Friday, December 9, 2011

Boozy Chocolate Bourbon Cake.

Last month while visiting Napa we ate a few amazing meals. Absolute mind-blowing food. The kind of food that makes you want to leave your husband and children and study at The Cordon Blue or The Culinary Institute of America. Or maybe I just want an excuse to live in Paris or NYC. Besides, I'd stink at cooking school. I'm not really that competitive {anymore}. And I don't actually create amazing dishes - I just copy them. Furthermore, I cannot imagine getting too highbrow frothing essences of this or that. Nor could I ever pretend to live for pâté or truffles {certainly glad I talked myself off that ledge}.

Besides, I'm not a food snob {unless we are talking chain restaurant type food at which point I'll quickly turn my nose up in the air}.

I just like good food.

Honest to goodness good food.

So this is where you'd assume I share a recipe from our Napa trip. That, however, would be so predictable. And I was semi-tipsy every time we ate so I certainly wasn't sharp enough to actually converse with a chef. Suffice to say, I ate famously but came home with no recipes to share.

I did, however, stop in Tyler Florence's kitchen store next to Rotisserie & Wine. I'd really like to gush further about the amazing {amazing!} food at Rotisserie & Wine, but fear I've gone too far astray already.

And thus, to my point: I purchased a fancy bundt pan and a bundt cake cookbook while in Napa.

I could have led with that, I realize, but isn't this serendipitous way more interesting? {hypothetical question}

Honest to goodness good food. Let's stick with that.

For a holiday dessert sure to impress, this boozy chocolate cake is an absolute winner!

Boozy Chocolate Bourbon Cake 
via Cake Simple by Christie Matheson

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp, plus more for greasing the pan
1/4 cup cocoa powder, plus more for dusting the pan
6 ounces unsweetened  chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup bourbon, plus more for serving
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Drunken Bourbon Sauce, recipe follows (optional, though, truly it takes it to the next level)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush Bundt pan thoroughly with melted butter and dust it with cocoa powder.

Melt the chocolate in double boiler and let cool to room temperature. {Learn from my mistake and do not lick the bowl or spoon - this is unsweetened chocolate}.

Put cocoa powder in medium bowl. Add the boiling water and stir until the cocoa powder has completely dissolved. Stir in the bourbon and let cool to room temperature.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate medium bowl until thoroughly combined.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter with the granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla and the cooled chocolate mixture.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three increments, alternating with the cocoa-bourbon mixture in two increments, beginning and ending with the flour and beating until just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top, and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean {exactly 1 hour worked well for me mostly because I was running late to get kids from school}. Let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes, then invert on cooling rack. Serve warm with Drunken Bourbon Sauce {below} or, if time is tight, just sprinkle the warm cake with a little bourbon and dust with confectioner's sugar.

Drunken Bourbon Sauce

3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup bourbon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter.  Add the brown sugar and salt and stir for about 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and the sauce is smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in the bourbon and vanilla.  Serve immediately.

If you don't already have a bundt cake pan, I highly suggest you travel to Napa, eat at Rotisserie & Wine, visit a handful of amazing wineries, then shop at Tyler Florence's quaint little kitchen store where you can choose from a variety of darling bundt cake pans {truly, the only way to buy a bundt pan}. I also highly recommend purchasing the book, Cake Simple, which is filled with a plethora of bundt recipes to keep you baking honest to goodness good food for some time to come!

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