Cake
For the whiskey cake:
- 7 ounces dark chocolate or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped*
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (5 ounces) cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup Irish whiskey Jameson is my favorite, although 2 Gingers—what you see in the photos—is also good, and a bit less expensive; if you like, you swap and whiskey, bourbon, or even rum you prefer. To make the cake non-alcoholic, use brewed, cooled coffee
For the whiskey chocolate ganache:
- 4 ounces dark chocolate or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon Irish whiskey see notes in ingredient list above for whiskey brands, or substitute brewed, cooled coffee
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
If making the shamrock outline:
- Shamrock printable cut out along the black line
- Green sprinkles
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 9-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, then grease again. Set aside.
- In a large heatproof mixing bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a microwave-safe bowl in 15-second bursts), melt together the chocolate and butter. When the chocolate is almost completely melted, remove it from the heat and stir until completely melted and smooth.
- With a mixer on medium-low, slowly add the sugar and salt and mix until smooth. Mix in each egg, one at a time, combining fully between each addition and stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Sift the cocoa powder into the bowl, then add the vanilla extract and whiskey. Mix on low until well combined. The batter will be thick, smooth, and glossy.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it. (Do not overbake or the cake will be dry!)
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, run a butter knife around the edge, then gently invert the cake onto a serving plate.
- While the cake cools, prepare the chocolate ganache. In a small saucepan or a microwave-safe bowl, melt together the chocolate and butter until just a few pieces of chocolate and butter remain. Remove from the heat, then continue stirring until the two are completely melted and smooth. Stir in the whiskey and salt, then spread over the cooled cake.
- To make the sprinkle shamrock: While the ganache is still wet, lightly place the shamrock cut out on the cake's surface in the center. With a toothpick or the point of a sharp knife, lightly trace around the shape so that you leave a faint outline in the glaze. Carefully lift off the paper. Fill in with colored sprinkles.
- For clean slicing, refrigerate the cake for a few hours. For immediate (messy) slicing, dive in right away.
- INGREDIENT NOTE: Because this cake has so few ingredients, the quality of chocolate that you choose is ultra important. Be sure to pick a good brand.
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