When you think of whiskey, you probably think of cocktails and not dessert, even though there are more than a few good desserts that are on the boozy side of the spectrum. This Jack Daniels Chocolate Cake just might be the perfect special occasion dessert for a someone who enjoys the occasional whiskey drink, as it includes a generous amount of Jack Daniels in the batter, as well as in the frosting. The towering chocolate layer cake is as easy to make as it is impressive, too.
The cake starts with a lot of chocolate cake batter. I recommend using a very large bowl to mix everything up (or your stand mixer) and to take your time so dry ingredients don’t slide up over the side of the bowl as you stir. That being said, the cake batter is very quick to put together because it is an oil-based cake and doesn’t require any creamy. The batter makes a three-layer, 9-inch cake. If you don’t have three pans, you can leave some of the batter in the bowl until one pan can be cleaned and reused for the final layer. If you don’t have enough space in your oven for three pans, it won’t hurt anything to leave the filled pan on the counter while the first two layers bake.
The cooled cake layers are stacked with a whiskey-laced cream cheese buttercream, made with butter, confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese and Jack Daniels. There is just enough whiskey in the mix to get a hint of it in each bite, but the frosting is fluffy and easy to work with. I made this cake “naked” – meaning with open layers – though there should be enough frosting to completely cover the cake if you prefer a more traditional look.
While it isn’t enough to give you a buzz when you’re eating a slice, there is certainly enough whiskey in here to taste it – and that’s the point of making a whiskey cake in the first place, isn’t it? The cake is tender, with a deep chocolate flavor that is complimented by the smokiness of the whiskey. If you don’t have Jack Daniels, you can use another whiskey, as this cake recipe works well with bourbon, too.
Jack Daniels Chocolate Cake
4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup Jack Daniels
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cups milk
1 cup butter, room temperature
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tbsp Jack Daniels
Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom of three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and lightly grease.
In a large bowl (very large), whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and hot water until cocoa powder is dissolved. Whisk in Jack Daniels, eggs and vanilla until smooth, then whisk in milk. Pour cocoa mixture into flour mixture and whisk until batter is smooth. Divide evenly into prepared pans.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the cakes have set and spring back when lightly pressed in the center. Turn cakes out onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.
Frosting & Assembly
In a large bowl, beat together all frosting ingredients until a thick, smooth frosting forms. Add in additional confectioners’ sugar or Jack Daniels to thicken, or to thin, the frosting as needed.
Place one cake layer on a cake plate and top with 1/3 of frosting. Spread the frosting to the edge of the layer, but do not pull the frosting over the side of the cake. Place a second layer on top, followed by another 1/3 of the frosting. Add final layer and the remaining frosting.