Chocolate Whiskey Cake - Food Gypsy

Chocolate Irish Whiskey Cake – Recipe

Published On March 15, 2011 | By Gypsy | All Recipes, Cakes, Sweets & Treats

This could very well entice a leprechaun into exchanging his pot of gold for a slice of chocolate sin.

A dense, rich, dark chocolate cake that is moist and not too sweet, with that bite of good, clean whiskey and a hint of walnut. A very ‘grown up’ brownie.

This Chocolate Irish Whiskey Cake recipe comes compliments of the LCBO’s (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) Food & Drink magazine, Autumn 2010 edition. But it’s not exactly as described in those glossy pages.  The cake is the same, picture perfect and truly sensational but…

The ‘icing’ featured in Food & Drink (2 oz chocolate, 2 TBS whiskey, 1/4 cup of butter) broke… TWICE.

Every ounce of expertise I have went into that effort, though even when I first read it I thought “hmmm… that’s an awful lot of butter, just what am I supposed to emulsify it with?  There’s not enough to bind it to.”

I put my concerns aside and tried it.  When it failed the first time I was even more determined to get it right the second time.

I babied it back and forth between the double boiler and the ice bath, whisking constantly, delicately melting in the butter only to wind up with a grainy, bitter, oily mess.  TWICE.

I hate wasting butter.
Almost as much as I hate wasting chocolate.

Besides it was WAY too boozy. (I know… too boozy for ME, almost unheard of.)

I feel compelled, at this juncture to assure you I was not in fact ‘sampling’ the whiskey (not that there’s anything wrong with that, just ask Julia Child.) Had I been sampling, I assure you, the cake would have been tossed, rather dramatically out the window, aiming for the parking lot.

In consultation with our Technical Advisor, Chef Benoit, I considered changing the process (melting the butter and the chocolate together instead of the chocolate and whiskey) and adding an egg yoke, then flavouring (to taste) with the whiskey. This would have corrected it to a consistency closer to what I was looking for, a smooth drizzle.

But as we have yet to kitchen test that, we switched the recipe to include a ganache, a simple cream and chocolate that is silky smooth and won’t let you down.

That way you can finish the top and have that ‘brownie’ effect.  Leprechaun Brownies.  It’s my new thing.

One of the reasons I test every single recipe — no matter what, is because it should be consistent every single time.  I would hate for you to be as cranky as I am right now.  Chocolate cake should make you happy… not cranky.  Maybe what I need is a piece of cake.

Oh… look… leftover whiskey.  Well, I am (part) Irish.   Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Here’s mud in ‘yer eye!

Butter & Sugar Pan Lightly toasted walnuts Pulverizing the walnuts

Mmmm.  Espresso. Irish Whisky... it's good for ya'. Espresso & Chocolate & Whisky... someone has to...

Mixing, butter, sugar, vanilla... Batter in pan, oven ready. Cooling on the rack.

Chocolate Irish Whiskey Cake – Recipe

Ease of preparation: Easy
Time required: 90 minutes
Serves: 8


1/2 cup Irish Whiskey
6 ounces bittersweet (70% cocoa) chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup espresso (or strong coffee)
1/3 cup toasted, ground walnuts
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 Cup sugar
3 Eggs, separated

Chocolate Ganache

3/4 cup whipping cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350*F (180*C).  Butter and sugar coat 8-inch springform pan.  Set aside in fridge to cool.
  2. In sauce pan, bring 1/2 cup of whiskey to boil, reducing by half (approximately 3 minutes).  Transfer to metal bowl, add chopped chocolate and espresso.  Place bowl over sauce pan of simmering water and stir until mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes.  Remove bowl from hot water and reserve.
  3. In small bowl mix together flour, walnuts and salt – reserve.
  4. Using electric mixer. beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg yokes, one at a time, mixing well after each.  Gently fold in chocolate mixture with spatula.
  5. Using clean, dry attachments, use electric mixer to beat egg whites to stiff peaks.  Fold 1/3 egg whites and 1/3 flour mixture into chocolate batter, follow in same manner, mixing 1/3 at a time until batter is mixed.  Transfer into prepared pan, gently smoothing the top with a spatula.
  6. Bake in centre of oven until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean — approximately 30 – 35 minutes.
  7. Cool on rack for 10 minutes, then move to fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
  8. For ganache:  Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate.  Allow to melt slightly then stir until glossy and smooth.  Spread over chilled cake to approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Then refrigerate again to set (15 minutes), then remove springform collar.
  9. Serve to leprechauns.

As we were going for a drizzle, we originally unmolded the cake to cool, upside down.

The effect of a sugar coated pan makes a lightly caramelised effect — something we were planning to highlight with a fun bit of plating.  Cue broken sauce.  Cue new application of ganache.  In the method notes we suggest your apply the ganache with the pan collar still attached so you can get it right to the edge and create a dramatic line.

What to do if you have leftover ganache?  Allow to cool, roll into balls and cover in cocoa and you’ve got TRUFFLES.

Or, eat with a spoon.  (It’s just what I’ve read…)

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About The Author

"Gypsy" is not my real name." A freelance food & travel writer & photographer based in Aylmer, Quebec. Corinna Horton trained at Le Cordon Bleu, spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn, and is currently between big, shiny kitchens as she focuses on family and what's next in this delicious life.

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