Chocolate Whiskey Layer Cake

I love that 10 minutes from my desk, I can be walking in the countryside.

I love that 10 minutes from my desk, I can be walking in the countryside.

This feels like the first autumn in years that I’ve actually been able to enjoy. For ages now, feeling stressed and overwhelmed has meant that a change of season has meant time is running out and I’ve not done enough. It feels very very strange not to have that massive invisible clock ticking away at the back of my mind – strange, but nice! It’s meant I’ve had time to start baking and cooking properly again, to use my lunch breaks for walks in the countryside around the OU, and to really notice all the little changes in the trees, the light, and the quality of the air that indicate we’re moving to a colder season. I’ve said before that Milton Keynes becomes breathtakingly beautiful in the autumn as the city of trees turns red and golden, and this year looks like it’s going to be particularly stunning. Or maybe I’m just noticing it more this year, because I have time.

Autumn also means – Mum’s birthday, and Jef’s birthday! Mum’s isn’t until early October but last weekend was our closest visiting opportunity to the big day so I made a cake. Oh, what a cake. I’ve been a fan of the Little Loaf blog for a while now, and have had this recipe for a show-stopping chocolate layer cake bookmarked for just this event 😀

Kate uses Jack Daniels in her recipe and while I know that would go down well, some of my party aren’t that partial to its smoky edge, so I went for the smoother, gentler burr of Glenmorangie. It worked beautifully in the buttercream, syrup and chocolate truffles. Oh, that buttercream! The addition of the condensed milk – or it might have been the whisky – did something magical in turning it mousse-like and glorious.

This is probably the best cake I’ve ever made. I’m so proud of it! Thank you to Kate for the recipe! Happy birthday, Mum.

Chocolate Whiskey Layer Cake

Baking before breakfast again

Baking before breakfast again

Original recipe here, and followed to the letter, with the exception of swapping Glenmorangie in, instead of the Jack Daniels.


For the cake

  • 340g plain flour
  • 525g golden caster sugar
  • 128g cocoa powder
  • 2 ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 2 ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 375ml full fat milk
  • 188ml groundnut oil
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 375ml boiling water

For the whiskey syrup

  • 100ml water
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50ml whiskey

For the buttercream

  • 150g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 350g icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp whiskey, or to taste

For the ganache

  • 250g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 250ml double cream
  • 100g light brown muscovado sugar


For the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line three 20cm cake tins.
  2. Sift the flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk for one minute to combine. You could also do this using an electric whisk.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs then add the milk and groundnut oil. Pour into the dry mixture and whisk for two to three minutes until well combined.
  4. With the whisk running, add the boiling water to your mixture a little at a time until combined. The batter will be extremely liquid.
  5. Pour into your prepared cake tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 – 35 minutes, or until the tops are firm and a skewer or toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven.

For the whiskey syrup

Parsley, Mum's 3rd child ;)

Parsley, Mum’s 3rd child 😉

  1. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Add the whiskey and simmer for one minute more then remove from the heat.
  2. Trickle the syrup over the top of each cake while still warm then set aside to cool completely.

For the buttercream
Make sure your butter is nice and soft. In a stand mixer or using an electric whisk, beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Sift in the icing sugar and whisk to combine, then add the condensed milk. Continue to beat until light and fluffy, slowly incorporating the whiskey until fully combined.

For the ganache

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.
  2. Heat the cream and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for one minute.
  3. Remove the cream from the heat and allow to stand for one minute – pouring it directly over the chocolate will cause it to split. Once it has rested, pour over the chocolate and stir until smooth and glossy, using a rubber spatula or whisk.
  4. Set aside for thirty minutes or until it has cooled to a spreadable consistency

To assemble the cake

  1. Smear a small amount of whiskey buttercream on a serving plate or cake stand. Place one round of cake on top. Slather over half the quantity of whiskey buttercream, top with a second round of cake and repeat. Top with the final round of cake and smooth any buttercream that has squidged out the sides.
  2. Dollop your ganache on top of the cake then use a spatula or palette knife to spread it down and round the edges. Use a slightly heated palette knife for a smooth finish.
  3. (Steph) Despite applying the ganache like I was plastering a small cottage, I had rather a lot left over. I added another generous splash of whisky, stirred it in and put the bowlful of now-very-alcoholic chocolate in the fridge to chill. I then rolled tea-spoons full of the mix into balls, rolled them in cocoa powder and lo – chocolate truffles for the top of the cake. Well – one or two might have ended up in the cook rather than on the cake! *hic*  
Alight and glowing

Alight and glowing

Look at those layers!

Look at those layers!

Happy birthday to Mum!

Happy birthday to Mum!

The Cake.  In all its truffled glory.

The Cake.
In all its truffled glory.

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One Response to Chocolate Whiskey Layer Cake

  1. It was a glorious cake. Truly stunning. About the only change I’d consider would be a *THIN* layer of tempered chocolate over the matte outer layer, as a dark gloss would look even more stunning. But that might be that mythical thing: “too chocolatey”. (Yes, there is such a thing. Somewhere.)

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