This was my birthday cake this year.

Yes. I made my own birthday cake. I know you’re supposed to let other people take care of this kind of stuff, but it was such an interesting cake! I couldn’t let someone else make it before I got a chance!

I got this very interesting recipe from my mom. She emailed it to me saying:

This recipe sounded interesting because the person who sent in the recipe said the combo of the black pepper, chocolate and coffee gives great depth to the flavor. The person at the NY Times said she couldn’t stop eating it.

How could I pass up making this cake?

For my birthday, I met up with some friends at a cider bar near my house and I brought the cake to share. At the end of the night I had a couple slices of cake left over and I offered it to the bartenders. They took a small slice, and one of my friends said he saw them picking at the crumbs left on the napkin.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that this is a good cake recipe.

It’s a rich and dense cake and (I think) tastes best after it comes to room temperature. However, you’ll be tempted to eat it warm. The whiskey in the cake comes through in waves, sometimes you’ll taste it in a bite, other times you won’t.

Whipped cream would make a lovely addition to the cake, and powdered sugar off sets the pitch black color of the cake nicely.

Chocolate Whiskey Cake

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, more for pan

85 grams unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups brewed strong coffee (I used stumptown coffee)

1/2 cup whiskey

200 grams granulated sugar

156 grams light brown sugar

240 grams all-purpose flour

8 grams baking soda

3 grams fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Powdered sugar, for serving

Heat oven to 325°F.
Butter a 10-inch springform pan and dust with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm coffee, whiskey, 12 tablespoons butter and the remaining 3/4 cup cocoa powder, whisking occasionally, until butter is melted. Whisk in the brown and white sugar until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and cloves.
In another bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Slowly whisk egg mixture into chocolate mixture. Add dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into prepared pan. Tap the spring form pan lightly on the table to release any air bubbles. Transfer the cake to oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, about 50 minutes.
Let cool on a wire rack, then remove sides of pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
To get the powdered sugar lines, place pieces of paper across the cake in the pattern you want and dust over the paper pattern. Carefully remove the paper from the cake, making sure to not pour any of the excess powder on the paper onto the cake or to smudge the powdered sugar on the cake.
Total Time: About an hour and half.
The lovely picture was taken by my very talented roommate, Rachel King.