Phew, I've done it -- I've jumped back onto the blog-wagon! Alright...so maybe it's a bit premature to celebrate when it's my first recipe post in weeks. But I'm the kind of writer who considers the first page the hardest. So let's just say I have good reason to expect smoother sailing from here on out 8).
Part of the delay lay in the history behind this unassuming cake. It was, in fact, the first cake I fell in love with. We met freshman year of college, when my roommate brought her mom's famous "booze cake" back to our dorm. Dense and unbelievably moist, every bite of it brought a warm kick of coffee liqueur against a milder backdrop of chocolate. It was pure heaven. But alas, this was before I started baking, blogging, or even drinking alcohol [legally at least *cough* haha], so I didn't think to ask for the recipe.
Seven (yes, seven) years and countless Google searches for "booze cake" later, I asked my friend on a whim if her mom still had the recipe. Within a few days, there it was! Just sitting in my inbox (like magic)! I suppose that was my rather drawn-out lesson that I should just try to ask when I really want something ^_^.
cake mix and instant pudding mix. It's a personal commitment of mine to make my desserts from scratch whenever possible. Thus, with the virtual guidance of like-minded bakers, I successfully reverse-engineered a from-scratch version of my First (Cake) Love. I hope you'll find it as unforgettable as I did!
Black Russian Chocolate Kahlua Cake (From Scratch!) [Printable Recipe]
Cake adapted from Rum Cake from Always Order Dessert
XIAOLU'S NOTES: I actually made a 1/2 batch of this recipe using an 8-inch wide Bundt pan. Aside from halving all the ingredients, the only change I made was to reduce the baking time to 35 to 45 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out mostly clean (a few moist crumbs are fine).
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup dry milk powder
6 Tbsp Dutch-process (dark) cocoa powder
Scant 1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup PLUS 2 Tbsp canola OR vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk [NOT skim]
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup vodka
1/3 cup coffee-flavored liqueur (such as Kahlua OR Homemade Recipe below)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
6 Tbsp coffee-flavored liqueur (such as Kahlua OR Homemade Recipe below)
***you can use up to 1/2 cup liqueur if you like your booze cakes to be well-soaked
Sifted powdered sugar, to garnish
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 10 to 15-cup Bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder; set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, dry milk powder, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and white sugar. Add the butter, oil, milk, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer on medium the batter is smooth and uniform. Add the eggs, and continue beating until well incorporated (no more than 1 minute). Finally, add the vodka and coffee liqueur, then mix until evenly combined.
Pour into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 25 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack. Let cool for 30 more minutes.
While the cake cools, wash and thoroughly dry the Bundt pan then prepare the syrup. In a large saucepan with high sides, combine the butter, water, granulated sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat until the butter completely melts and the sugar dissolves. Let reduce slightly, keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over. Remove from the heat and stir in the coffee liqueur (it may bubble).
Quickly place the clean pan over the cool cake and invert the cake back into the pan. While the syrup is still warm, poke holes across the top of the cake with a toothpick or fork and brush/pour the syrup evenly over the cake. Let soak for at least 4 hours (ideally, overnight), then invert the cake back onto a serving platter, sift powdered sugar on top (if desired), and dig in! Keeps covered for about 1 week at room temperature.
Makes about 6 to 7 cups
1 quart (4 cups) water
2 to 2 1/4 cups sugar, to taste
1 tsp molasses
3 Tbsp granulated instant coffee OR espresso powder
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups vodka
1/2 cup brandy (for depth of flavor) OR more vodka
Stir water, sugar, molasses, and coffee powder together in a medium to large saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer without a lid for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring frequently, until the syrup has reduced to about 4 cups.
Let cool briefly, being careful to stir as it’s cooling to avoid crystallization of the sugar. Add vanilla, vodka, and brandy. If you notice any grains of undissolved sugar, you can strain them out using a mine-mesh strainer.
Bottle and cap tightly. If drinking straight, it’s recommended to let it rest for at least a day to allow the flavors to meld.