Maida Heatter’s 86-Proof Chocolate Cake

We blog about this recipe here.

Maida Heatter’s 86-Proof Chocolate Cake

Adapted from the NYTimes version of Maida Heatter’s recipe.

  • 5 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 c sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c instant espresso powder
  •  Boiling water
  •  Cold water
  • 1/2 c bourbon
  •  2 sticks butter (8 oz)
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 2 c sugar
  • 3 eggs
  •  Additional bourbon (optional)
  •  Confectioner’s sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and dust a 9-inch bundt pan – or any other tube pan with a 10-cup capacity – with flour.  Be astute on covering every nook and cranny of the pan with the butter and flour or the cake might stick.

Place the chocolate in the top of a small double boiler over hot water on low heat. Cover and cook only until melted; then remove the top of the double boiler and let it cool slightly. (You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave; just keep a close eye on it.)

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a two-cup measuring cup dissolve the coffee in a little boiling water. Add cold water to the 1 1/2 cup line. Add the bourbon. Set aside.

Cream the butter in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Add the vanilla and sugar and beat to mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add the chocolate and beat until smooth.

Then, on low speed, alternately add the sifted dry ingredients in three additions with the liquids in two additions, adding the liquids very gradually to avoid splashing and scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Be sure to beat until smooth after each addition, especially after the last. It will be a thin mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Rotate the pan a bit briskly, first in one direction, then in the other, to level the top.

Bake for one hour and 10 to 15 minutes. Test by inserting a cake tester in the middle of the cake and bake only until the tester comes out clean and dry.

Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Then cover with a rack and invert. Remove the pan, sprinkle the cake with a little optional bourbon, and leave the cake upside down on a rack to cool. Before serving, if you wish, sprinkle the top with confectioners’ sugar through a fine strainer.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.

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