Of all the requests I receive to prepare desserts, there is one particular component that is always mentioned no matter what age, sex, or cultural background…chocolate. Then if it wasn’t cliche enough, when asked what kind of item the individuals wanted me to incorporate the chocolate ingredient into, I get the generic pastry offering….cake. I suppose I was expecting them to say something like “the sky is the limit” or “you choose something exotic for us to try but be sure to incorporate chocolate”…but instead I get “cake…how about cake”. It must be the itch inside of me to now make grand, exotic pastries having completed culinary school and had it pressed into my brain the entire time to come up with new and cutting edge items to serve for 5* establishments that I now find it hard to go back to making products you could easily find on a bakery shelf in your local grocery store. Although it is hard to undo the damage of Le Cordon Bleu, I do see the point of locations such as Publix (local grocery store chain) preparing the simple yet satisfying items such as chocolate cake and apple pie. They are comfort foods to Americans and no matter how many exotic offerings you could place in front of them, each and every person would end up at least having one bite of that chocolate cake or apple pie. Which led me to prepare today’s offering…chocolate cake. In order to spruce up the typical chocolate cake, I decided to take the Le Cordon Bleu method and spike it with a bit of liqueur. At Le Cordon Bleu, we had a tremendous amount of liquor at our disposal and one of my favorites to work with was Kahlúa. So to spice up the traditional chocolate cake and prevent my sheer boredom, I added a generous amount of Kahlúa brand rum & coffee-flavored liqueur.
A common professional way to intensify chocolate flavor in products is to add coffee. The flavor profiles of chocolate and coffee enhance each other on the palette, bringing forth the chocolates richness. Many recipes add instant coffee to the cake batter in order to achieve this but I chose to use a coffee flavored liqueur instead. To further enhance the chocolate flavor beyond the coffee trick, I swapped some flour with cocoa powder, which not only added more chocolate flavor but also allowed the minimization of melted chocolate in the formula, which helps to cut down on fat in consideration of the addition of liquor. One last way to optimize chocolate flavor, plus add moisture to prevent a dry, crumbly cake was the unexpected addition of chocolate syrup. For the chocolate glaze, I used a traditional butter, confectioner’s sugar, and milk mixture as the base. To create a rich, chocolatey flavor, I added melted chocolate, swapped some cocoa powder for a portion of the confectioner’s sugar, and added a bit of Kahlúa.
Kahlúa Chocolate Cake
- 3 oz. Semisweet Chocolate, chopped
- ¾ cup Cocoa Powder
- 2 tbsp. Chocolate Syrup
- 1 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1 tsp. Baking Soda
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened
- 1 ¼ cups Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1 tbsp. Kahlúa Original (or your favorite coffe-flavored liqueur)
- 1 ½ cups Low-Fat Milk
- Chocolate Kahlúa Frosting (formula follows)
- Adjust oven rack to middle position. Heat oven to 350°. Line bottom of one 13×9 in. pan or two 8 in. pans with parchment. Spray sides of pan with cooking spray. Melt chocolate with cocoa powder until smooth. Once smooth, whisk in the chocolate syrup. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.
- In another bowl, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and continue creaming until incorporated. Add melted chocolate mixture and beat until mixture is thick and appears grainy. Add eggs, vanilla, and Kahlúa. Beat on medium-high until mixture is fluffy and pale brown. With mixer on low speed, add a portion of the flour mixture. Once incorporated add half of the milk. Repeat until all of the milk and flour mixture has been incorporated. Be sure to end with the last addition of the flour mixture. Beat until no lumps remain, on medium speed. Be sure not to overmix.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth the top and gently tap the pan to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes then invert the cake out of its pan. Peel off the parchment paper and re-invert to cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate Kahlúa Frosting
- 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
- 1 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- ½ tsp. Kahlúa Liqueur
- ¾ cup Cocoa Powder
- 3 cups Confectioners’ Sugar
- 1 cup Skim Milk
- Melt the butter and chocolate together until smooth. Stir in the salt and Kahlúa until dissolved and transfer to mixing bowl to cool, about 10 minutes.
- Sift cocoa and confectioners’ sugar together in a bowl. With mixer on low, gradually add cocoa/chocolate mixture. The mixture will appear grainy. Gradually add milk until incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Spread on cooled cake.
Special Thanks to: Kahlúa Original Liqueur & Sandra Wu
(Mentions of KAHLÚA® Liqueur are ©2011 The Kahlúa Company)
All remaining content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012
This looks so yummy! I love using liquer in baking, but have only made a pineapple rum cake so far, Must make this sometime!
Do you have any suggestions for replacing the butter with oil?
I’m folloowing your blog from now on 😉
Thank you for the comment. I love hearing from readers!!!
As far as suggestions go on the butter-oil swap, I would need to know what type of oil are you looking to replace the butter with such as olive, vegetable, etc?
Once I know the type you want to use then I can give you a proper substitution number
Hi Melissa, I’d prefer to use olive oil, would it work?
Olive oil would work just fine in the cake itself but be sure to not use olive oil in the frosting recipe because it does need a solid to retain the proper texture/hold. I would recommend choosing a lighter tasting olive oil though to prevent any off tastes that may distract from the chocolate flavor itself if you were to choose a high intensity olive oil that did not have as subtle a flavor as the light, later harvest versions. Since this recipe calls originally for 6 tbsp. butter I would substitute 1/4 cup of Light Olive Oil. The cake will have a very light texture and turn out just fine this way, not to mention drastically reducing the cholesterol and saturated fat content. Good luck with all your baking endeavors and I hope this helps 🙂
That’s so helpful, thank you so much! Now I’m tempted to make this very soon! 🙂