Black chocolate-espresso cake with single malt whisky glaze









Well, this was rather a longer hiatus than the small break I intended to take. Lots of stuff to sort out here, feeling a bit under the weather & a whole Downton Abbey Marathon is taking place right now after the final series arrived and naturally needed to be watched immediately – quite the task for one to accomplish if one wants to finish in time for the Christmas Special (yeah, only slightly obsessive, I’d like to think). And more laziness ensued while I was making and eating bagels and shortbread and chicken pot pies and swoon over a plate of fabulously simple but delightful truffle tagliatelle and indulge in all the kale I could get my hands on rather than telling you about those things, my bad. I intend to make it up to you with this wonderful cake full of the most marvellous flavours, which came out (to stay in the Downton vocabulary) in honour of my husband’s birthday a while ago.
Black chocolate-espresso cake with single malt glaze

Extra dark cocoa, rich espresso & coffee flavour a mysteriously light chocolate cake crowned with a boozy single malt whisky glaze – a cake evoking a Country house smoking room or a traditional gentlemen’s club.Deep leather armchairs worn by generations of paper-reading members, a slight whiff of cigar smoke that still lingers from last night or years ago, old book smell, the peaty scent of a good Islay (naturally) in a proper glass and a fragrant burning fire. So, all in all a fitting cake for my husband who favours dark chocolate, extra strong espresso, a peaty Whisky rather than a smooth blended one and not too much sweetness in a birthday cake. While you hopefully look up the fabulous book this cake was adapted from, the cake on the cover had been my birthday cake last year – not sure what this years will be.


Black chocolate-espresso cakes with single malt glaze

I was especially fond of the cute little loafs, each a compact dark chocolate-espresso bar with its ivory glaze, gold glitter and dark sprinkles – sadly most of them went to my husband’s office along with the yearly offering of Red Velvet cupcakes. Alas, a far better solution concerning my waistline.




Black chocolate-espresso cakes with single malt glaze

Black chocolate-espresso cake with single malt whisky glaze

Barely adapted from Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito’s Baked Occasions. Of course, a single malt is no must here and you may choose the whisky or whiskey of your preference.


40g / ½ cup (unsweetened) cocoa powder, Valrhona preferably or Dutch processed
20g / ¼ cup black cocoa powder (E. Guittard)
1 tablespoon instant espresso
2 heaped teaspoons instant coffee (substitute 1 cup / 240ml hot coffee for instant coffee & water)
240ml / 1 cup hot water
285g / 2¼ cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1¼ salt
495g / 2½ firmly packed cups Muscovado / dark brown sugar
210ml / ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
360ml / 1½ cups (heavy) cream
butter & cocoa powder to grease & dust the moulds

3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons (heavy) cream
280-340g / 2½-3 cups icing sugar / confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons single malt whisky (in our case of course a peaty whisky from Islay, Laphroaig or Ardbeg)

gold glitter sugar crystals
extra-dark chocolate sprinkles (De Ruiter)


Preheat oven to 175° C / 350° F. Carefully grease cake pans & moulds with butter and dust the insides with cocoa powder. I used a tiny Krantz mould (Bundt pan), mini loaf pans and a cup cake tray but for one big cake you may use the originally devised 12-cup Bundt pan.

In a small bowl mix cocoa powders, instant espresso and instant coffee and dissolve in boiling water, leave to cool.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt. In a large bowl whisk together sugar, oil and vanilla extract before adding the eggs and egg yolks. Stir in a third of the flour mixture followed by half of the cocoa-coffee syrup, continue with another flour installment and the rest of the cocoa, finish with the last of the flour.

Whip the cream until peaks form but let it not become completely stiff. Mix a third into the cake batter to lighten it, then fold in the second third until just combined and finally add the rest to a homogenous batter.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared tins and bake either small cakes or the large Bundt in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes for the small ones or 50-55 minutes for the single cake until a cake tester comes out with just a few crumbs. Leave the cake(s) to cool completely in their moulds on a wire rack.

For the Malt Whisky glaze melt butter and whisk in the cream, add 280g / 2½ cups icing sugar and whisk in the whisky for a thick but still pourable glaze. Use the rest of the icing sugar if the glaze is too thin. Pour over the cooled cakes and / or ice your cup cakes and mini loaves. Sprinkle with gold glitter sugar crystals or extra-dark chocolate sprinkles.




Deutsches Rezept

Black chocolate-espresso cakes with single malt glaze

Schwarzer Kakao-Espressokuchen mit Single Malt Whisky Glasur

Nach dem Vatertagskuchen in Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafitos Baked Occasions. Natürlich muß man nicht wie ich Single Malt Whisky für die Glasur verwenden, sondern kann einen gewöhnlichen oder Blended Whisky benutzen.



40g dunkles Kakaopulver, vorzugsweise Valrhona
20g schwarzes Kakaopulver (meines ist von E. Guittard)
1 EL Instant Espresso
2 gehäufte TL Instant Kaffee (oder 240ml heißer starker Kaffee statt Wasser & Instant)
240ml heißes Wasser
285g Mehl
2 TL Backpulver
¼ TL Natron
1¼ Salz
495g Muscovado Zucker (dunkler brauner Zucker)
210ml neutrales Öl (Sonnenblumenöl)
1 EL Vanilleextrakt
2 Ei
2 Eigelbe
360ml Sahne
Butter & Kakaopulver für die Formen

3 EL Butter
2 EL Sahne
280-340g Puderzucker, gesiebt
3 EL Single Malt Whisky (Laphroaig oder Ardbeg in unserem Fall, ein guter, weniger torfig schmeckender Whisky ist auch perfekt)

Goldglitter Zuckerkristalle
extra-dunkle Schokoladenstreusel (De Ruiter, extra-dark)

Ofen auf 175° C vorheizen. Eine große Gugelhopf bzw. Bundt-Kuchenform (2,8l Inhalt) oder eine kleine Kranzform und viele kleine Minikuchenformen sorgfältig mit Butter einfetten und mit Kakaopulver ausstäuben; Muffinbackbleche mit Papierförmchen für kleine Cupcakes gehen natürlich auch.

In einer kleinen Schüssel beide Kakaopulver, Instant Espresso sowie Instant Kaffee in heißem Wasser auflösen, abkühlen lassen.

Mehl, Backpulver, Natron und Salz vermischen. In einer großen Schüssel Zucker, Öl und Vanilleextrakt mischen, Eier und Eigelbe hinzugeben und verrühren. Abwechselnd ein Drittel Mehl und die Hälfte der Kakao-Kaffeemischung einarbeiten, beginnend und endend mit Mehl.

Sahne schlagen (bitte nicht komplett steifschlagen) und ein Drittel unter den Teig rühren um ihn leichter zu machen. Dann ein zweites Drittel gerade eben untermischen, dann vorsichtig das letzte Drittel unterheben.

Den zähflüssigen Teig in die vorbereiteten Backformen gießen und den großen Bundtkuchen 50-55 Minuten, einen kleinen Kranzkuchen, zahlreiche Minikuchen und Cupcakes für ca. 40 Minuten in der Mitte des Ofens backen bis ein Holzstäbchen mit nur wenigen Krumen behaftet aus dem Kuchen gestochen herauskommt. Den / die Kuchen auf einem Kuchengitter in der Form komplett auskühlen lassen.

Für die Malt Whisky-Glasur die Butter schmelzen und mit dem Schneebesen die Sahne einrühren, 280g gesiebten Puderzucker sowie den Whisky hinzugeben und zu einer dicklichen aber fließfähigen Glasur verrühren. Sollte diese zu dünn geraten, die restlichen 60g Puderzucker nach und nach hinzufügen. Die Glasur über den / die ausgekühlten Kuchen / Cupcakes gießen und mit Goldglitterzucker oder extra dunkle Schokoladenstreusel verzieren.

18 thoughts on “Black chocolate-espresso cake with single malt whisky glaze

  1. Oh, don’t those look delicious? We saw the first 2 episodes of DA when we were in England in September. It’s a long wait for the end (I think it starts up here in January). They filmed something, maybe the Christmas special, at Alnwick Castle just down the road from where we were staying.

    • Thanks, Michelle, I had a hard time holding myself back and not eating them all, one by one.
      Oh dear, that is a long wait, so I am not going to spoil it for you. Must have been the Christmas special, Alnwick is used to figure as Brancaster Castle… not saying any more. N xx

    • Totally true, this cake turned out to be a game changer to the sweet-averse & please-no-frills-for-me birthday cake people. I can’t bring myself to characterize these flavours as masculine since I enjoy them equally so let’s say the combo especially appeals to people of a discerning taste with a penchant for smoky things and very hot chiles. 😉 N

  2. What a great combination of flavours! Since I missed the deadline for a good Christmas cake, I think I’ll make this cracker for the 25th. Thank you Nicole, Jx

    • Great idea & same here, of course I’ve missed stir-up-Sunday, I think I’ll follow you there. See if you can get the pitch black cocoa powder somewhere (internet?) – it makes all the difference. N xx

  3. This looks so good! I love how you made mini loaves and decorated each one a little differently. What a great birthday gift. Those are the kind of scotches I like, the really petey, smoky ones. I can imagine how just a touch would take a chocolate cake, already enhanced by espresso and make it even more rich and layered. A D.A. marathon?! I’ve been waiting for that! Very impressive. Feel good and keep up the good work!

    • Thanks a million, Amanda, and hello to a fellow Whisky afficionado. I had watch my glitter output, keeping it minimal while I did go to town with sprinkles on my cake last year (see ‘About’ photo).
      Nearing the end of my self-imposed DA marathon so I am just in time for the last episode, while I begin to wonder if I might wait for the DVD since I can’t face all the adverts messing up the Christmas Special.

  4. This looks like the perfect cake to munch on while watching Dowton Abbey. We get to see the final season in January. I just got back from Germany yesterday and I’m a little homesick. I hope all is well with you.

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