Bittersweet Chocolate Irish Whiskey Cake

Bittersweet Chocolate Irish Whiskey Cake

What could be more perfect? It’s a tragedy, so the recipe is bittersweet. Chocolate is high-currency with anything Frank. Irish whiskey? Well, on any opening night at Frank Theatre, there’s usually a bottle of Jameson stashed somewhere within reach (except for that misguided attempt with MAD FOREST to observe the Eastern Europeans when we substituted a bottle of Slivovitz…). This dressed up brownie hits all the Frank notes for a 20th birthday cake!

Total time:
Yield: 6-8 servings


1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey

6 oz. bittersweet (70% cocoa) chocolate, chopped

2 tsp. instant espresso powder, dissolved in 6 T. hot water

1 T. vanilla

1/3 cup (plus another handful for garnish) sliced almonds, lightly toasted

6 T. flour, divided

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided

7 T. sugar, divided

3 large eggs, separated

Pinch of salt

2 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped


Preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour 8-inch-diameter springform pan. Boil 1/2 c. whiskey in small saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Combine chocolate, espresso powder mixture, and boiled whiskey in small metal bowl. Place bowl over saucepan of simmering water; stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from over water, add vanilla. Finely grind almonds with 2 T. flour in food processor. Using mixer, beat 1/2 c. butter and 6 T. sugar in medium bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks 1 at a time, then add salt. Fold in chocolate mixture, then ground almond mixture. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 T. sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into batter in 3 batches, alternately with remaining 4 tablespoons flour. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 30 minutes. Remove pan sides and cool cake completely.

Combine semisweet chocolate and remaining 2 tablespoons whiskey in small metal bowl. Place bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir until smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Add remaining 1/4 cup butter to chocolate mixture, 1 small piece at a time, whisking until each piece is melted before adding next. Place bowl over larger bowl of ice water. Using whisk or electric mixer, beat icing until thickened to spreadable consistency, about 1 minute. Spread icing over top and sides of cake, and garnish with almonds.