Chocolate-Bourbon Cake with Browned-Butter Bourbon Buttercream
I used to always say that rum was my favorite spirit, but as I’ve gotten older I can definitely say it’s now bourbon. I love trying and buying new bourbons; there are so many out there now to choose and try. I decided to go bold and use a 100 proof bourbon and use Knob Creek which is my current favorite, but as I love to try new brands; that may be subject to change. This cake was such a sweet surprise. I love to have some texture in my cakes when I’m placing the filling, so I decided to try the butterfinger pieces that are new in the baking aisle. I was afraid it would be too sweet, but it was perfect with this cake and gave a wonderful little crunchy bite. My neighbor loves cake and every year I make his birthday cake. His wife is my best friend and she always has a great party with me bringing the cake.
1 3/4 C all purpose flour
1 3/4 C granulated sugar
3/4 C natural unsweetened coco powder (such as Hershey’s)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Cup whole milk (room temp)
1/2 C vegetable oil or canola oil
2 large eggs (room temp)
1/2 C good quality bourbon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 C hot coffee
Preheat the oven to 330° F – 350° degrees F. I used four 6 inch pans so I baked them at a lower temp as I wrap my pans with baking strips and I find that I prefer to bake my cakes when I do this at a bit lower temp so they come out flat. If you don’t use baking strips then bake at 350 F. Prepare the pans by spraying with baking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer place all the dry ingredients and whisk well. Whisk together the milk and the next 4 ingredients well. Add to the dry and whisk to combine. Add in the hot coffee and stir with the whisk to combine. The batter will be very thin. Divide the batter equally into your pans; note if you use 6 inch pans it will be about 1 cup and 5 tablespoons of batter if you are like me and like to be precise. Bake until the tops of the cakes start to pull away from the sides and the top springs back when touched and a toothpick comes out clean. Six inch pans will take about 30-31 mins at 330° F, 8 inch pans will take 22-25 mins at 350° F. Always watch your bakes though; don’t rely on a recipe and go be strictly time alone. A good baker will always check often towards at least 5 mins before the suggested time. Cool the cakes in the pans set over a wire rack, and let cool for 20 mins, then turn out and continue to cool until the cakes are completely cool; about 40 more minutes.
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the buttercream. Note; you can make the buttercream ahead as it does take some time.
Browned Butter-Bourbon Buttercream
2 Cups unsalted butter
6 Cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1/4 Cup good quality bourbon (I like Knob Creek)
1 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring continuously until the butter turns golden brown and starts to smell nutty. Do not rush the process. Remove from the heat and immediately pour into a shallow wide heat proof bowl. Allow the butter to stand for about 15 minutes then, cover and refrigerate until it is almost firm. Stir the butter about every 15-20 minutes.
Beat the chilled butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners sugar, beating on low speed until well combined; about 2 minutes. In a separate cup stir the bourbon, heavy cream, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat until smooth.
To assemble the cake, fill with buttercream and sprinkle with crushed butterfinger pieces. Finish frosting the cake with the remaining buttercream. Decorate as desired.