Happy Chocolate Monday my friends! This Dark Chocolate Bourbon Cake with Whipped Ganache Frosting is a pure chocolate indulgence, the perfect way to kick off your week!
This recipe makes a single layer that is a cross between a chocolate cake and a flourless chocolate torte. Rich and supremely chocolatey, you won’t miss the second layer. This is so satisfying you can serve smaller slices with a cup of espresso for the perfect finish to your meal.
This is a form of sponge cake, using only beaten egg whites for leavening. This means you want to be careful not to deflate them when you fold them into the chocolate base.
I have doubled the frosting recipe for you so that there is plenty to easily cover the whole cake with a thick coating. I did not cover the sides of my cake because there wasn’t as much frosting when I made mine. It was still lovely, but it would have been prettier if I could have covered the edges too. Having extra frosting on the top gives you the option to make swirls and other fun decorations.
There are several steps to making this cake, but it is worth it. Just get all your ingredients gathered before you start and you’ll walk straight through it in no time.
One of the key things is to let the ganache cool before whipping it, giving the butter time to firm up and giving you a frosting that is almost buttercream-like. Very delicious!
This Dark Chocolate Bourbon Cake with Whipped Ganache Frosting is a lovely way to start your week! I hope you all enjoyed your weekend and are looking forward to a wonderful week ahead.
How to make Dark Chocolate Bourbon Cake with Whipped Ganache Frosting:
- Prep a springform pan and preheat the oven
- Melt together the chocolate, espresso, and water plus the bourbon
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then mix in the yolks, vanilla, salt, chocolate mixture and almond meal
- Whip the egg whites to firm peaks with sugar
- Fold the whipped egg whites alternately with the remaining flour, beginning and ending with the egg whites; pour into springform pan
- Bake 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean; cool cake in the pan for 30 minutes before loosening the ring and removing it – cool completely
- For the frosting, melt together the chocolate, sugar, and bourbon, stirring until smooth then whisking in the butter a little at a time; chill 15 to 20 minutes to firm up
- Beat the ganache until fluffy and lightened in color
- Frost the cake and enjoy!
I always get a reaction to dark alcohols – what can I use instead?
For those who have reactions to hard liquors (which are technically gluten-free), you may actually be reacting to caramel coloring that is sometimes added to brown alcohols. You can substitute potato vodka plus a little brown sugar to approximate the bourbon in your baking projects.
If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can replace it with water. Don’t skip the coffee – it enhances the chocolate without overwhelming the flavor.
Key Ingredients for this Recipe
- Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate, chopped
- Espresso powder
- Almond meal
- All-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
- Unsalted butter and salted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla and Salt
Kitchen Tools I Use to Make This Recipe (affiliate links)
A simple conversion in any baking recipe of using 120 grams gluten-free flour blend per cup of all-purpose flour called for will get you very close to perfect results every time! See the note about how to make a gluten-free substitution for the bourbon if you have reactions to brown alcohols.
- 170g (6 oz) bittersweet (70%) high-quality chocolate, chopped
- 2 tsp instant espresso powder dissolved in 6 tbsp hot water
- 1/4 cup bourbon (*See Note for gluten-free substitution)
- 57g (2 oz; 6tbsp + 1 tsp) almond meal
- 6 tbsp (45g) all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend, divided
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 tbsp + 1 tbsp (95g) granulated sugar, divided
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or pure extract
- Pinch of fine sea salt
Whipped Ganache Frosting
- 8 oz (234g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 to 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 6 tbsp bourbon
- 1 cup butter, cut into small pieces
- Blanched, sliced almonds, optional, for garnishing
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour 8-inch or 9-inch-diameter springform pan - be sure to use gluten-free flour if needed. (Note: an 8-inch pan will give you a thicker cake.)
- Prepare the Cake: In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stir together the chopped chocolate, espresso and water mixture, and bourbon. Stir from the center out until the mixture is smooth and all the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a bowl, stir together the almond meal with 2 tbsp of the flour. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together 1/2 cup of the butter and 6 tbsp of the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the yolks one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Add the vanilla and salt, mixing to combine. Mix in the chocolate mixture and then the almond mixture, until there are no streaks.
- In another very clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until they form soft peaks. With the mixer on low, slowly add 1 tbsp of the sugar, then beat on high until you get stiff, shiny, firm peaks.
- Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter until fully blended, then half the remaining flour (2 tbsp). Continue alternating between the egg whites and flour, finishing with the egg whites. Work carefully so you don't deflate the egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan, smoothing it into an even layer.
- Bake the cake about 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. If needed, run a small offset spatula around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the sides, remove the springform pan's sides and cool the cake completely.
- Make the Frosting: Combine the semisweet chocolate, sugar, and bourbon in a heatproof bowl. Set it over a pan of simmering water, stirring until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Start stirring in the center and move outward to the edges. When all the chocolate is melted and the bourbon completely blended in, remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, being sure it is fully melted before adding the next piece.
- Once all the butter has been added and is incorporated, place the bowl with the frosting in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up the butter. Using a mixer, beat the ganache until fluffy, lightened in color, and creamy.
- Frost the Cake: Transfer the cake to a serving plate, preferably one with a cake dome. Spread the icing over the sides and top of the cake. You can frost the cake up to 8 hours in advance. Store, covered, at room temperature. Refrigerate for longer storage.
- Optional Garnishing: You can press sliced almonds along the sides of the cake or just sprinkle some on the top if you want. This helps people know that there is almond flour in the cake.
- * For those who have reactions to hard liquors (technically gluten-free), you may actually be reacting to caramel coloring that is sometimes added. You can substitute 1/4 cup potato vodka plus 2 tbsp brown sugar to approximate the bourbon in the cake. In the frosting use 6 tbsp vodka and 1 tbsp brown sugar.
Adapted from a recipe by Epicurious
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 652Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 193mgCarbohydrates: 81gFiber: 4gSugar: 12gProtein: 14g
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This post was first shared in July 2017. The article was updated in 2020.