Chocolate! Whiskey! Maple! Figs! With their tasty powers combined… they create The Naked Chocolate, Whiskey & Maple Soaked Fig Layer Cake. That is, four of my husband’s all-time favourite snacks brought together to create one intoxicatingly glorious birthday cake.
I’ve never been a big fan of whiskey (except for its part in making irish cream), however I think this cake may have finally won me over. Not only does it give the cake great flavour, but the more I eat the more impressed I become with my own baking prowess; a perception which is, of course, directly proportionate to my increasingly tipsy state. Trust me when I say, the left over batter and sauce from this cake was sampled thoroughly… for quality control purposes. Yes, yes that sounds right.
Now, here’s the recipe. Don’t balls it up 🙂
Serves: 20 people
Time: 5 hours, 17 minutes, 12 seconds, 3 micro-seconds
Up to one week prior
1. Make sauce and keep in fridge until needed.
Up to a few days prior
1. Make cake and let cool overnight.
2. Gladwrap and keep in fridge until needed.
1. Assemble and frost.
2. Shovel all the deliciousness into your cake hole.
3. Regret nothing!
WHISKEY CHOCOLATE CAKE (Recipe ‘borrowed’ from Epicurious)
- 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process) plus 3 tablespoons for dusting pan
- 3 cups brewed coffee
- 1 cup American whiskey
- 550g unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cups sugar
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 165°C. Butter two cake pans well, then dust with 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, knocking out excess.
Heat coffee, whiskey, butter, and remaining cup of cocoa powder in a saucepan over moderate heat, whisking until butter is melted. Remove from heat, then add sugar and whisk until dissolved (about 1 minute). Transfer mixture to a large bowl and cool for 5 minutes.
While chocolate mixture cools, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Lightly whisk the eggs and vanilla (in a separate bowl), then whisk into cooled chocolate mixture until combined well. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined (batter will be thin and bubbly). Pour batter into bundt pan and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in centre comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
Cool cake completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours. Loosen cake from pan using tip of a dinner knife, then invert rack over pan and turn cake out onto rack.
MAPLE, FIG & WHISKEY SAUCE (My own recipe. Go me!)
- 1 cups dark brown sugar
- 150ml maple Syrup (the real stuff)
- 150g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 300ml thickened cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup of whiskey
- 350g dried figs (note: these will be separated out and used for the buttercream and filling between cake layers)
Combine sugar, maple syrup, butter, figs, cream, vanilla and salt in a saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to bubble away until thick and golden, stirring occasionally. Don’t worry if a couple of figs burst, as this will only add to the overall flavour. Allow sauce to cool before adding whiskey. Remove figs from sauce and place in bowl for use in frosting and assembly. Refrigerate until needed.
Optional: To give the sauce a richer, closer-to-whiskey colour, spoon a small amount of sauce into a bowl and mix in a smidge of burgundy colouring. Return sauce to the saucepan and mix to combine.
FIG CHEESECAKE FROSTING (Recipe ‘borrowed’ from Martha Stewart, with some major tweaks)
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 450g unsalted butter, cut into cubes (room temperature)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 250g cream cheese (room temperature)
- Figs (some of the less-than-pretty ones from your sauce making venture), finely chopped
Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter and cream cheese a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter and cream cheese has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, add the finely chopped figs and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep frosting at room temperature if using the same day.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Ensure frosting and sauce are at room temperature.
Divide each of the cakes in two to create four layers. Place the first layer on a cake base and on a turn table. Spread a layer of the frosting on to the first layer, then pipe a round of frosting around the edge – this will ensure the filling doesn’t escape. Then, scatter a handful of chopped figs and drizzle some of the sauce. Place the second layer on top, pressing it down slightly to secure it in place. Repeat till all four layers are done. Ice the top of the cake, and then run a spatula around the outside of the cake to create the naked effect. Smear dollops of the sauce onto the cake and run the spatula around the cake once more.
Optional: I also added a couple of teaspoons of straight whiskey between each layer to give a little extra kick.