Fabulous Chocolate Bourbon Cake
Bourbon and Kentucky go together like ham and eggs. Until I moved to Louisville, I had no idea there were so many uses for Bourbon besides drinking it. And when I opened my bed and breakfast here and started doing a lot of cooking, breakfast and otherwise, I soon learned that the heady stuff added great flavor to just about everything from Sweet Potatoes to Chocolate Nut Pie...from pork roast, chicken, and Apple Crisp to Kentucky famous Mint Juleps.
A Mint Julep would not be a Mint Julep with the Bourbon. And make no mistake, the kind of Bourbon you use makes a difference too. On the Bourbon Trail, a route which identifies the various Bourbon distilleries throughout Kentucky, visitors get to taste all the different varieties so that they can pick out the one they like the best. In addition, they are taken on a tour though each distillery to see how Bourbon in made and learn about the interesting history.
The various foods enhanced by the flavor of Bourbon are too many to list here. Recipes can be found in many cookbooks and on line. If you've never tried it, you have a treat in store for you. I remember the first time I tasted Bourbon sloshed heavily over a fresh fish steak. I was still living in Chicago and was visiting a friend who happened to be a pretty heavy drinker. Not only did he drink the stuff, but he poured it over just about every thing he prepared to eat. He was a wonderful cook, so I trusted him when he told me this was going to be the best fish I ever ate. He was right, of course.
After that, I added Bourbon to my list of condiments and herbs that, added to plain old food, would definitely enhance it and bring out its flavor. Up to that time, I had flavored my cooking mostly with wine, herbs and spices. But now, my pallet had been changed forever. Below is a wonderful Chocolate cake, complete with Kentucky Bourbon. Try it, you'll love it!
Bourbon Fudge Cake
2 teaspoons cocoa
1 3/4 cups water
2 teaspoons instant espresso
1/4 cup bourbon
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a large bundt pan (10 cup capacity), or two 8- or 9-inch loaf pans. Melt chocolate in microwave oven. Let cool. Combine instant espresso and cocoa powder in a measuring cup and add enough boiling water to come up to the 1 cup measuring line. Mix until powders dissolve. Stir in whiskey and salt. let cool. Beat softened butter until fluffy (2-3 minutes on high). Add sugar and beat until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
Beat in the vanilla extract, baking soda and melted chocolate, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on the lowest speed, beat in a third of the whiskey espresso cocoa mixture. When liquid is absorbed, beat in 1 cup flour. Repeat alternating with whiskey mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake aproximately 1 hour 10 minutes for Bundt pan (loaf pans will take less time. Check for doneness with toothpick after 55 minutes). Turn cake out onto a rack and let sit at least 15 moinutes. Unmold and sprinkle warm cake with more whiskey. Let cool. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the cake before serving.
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