Bourbon Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Buttercream

Dive into the indulgent world of Bourbon Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Buttercream, a luxurious dessert that marries the rich depth of bourbon-infused chocolate with the tangy sweetness of blackberry. Perfect for special occasions or as a gourmet treat, this cake promises to be a showstopper with its moist layers and creamy, fruity frosting.

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cups cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup canola oil

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

3 tablespoons bourbon

1 cup hot coffee

For the Blackberry Buttercream:

4 egg whites

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 pound unsalted butter (3 sticks), softened and cut into pieces

1 1/4 cup pureed blackberries

Directions:

For the Cake:

Preparation: Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease three 9-inch cake pans with butter or non-stick spray, then line the bottoms with parchment paper circles for easy removal of the cakes later.

Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Sifting helps remove any lumps and aerates the mixture for a lighter cake texture.

Combine Wet Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, canola oil, eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, and bourbon until well combined. The mixture should be uniform and smooth.

Combine Wet and Dry Mixtures: Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring gently with a spatula or whisk until just combined. Avoid overmixing to ensure the cake remains tender.

Add Coffee: Slowly stir in the hot coffee to the batter. The batter will be quite liquid, but this is normal. The coffee enhances the chocolate flavor and contributes to the moistness of the cake.

Bake: Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached.

Cool: Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove them from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Removing them while hot can cause the cakes to break.

For the Blackberry Buttercream:

Prepare Egg White Mixture: Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water (double boiler method). Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm to the touch.

Whip to Stiff Peaks: Transfer the egg white mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature.

Add Butter: Switch to the paddle attachment and add the softened butter one piece at a time, beating well after each addition. The mixture may look curdled at some point, but continue beating, and it will become smooth.

Flavor with Blackberries: Once the buttercream is smooth, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the pureed blackberries. Beat until just combined.

Assembly:

Layer the Cake: Place one cake layer on your serving plate or cake stand. Spread a layer of blackberry buttercream over the top. Repeat with the remaining layers.

Cover the Cake: Use the remaining buttercream to cover the top and sides of the cake. For a smooth finish, use an offset spatula or cake scraper.

Decorate: Garnish the cake with fresh blackberries, chocolate shavings, or any other desired decorations.

Chill and Serve: Chill the cake for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld and the buttercream to set.

Cake Customization:

  • Bourbon Choice: The type of bourbon used can subtly influence the cake’s flavor. Consider using a bourbon that you enjoy drinking; its nuances will complement the chocolate.
  • Coffee Alternative: If you prefer not to use coffee, hot water can be used as a substitute. However, coffee deepens the chocolate flavor without making the cake taste like coffee.

Buttercream Variations:

  • Blackberry Reduction: For a more intense blackberry flavor in the buttercream, consider reducing the blackberry puree on the stove until it thickens and concentrates. Let it cool before adding it to the buttercream.
  • Fresh Berry Fold-In: For an added burst of freshness, fold whole or halved fresh blackberries into the buttercream after it’s fully mixed.

Decorative Touches:

  • Chocolate Ganache Drizzle: Elevate the cake’s appearance by drizzling chocolate ganache over the top before adding the final layer of buttercream. The ganache can also be used to create a dripping effect along the sides.
  • Edible Gold Leaf: For a touch of elegance, apply small pieces of edible gold leaf to the buttercream on the top and sides of the cake.
  • Herbal Garnish: Mint leaves or small sprigs of fresh thyme can add a beautiful green contrast and a hint of herbal aroma that pairs well with the blackberry flavor.

Storage Tips:

  • Room Temperature: The cake can be kept at room temperature for the day it’s served.
  • Refrigeration: For longer storage, refrigerate the cake in an airtight container. It’s best consumed within 3 days for optimal freshness and flavor. Allow it to come to room temperature before serving for the best texture and taste.

This Bourbon Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Buttercream is a luxurious treat that combines the boldness of bourbon, the richness of chocolate, and the tanginess of blackberries. Perfect for special occasions or as a sumptuous weekend baking project. Enjoy the process and the delicious outcome!

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