I was so thrilled when I finally received confirmation that Bulleit Bourbon is gluten-free. Not only was I looking forward to sharing my favorite fall cocktail, Bourbon and Apple Cider, but I also had this bourbon-chocolate cake in mind.
Around the holidays, I especially love spiked cakes. I’m certain this stems from the rum cake that my grandfather would select for me from St. Rita’s Bakery on special occasions. More recently, I fell for the boxed amaretto pound cake Trader Joe’s sold several years ago around the holidays (I’m also huge fan of all things almond, so it was a double whammy). Anyhow, I digress…
What I enjoy about this cake is that not one of the flavorings — chocolate, espresso or bourbon — calls for your attention more than the other. It’s wonderfully nuanced, with just a touch of lingering smokiness from the bourbon. I cannot wait to serve thick slices of this moist cake to dinner guests as a simple dessert accompanied by crème fraîche-stabilized whipped cream and coffee. I suspect it will be well received as a delightfully unexpected divergence from the pumpkin and apple desserts that abound this time of year.
Plus, isn’t it fun to blow people’s minds as to what a gluten-free food can be (cake PLUS bourbon)?
Maida Heatter’s 86-Proof Chocolate Cake
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 55 – 60 minutes
Makes: 1 loaf
- Unsalted butter
- Unsweetened cocoa powder (Natural or Dutch-processed, doesn’t matter)
- 37 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) millet flour
- 37 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) garbanzo-fava flour
- 48 grams (1/4 cup) potato starch
- 19 grams (2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) arrowroot starch
- 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon xanthan Gum
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- Pinch (about 1/16 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup water, room temperature
- 1/4 cup Bulleit bourbon, or other gluten-free bourbon
- 113 grams (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 192 grams (1 cup) evaporated cane juice or granulated white sugar
- 1 large egg, room temp
- 2 large egg yolks
- 71 grams (2 1/2 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
For Serving (optional):
- Powdered sugar, sifted
- Crème fraîche-boosted whipped cream
- Coffee or chocolate ice cream
Preheat Oven and Prepare Baking Pan:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 1 pound loaf pan (8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 2 3/4″) with butter and dust interior with cocoa powder; set aside.
Measure Flour and Bourbon Mixtures:
In a medium bowl, whisk together millet flour through cinnamon; set aside. Combine water and whiskey in a measuring cup with pour spout; set aside.
Prepare Cake Base:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and slightly lightened (about 2 minutes). Scrape down bowl, add sugar and vanilla to butter and beat for 1 minute, scrape down bowl and beat for an additional minute, or until somewhat fluffy. Scrape down bowl. Add whole egg and egg yolks to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until smooth and lightened (about 1 minute). Scrape down bowl and stir (or beat in melted chocolate, making sure no white streaks remain.
Finish Cake Batter and Bake:
Stir flour mixture into cake base in three additions, alternating with bourbon-water mixture (1/3 flour, 1/2 bourbon-water, 1/3 flour, 1/2 bourbon-water, 1/3 flour).
Transfer batter into prepared loaf pan, smoothing top. Bake in the preheated, 350°F oven for 45 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325°F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).
Cool cake in the pan for about 5 minutes before running a thin spatula around the outside to loosen. Carefully invert onto cooling rack; cool completely before slicing.
Serve and Store Cake:
Once cake is cooled completely, sift powdered sugar over the top and cut into slices of desired thickness (only as many as you need, it’ll stay fresher). Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche-boosted whipped cream on the side or ice cream. Store cake at room temperate, tightly wrapped with plastic wrap. If you prefer to freeze leftover cake, slice, wrap with plastic and place in a freezer bag.