We all know that “the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach”, so for this Valentine’s Day we have created a luscious whiskey-infused chocolate cake with cherry sauce and mascarpone cream. It’s a sexy dessert to finish your special meal.
Chocolate Whiskey Cake
12 Tbsp unsalted butter (plus more for preparing pan)
¾ cup + 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ cups strong brewed coffee
½ cup bourbon whiskey (we use Maker’s Mark)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp fine sea salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 325˚F. Prepare a 10-inch square pan by buttering and then dusting with 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm coffee, whiskey, 12 tablespoons butter and remaining cocoa powder, whisking occasionally, until butter is melted. Whisk in sugars until they are dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Slowly whisk egg mixture into the chocolate mixture. Add dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Transfer to oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean (approximately 45 minutes to 55 minutes). Cool on a wire rack, then remove from the pan.
Pastry chef notes:
The cake texture is dense and extremely moist Do not expect a fluffy sponge cake.
The flavour and texture of this cake is better when made the day before serving. Store plastic wrapped cake at room temperature.
Whiskey soaked cherry sauce
4 cups frozen dark cherries, thawed
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup bourbon whiskey
2 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water
Combine the thawed cherries, sugar and whiskey in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight. Flavour is best if it sits overnight.
After letting the cherries sit, strain the juice from the cherries into a saucepan. Set the cherries aside. Combine the cornstarch and water. Set aside. Place the saucepan with the cherry/whiskey juice on a stove top on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and slowly add in the cornstarch mixture. Whisk until combined and thickened. Remove from heat and fold in the reserved cherries. Let cool.
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp bourbon whiskey
Place mascarpone in a mixer bowl. Using the whisk attachment, slowly whisk cheese until soft. Add icing sugar and mix until combined. Slowly add in whipping cream, scraping the bowl often to avoid lumps. Once all the cream is added, add the vanilla and whiskey and turn the mixer onto high. Whip until the cream/cheese mixture is thickened.
Cut cake into bars. Place on plate. Spoon whiskey-soaked cherry sauce next to it and then spoon or pipe mascarpone cream onto the plate. Dust cake with icing sugar if desired.
Photo: Executive Chef Margaret Chisholm