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Guy Fieri‘s chocolate cake recipe follows an infallible pro baking tip: Always add whiskey. The addition of whiskey can take just about anything in the kitchen to the next level (even French toast!), but we have to admit that Fieri’s recipe for Chocolate Whiskey 7-Layer Cake is a stand-out all on its own.
Leave it to this famous foodie to master a classic chocolate cake recipe and find a way to make it more impressive than anything else you’ll serve up for dessert.
Not only is this thing stacked with layers of decadent, rich chocolate cake, but it’s got chocolate ganache and a layer of whiskey anglaise nestled in between each layer of cake. Fieri then covers the cake in chocolate fudge frosting, so every forkful offers the perfect bite to satisfy your taste buds.
The anglaise is made using whole milk, sugar, egg yolks and Jack Daniel’s whiskey. Since the whiskey anglaise is spread onto each layer of cake before the frosting is applied, the liquid has time to seep into the cake to make it extra moist. So even novice bakers will wind up with the right texture.
The cake will serve 10-12 people and only takes about two hours to make, so if you find yourself with an extra bit of time to kill in the kitchen this holiday season, well, you know exactly what to do to keep yourself busy.
Who could blame you for wanting to take two hours to create something this amazing:
No one would fault you for that — especially once they give this massive cake a taste.
You’ll technically bake four layers of cake and cut them in half before the final assembly, which would leave you with eight layers. But, since this is more than adequate with just seven layers, you’ll have one layer leftover — a domed one that wouldn’t stack well, anyway. But Fieri doesn’t let it go to waste. This next step is a crucial part of the recipe: Fieri included eating the scrap layer in the recipe, so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating the cake before it’s technically time for dessert.
You can find the full recipe below, as well as in the “Guy Fieri Family Food” cookbook. You can even get a slice of it for yourself at Fieri’s Smokehouse restaurants if you love the idea of this cake but don’t have time to bake it yourself.
Chocolate Whiskey 7-Layer Cake
Chocolate fudge frosting
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
10 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
¼ cup dark cocoa powder
8 cups powdered sugar
1 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
Vegetable cooking spray, for the pans
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/3 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
1 ½ tablespoons pure vanilla extra
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups hot tap water
2 cups whole milk
½ cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
6 large egg yolks
¼ cup whiskey, such as Jack Daniel’s
1 pound dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup whiskey (Fieri prefers Jack Daniel’s)
- To make the frosting, combine the butter and chocolate in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir constantly over low heat until the mixture is completely melted, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the cocoa, powdered sugar, half-and-half, vanilla, and salt. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat until smooth.
- Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually pour in the melted chocolate mixture in a slow, steady stream. Whip until the frosting is light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside (the frosting can be made 2 to 3 days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to use, set out until it returns to room temperature, then beat with a hand mixer until fluffy).
- To make the cakes, arrange two oven racks in the bottom third and middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottoms of four 8-inch nonstick round cake pans with parchment paper. Spray the pans and the parchment paper with vegetable cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, and vanilla. In a saucepan over medium-low heat or in a small bowl in the microwave, melt the butter with the hot water.
- Add half of the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and beat using a hand mixer on low speed. Beat in half of the butter mixture, then scrape down the bowl. Beat in the remaining milk mixture and then the rest of the butter mixture. Pour the batter evenly among the prepared pans.
- Place two pans on each of the oven racks and bake until the cakes are springy to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let the cake layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.
- To make the whiskey anglaise, set a medium bowl over a large bowl filled with ice. Place a fine-mesh strainer over the medium bowl.
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, and salt. Set the pan over medium heat and whisk constantly while gently warming the mixture until scalding; do not boil.
- Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl. Pour the warmed milk over the eggs while whisking constantly. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spatula. Remove from the heat and immediately pour through the strainer into the chilled bowl. Stir in the whiskey. Let stand in the bowl of ice until completely cool, stirring often. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
- To make the ganache, place the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Add the chocolate, cream and butter and stir until smooth and warm. Remove from the heat and set aside at room temperature, or for longer storage, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 day.
- To assemble the cake, cut each cake layer in half through the equator to make 8 thinner layers. (You’ll only use 7 of them; set out the top, domed layer of one of the cakes for the crew passing through — they’ll eat it!) Lightly brush the cut sides of the 7 cake layers with the whiskey.
- Place one layer cut side up on a large round cake plate. Spoon ¾ cup of the frosting on top and smooth it to the edge with a pastry knife. Repeat with 5 more cake layers, placing two of the domed layers dome side down. Use the remaining domed layer for the top, placing it right side up. Do not frost the top layer.
- If necessary, gently warm the ganache in a double boiler. Pour the warm chocolate ganache over the top of the cake. Spread it evenly over the top with a spatula. Let the cake stand for 15 minutes before serving. (The cake will keep for 2 to 3 days … if it lasts that long!) Slice and serve with the whiskey anglaise on the side.
So, get some whiskey and get in the kitchen. This recipe is calling your name!