Maida Heatter's Boozy Chocolate Cake

Added on by Monica Cheng.

One of the things I’ve come to appreciate through the interview process of applying to fellowships is the ability to talk. I remember when a friend joked that her most valuable skill requires her mouth because, “Imagine how sad the world would be without my voice.” Tragic, indeed.

So I’ve been practicing talking and the art of interviewing this past month, and I’m pretty excited to pin down what exactly I will be doing in this next year post-grad. And then from there, figure out how in the world I will get into medical school. Yep, 2017 is THE year of applications and interviews!

Ok. What’s the best way to de-stress or simply have a chill time? Nom on cake! To begin, this isn’t your ordinary chocolate cake. Spiked with bourbon and a generous dose of coffee, this Maida Heatter cake has everything going for it. We switched out the espresso for Atlas Coffee Club Indonesian Sumatra ground coffee.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we’ve made uber cute mini cakelets with pink whipped cream frosting. And get this: the whipped cream is enhanced with honey whiskey, just to bring things to a new level of amazeee. Call me in love. Sweet Sophia was super enthused with the idea of booze and judged the appropriate amount to add to the standards of the Great British Bake Off -- which is, a whole lot, to the point that you can very evidently taste it in every bite.

This cake was especially exciting to make because I got to break out my new fancy cookie cutters (a christmas gift from a lovely friend), and we got to pretend that we knew how to frost the mini cakelets. The result of this whole process is a supremely moist and chocolate-y cake with a light whipped cream finish. Despite the amount added, the coffee and bourbon do not overwhelm the cake and the chocolate truly shines. It’s a wonderful cake that we’ve made many a times, and great to make for a special someone or just because. Enjoy!

~ Monica

-- Thank you, Atlas Coffee Club, for inspiring this post. All opinions are my own.

Maida Heatter's Boozy Chocolate Cake

Lightly adapted from NYT Cooking | Yield: 8-10 servings

For the boozy chocolate sponge cake:
5 ounces unsweetened or semisweet chocolate, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4-6 tablespoons Atlas Coffee Club Indonesian Sumatra ground coffee, to taste
1 1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup bourbon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs

For the whipped cream frosting:
1 1/2 cup heavy cream, very cold
1/3 cup powdered sugar
~1 tablespoon honey whiskey, or any other flavored liqueur like almond or hazelnut
red food coloring (optional), more or less to taste

Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare a 9.5" x 13" sheet pan by buttering generously.

Drip brew coffee: 4-6 tablespoons of ground coffee and 1 1/2 cup boiling water. Add bourbon. Set aside to cool completely.

Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add melted chocolate. Mix in baking soda and salt. Then, on low speed, alternatingly add the flour in three additions with the liquids in two additions. Beat smooth after each addition. It will be a thin mixture.

Pour into prepared pan and tap lightly on counter. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean with slight crumbs. Cool completely.

While cooling, prepare whipped cream frosting. Place beaters or whisk in freezer for 3 minutes until very cold. Beat cold heavy cream with cold beaters/whisk until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Gradually add food coloring, one drop at a time, if so desired.

Assemble. Cut out heart shapes or other shapes using cookie cutters. Frost and stack into mini layer cakes. Enjoy!