Bourbon Mocha Cake with Espresso Frosting and Candied Walnuts

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This cake is a coffee lover’s dream. With Bourbon, espresso and cocoa, it has an undeniable earthiness and richness that is almost impossible to resist. And if that wasn’t enough, the candied walnuts on top are absolutely to die for – crunchy, bitter and golden.

Notes:
* The Bourbon can be substituted with any other dark liquor such as rum, whiskey or coffee liqueur. 
*If you want to leave out the alcohol altogether, simple substitute with the same amount of water or espresso. 
*This is a small batch recipe that makes one small cake, serving 4 people. Simply double or triple for a larger serving.
*The candied nuts can be made with any nuts of your choice – almonds, pecans, hazelnuts work great too!
 

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  1. 112 g unsalted butter
  2. 2 shots of espresso
  3. 50 g cocoa powder
  4. 70 g caster sugar
  5. 90 g light brown sugar
  6. 1 egg
  7. 2 tablespoons Bourbon
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 140 g flour
  10. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  11. 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

  1. 20 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 60 g icing sugar
  3. 8 g cocoa powder
  4. 1 teaspoon Bourbon
  5. 1 teaspoon espresso

For the candied walnuts:

  1. 50 g walnuts, roughly chopped
  2. 20 g granulated sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  4. 1/4 tsp sea salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 6 inch cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Put the butter in a large saucepan and melt over low heat, making sure it doesn’t burn. Once melted, add in the espresso and cocoa powder and whisk well to combine.
  3. Then add in the egg, sugars, vanilla and Bourbon and whisk for a couple of minutes until smooth.
  4. In a separate large bowl, add the flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk until combined. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold to combine.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-32 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out with almost no crumbs attached. Leave to cool.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Add the room temperature butter to a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth and creamy. Sift in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and whisk for about 5-7 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Finally add in the Bourbon and espresso, and whisk to combine. Spread on top of cooled cake.
  7. To make the candied walnuts, add the sugar to a saucepan over low heat and cook until sugar has melted and has started to turn brown. Add in the maple syrup and salt and whisk to combine.
  8. Finally, add in the walnuts, making sure to coat all of them in the sugar. The sugar might crystallise at this stage. Increase the flame to medium and cook until the caramel turns a deep amber colour, and the walnuts look crispy and smell toasty. Spoon walnuts onto a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool completely. They light stick together, so break them up into chunks before placing on top of the cake.

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