Every year I grow older, things seem to get more and more interesting -- I confess I still look forward to my birthday with the anticipation, flutter and delight of a tiny kid. It's a chance to set goals ever higher, celebrate with my gaggle of motley friends and, of course, to bake myself a birthday cake. Last year, I indulged in a Double Chocolate Sour Cream Cake . Yesterday, I riffed on a recent NYTimes recipe to create an even bigger chocolate explosion. When it comes to birthday cakes, there's chocolate or chocolate in my mind -- no funny business, pies or vanilla stand ins will do.

This Cake (note the capital "C") is not to be trifled with. Bursting with all of my favorite vices, the play of coffee, whiskey and a hint of spice just amplify the chocolate flavor to ridiculous heights. A slice nearly carried me away to chocolate heaven, where angels wear halos made from crushed Woodblock bars, clouds come dusted in various cocoa percentages and rivers flow of the magma brew from Cafe Angelina. It's a stupid good cake!

A strong confection such as this needs no adornment, and, if anything a strong partner in crime to wash the glorious crumbs down. Look no further than the East India Tea Company's Royal Breakfast Tea. This herbaceous, full bodied black tea is perfect companion to a decadent dessert. Similar in coffee in strength and gumption, it plays off sweet in a remarkable way. It's fantastic served on it's own or with a swirl of heavy cream, milk if you're feeling prudent. Royal Breakfast is bold and beautiful, my current comfort in our chilly winter mornings.

Chocolate Coffee Whiskey Spice Birthday Cake with Mascarpone Icing
makes 2,  8" circular layers for a layer cake

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1-inch pieces, more for panabout
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups brewed strong coffee
1/2 cup whiskey
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups 1/4" chocolate bar chunks

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 8-inch cake pans. Dust with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder. In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm coffee, whiskey, 12 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup cocoa powder, whisking until butter is melted. Whisk in sugars until dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a bowl, sift and whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Slowly whisk egg mixture into chocolate mixture. Add dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in chocolate bar chunks.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Transfer to oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, then remove sides of pan. Dust with powdered sugar or serve with Icing.

Chocolate Mascarpone Icing

makes enough to ice a layer cake

1 tub mascarpone
3/4 cups sifted cocoa powder
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream (plus a little more if needed to make desired consistency)
blackberries for garnish (optional)

In the bowl of a an electric mixer, mix together all ingredients at high speed until icing is a smooth texture.  Ice cooled cakes, garnish with berries and a dusting of cocoa powder and powdered sugar.

• Check out Royal Breakfast Tea: East India Tea Company
• Read the Original Chocolate Whiskey Cake Recipe: New York Times


  1. I love that you called it "stupid good". It's just the adjective I've been needing all my life.

  2. Happy birthday, love! Making cakes for yourself on your bday is the best :)

  3. I'm more into moist chocolate icing or fondant, but the way you describe your cake is very appetizing that I want to taste it right now. It sounds and look like a very delicious treat. I will definitely try out your recipe and will give you feedback.

  4. Made this cake recently :-) Not difficult to make at all, and turned out absolutely wonderful. Some commented that it was the best cake they've ever had! Will make this again and again!

  5. When my wife and I celebrated our anniversary on a five-star hotel, we received a kind of "royal breakfast" in our hotel room. There is also a personalized card that greets us courtesy of that hotel.

  6. I wonder if they uses an industrial batch ovens when making that kind of cake. But, if they are making only small batches of that tasty cake, I don't think they need to use that kind of oven.

  7. Amazingly stupid!! Just made this and it really is quite amazing.

  8. This is something new for me, I haven’t tried this chocolate coffee whiskey spice cake & royal breakfast tea before. I should try to invite my friends for a tea party and try this with them; good thing I’ve bought a new tea set.

  9. I’m thinking of trying this cake recipe to be served on our tea party this coming weekend. I just hope it will taste and look like this one, anyway, I’m very much excited to try this new thing, I better get ready my tea cups for a great weekend!

  10. The best tea ever is hillcountrytea (dot) com. Try it. Black tea with this cake would be divine!

  11. I love these cups without handles. May I ask where you got them?

  12. Hot damn girl. The pix for this post are INSANE. I'm on a pinning spree with your blog, by the by. Pinning the whole darn thing! Clearly I'm going to need your upcoming cookbook!

  13. I'm more into moist chocolate icing or fondant, and not difficult to make and I Made this recently.


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