Celebrations when you are living overseas are different. Kids' birthdays with no grandparents around. The struggle to find a turkey for Thanksgiving. Coming up with your own new traditions to fit your life in another country. Nerf-gun battle after Christmas dinner anyone?
One thing that has fallen to me as unofficial "camp mom" is to make sure birthdays away from home are recognized and celebrated, that people far from family have someone to share holidays with. These are important things and it can be hard when you're away from your people.
For me, this chocolate whiskey cake has become a go-to option for (grown-up) celebrations. The ingredients are relatively simple (assuming you keep chocolate and whiskey on hand). It's flourless, so perfect for those birthday boys and girls who need gluten-free. And the kick of the whiskey flavor gives it a decidedly grown-up, special-occasion feel.
Plus, you can use mason jars (squee!) and you can also freeze the unbaked cakes in the jars ahead of time and just pop in the oven when you're ready. Or you can use the same recipe to make one 8-inch round cake layer and top with mounds of spiked whipped cream for a more dramatic presentation.
Fathers' Day is coming up. And my dad is halfway across the world. If I was there with him, I'd make him this chocolate whiskey cake and we'd go do something together, like target shooting with my grandpa's old M1 carbine. But I'm not there. I'm a bazillion miles away. So, he'll get a phone call and something I can order online. Different traditions.
So if you are looking for a special occasion treat, try this one. It may just become a new tradition.
P.S. I found the recipe at eclectic recipes through Pinterest. Don't you just love Pinterest?
Preheat oven to 350F (175C), if you are intending to bake immediately.
Now we are going to melt the chocolate and the butter together until all melted and smooth. You can do this in a double boiler or a microwave. Once it's all melted and smooth, stir in the sugars.
Next, we stir in 4 eggs. One at a time.
Now the fun part. Stir in the whiskey. (hee hee!!)
Yeah, okay. Missionaries aren't supposed have that kind of stuff in their cupboards, you say? That's fine. You don't have to keep whiskey in your cupboards. You can come to our house and I'll share some of this fine cake with you.
Now we add the baking powder, baking soda and salt.
I know. It feels weird not adding them together with the flour. But since there's no flour in this recipe, we'll just have to add these guys all naked and alone into the batter. Madness I say.
Now we pour the delicious whiskey-laden batter into six half-pint mason jars. Or you can also do one eight-inch cake layer if you'd rather. But the mason jars are really pretty cute. So I'd go with that, personally. If you're asking.
At this point, if you'd like to freeze your little jars of joy, you just screw on the lids and pop in the freezer. When you are ready to bake, place the frozen jars (lid off) in a cold oven and let the preheating oven slowly warm up the cakes. (Putting a frozen jar directly into a hot oven might not be a great idea.)
While the jars of joy are baking, whip some cream, sweeten with a little powdered sugar and add a splash more whiskey, if you'd like. (I like). No, the alcohol won't "bake out" of the whipped cream. But it's just a little bit, after all.
Savor that chocolatey, rich, delicious flavor. Pick something to celebrate and take another bite.
MAKES 6 HALF-PINT JARS
1 8-INCH CAKE LAYER
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (or chopped up chocolate bars)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whiskey
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
If baking immediately, preheat oven to 350F (175C)
Melt the butter and the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir and heat until smooth.
Add the sugars, mix until well combined.
Add the eggs, beating into the batter one at a time.
Stir in the whiskey. (If you are afraid the alcohol flavor may be too strong, you can reduce to 1/3 cup).
Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Divide the batter between six half-pint mason jars. They'll be about half-full. (Don't worry, they'll rise).
At this point you can put the lids on and freeze or you can bake immediately.
If frozen, place jars with lids off into a baking sheet in a cold oven and preheat to 350F (175C). Once the oven has reached temperature, bake for another 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
If baking immediately, place jars on a baking sheet and bake approx. 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Serve with sweetened whipped cream (recommended: spike whipped cream with a splash of whiskey).