Ah, the first post. We all know these can be a little awkward. Various attempts at blogs, first Tweets, first Instagrams and more have taught me that. So I’m just going to get right to it — this is a food blog, one that I’ve started largely out of wanting a somewhat regular outlet for writing. I know I’ve joined legions of Internet users who all fancy themselves food bloggers (and obviously, some of them are really fantastic at it), so of course there’s a little pressure here. But food seemed like a reasonable enough “central” theme for me to focus on, though there’s a chance I’ll be veering off topic when I’m in the mood. Anything else you want to know about me can be found in the “about” section. Other than that, let’s just get down to business.
I’m kicking things off with a recipe I’ve made a few times now — a simple, yet delightfully flavorful chocolate bourbon cake. The cake also contains two special ingredients that give it an extra kick — orange zest and cardamom.
I was inspired to make this cake after tasting a cocktail at a bar in Manhattan’s Financial District. The name of the bar completely slips my mind, but it was the type of place that made a cocktail based on the ingredients you liked. I chose bourbon, orange and cardamom as my favored flavors and as soon as I took a sip, I found myself thinking about how those flavors would be fantastic in a cake.
I’ve honestly been thrilled with the cake since the very first time I’ve made it, using a bourbon chocolate cake recipe as the base and guessing how much cardamom and orange it needed. Aside from messing around with the level of orange zest depending on my mood, there isn’t really much I’ve changed about it over the years and I can at least credit this cake with being the one to finally prompt me to buy a springform pan. (Let’s just say the first try was a little lumpy looking). I’ve made it a number of times, including at least three birthday celebrations. It may not be much to look at, but I really enjoy this cake and it makes me very happy to share it with you as part of my first post. I hope you’ll enjoy it as well.
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter softened
- 5 tbsps bourbon (I use Maker's Mark)
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 to 1.5 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1. Butter a 9-inch springform fan and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. *
- 2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler (As you can see, I plopped a soup bowl with handles over one of my cooking pots to make this work).
- 3. Once the mixture has melted, stir in the bourbon. Remove the bowl from heat and set it aside.
- 4. Mix your dry ingredients, including the cardamom powder, together in their own bowl.
- 5. Whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract in a separate bowl.
- 6. Add the bourbon/chocolate mixture to the egg/vanilla mixture and whisk until evenly combined.
- 7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix them together.
- 8. Add the orange zest at the very end and mix to combine.
- 9. Now pour the batter into the pan and smooth it out. Bake for 20-25 minutes (do the toothpick test — if a toothpick comes out clean when you poke it into the center of the cake, you're done).
- 10. Let the cake cool. You can either serve the cake as is or with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, which will still allow the flavors to stand out.
- * I currently have an oven with a bit of a convoluted "pre-determined" temperature system. My most recent attempt to bake this cake involved heating the oven at about 310 degrees F for about an hour because I can't actually set it to 325. If you're in a similar position, I advise the same: I'd rather bake at a lower temperature and take a little longer than a higher temperature when the right temperature settings aren't available to me.
- That said, 325 works when you have the right oven for the job (my previous oven was less finicky).
- Adapted from A Thought for Food / I Am a Feeder
What kind of music goes with bourbon? It could be any sad country or blues track for sure, but this is supposed to be a fun cake. So I’m going to go with an oldie but a goodie here: “A Boy Named Sue,” a song that definitely has its humorous moments but still feels appropriate with a bourbon-infused cake. Crank it up while baking (and then listen to the rest of Johnny Cash’s catalogue) or give it a listen while serving — you’ll have a good time all around.