Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story

The Girl Who Cried Wolf {Chocolate Kahlua Cake Drizzled with Kahlua Ganache and Kahlua Icing}


I am she…the one who cried wolf. The one who has said at least ten times or so here on S&C that this is the BEST something or other EVER! But what if it is? Will you believe me this time? Have I whittled away your trust? I sure hope not because the only loser in this equation is YOU if that is so.

Let’s reconsider that last statement. I am NOT calling all of my readers losers. Well, I don’t think so anyhow. I am actually just saying that if I have blown your trust to smithereens, although it may be my fault entirely, if you don’t believe me this time, you will be so, so sorry because this IS the BEST chocolate cake I have ever made (I am fairly certain).

This Chocolate Feather Cake from Rose Levy Beranbaum in Heavenly Cakes is actually heaven on earth and so aptly part of her well named book.

Part of the Kahlua cake photo shoot…white backdrop with external lighting.

But, of course, I Genified it. Basically, in layman’s terms, I got it good and drunk. It was a birthday cake for my cousin, and I was certain that a celebration cake warranted a little extra spirit. So I switched out most of the water for Kahlua, threw in some Espresso, added a Kahlua Ganache AND a Kahlua icing, and oh boy.  It literally might make you dance and sing—um— on the table tops mind you, preferably clothes still on.

See anything missing?

The texture is feathery as its original name implies, and the flavor is rich and so very chocolaty with the extra zing from the liqueur and Espresso, and the word, “mmmmmm” can’t help but escape from your mouth.  Perhaps that is the only logical explanation for why this cake was mysteriously missing two slices from the bundt ring that I made him.

Note that Sadie is waiting for one false move and it’s all hers.

—Which is why I decided to slice it up and place it on a platter instead of serving it as a whole cake. I don’t think he suspected a thing. But, in my defense, I HAD to taste it first before giving it away as a present. It was my first time making this cake and I had messed with the recipe so entirely that it didn’t really resemble the original version so I HAD to know that it was up to par. Right? Glad we agree.

Thanks for having my back. I will officially retract my original statement about you being a loser. Make the cake, eat the cake and  have a better life. That’s all folks.

Chocolate Kahlua Cake with Kahlua Ganache and Kahlua Icing

Inspired by Rose Levy Beranbaum’s recipe in Heavenly Cakes but totally Genified
Serves 12-14…it’s very rich
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (best quality avail. but not Dutch Process)
1/2 c. Kahlua
1/4 c. very hot water
2 1/4 c. cake flour
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
3 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1/2 c. + 6 T. of unsalted butter softened just a bit (one stick + 6 T),
3 eggs, room temperature
2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. water
1 T. instant espresso granules
2 T. boiling water
1/4 c. Canola oil

To Make the Cake: Place Kahlua in a microwave safe dish and heat for one minute on high to boil it. Place your cocoa powder into the hot Kahlua and whisk until smooth. Add the 1/4 c. hot water to thin it out a bit. Let rest while doing all other steps.

Take one rack out of your oven and place the bottom rack in the bottom third of your oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour through salt and mix on low speed to adequately disperse the dry ingredients.

Add your butter and chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and beat together on medium speed until fairly creamy. In a medium-sized mixing bowl beat together eggs, vanilla, Canola oil and 1/2 c. of water.

In a very small microwave safe dish, heat the 2 T. of water for 30 seconds. Add the 1 T. of espresso granules and mix together until espresso dissolves. If the espresso does not dissolve, heat it up for another 15 seconds or so. Add the espresso to the liquid ingredients. Pour the liquid ingredients into the chocolate batter and mix on medium-high speed for a minute or until creamy and smooth, scraping down the bowl now and then.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake on the bottom rack (which should be on the bottom third of your oven) for 45-55 minutes or until barely firm when touched and toothpick comes out clean. It may need longer with a silicone bundt pan but I have not used one so I wouldn’t know.

Kahlua Ganache
Taken from Mission Food Service (of all places?!)
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into small bits
1.5 oz butter (I used 3 T.)
3 oz . heavy whipping cream
2 oz. kahlua liqueur

To make the ganache: heat the chocolate pieces and butter in a microwave safe dish for one minute. Stir, and heat for another 45 seconds or until fairly melted. Stir until smooth.  In a microwave safe liquid measuring cup, heat the cream and Kahlua for 45 seconds or until hot but not boiling.  Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Let cool a few minutes before pouring over cake.  Use the liquid measuring cup to drizzle the ganache back and forth in a “v” pattern over the cake. Let the cake sit at least 30 minutes before pouring Kahlua Icing over, or refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Kahlua Icing
I measured nothing. I simply threw some powdered sugar in a liquid measuring cup (maybe 3/4 a c.) and poured in Kahlua until it was drizzle-able (is that a word?) Then I drizzled icing over ganache back and forth in a “v” pattern again.

BONUS RECIPE! Kahlua Truffles Save extra icing and ganache to serve as an added sauce with the cake if you like. They are DELICIOUS! Or, what I did, was combine them, refrigerate all day and later scoop them into balls using either a small spoon or mini ice cream scooper. I rolled them in unsweetened cocoa powder and voila, I had the most amazing Kahlua truffles in history!

61 thoughts on “The Girl Who Cried Wolf {Chocolate Kahlua Cake Drizzled with Kahlua Ganache and Kahlua Icing}

  1. This is fantastic! My tastebuds are doing a little dance just thinking about it. Really beautiful too!

  2. You’ve totally convinced me, and now I can’t stop thinking about this cake. I love that last photo of the double iced top, great post!

  3. Haha a lot of things you make are the best so I don’t think you are crying wolf 😉
    This cake… oh my gosh this cake… can I just have a crumb if you don’t want to share??

    CHoc Chip Uru

  4. You had me at kahlua!! Geni.. this is hands down one of your best posts.. from the recipe to your description of it.. you’ve got me wanting a slice!!

  5. You are a marvel, Geni! This cake and icing sound positively fantastic. And then you go and add the tidbit about making kahlua truffles. OMGenie! You are too much!

  6. That looks sinful and delicious.

  7. I will cry whatever you like for a slice of this – so clever serving it the way you did – I must remember that!
    🙂 Mandy

  8. This looks absolutely amazing!!!

  9. The cake looks fanstatic. I notice the slices missing were big slices, can’t say I blame you!

  10. I don’t think you are crying wolf at all just making increasingly delicious things. This cake looks amazing!

  11. I cry wolf just about every day also, so I totally get it. But I trust rose levy and YOU with my cakes any day so if you say it’s the bee’s knees then it for sure is!

  12. Geni, I think it is very irresponsible of you to show these pictures and leave us drooling with no immediate outlet. I am bound to chew on a chair leg or something… Love Rose’s cakes and I love inspired baked. Beautiful. My birthday is only 5 months away. hint hint

  13. Geni, I think it is very irresponsible of you to show these pictures and leave us with no immediate outlet. I am bound to go chew on a chair leg or something.

    I love Rose’s cakes, and even more love inspired baking. This is a beautiful creation. Kahlua + cake = love!!!

    My birthday is only 5 months away… hint hint

  14. I love this recipe. I will sure try this one day

  15. yum yum yum!! I think I will make this soon!

  16. I believe you… but mostly because this cake looks and sounds amazing! I want a slice NOW! 🙂

  17. It’s not crying wolf, Geni – it just means you’re getting better and better, right? And oh dear lord, does this sound heavenly – and I don’t blame you one bit for trying a slice. (and then another). Hugs!

  18. OK, doesn’t matter that I don’t like chocolate–this cake is gorgeous!!! The interior looks so moist, just as a cake should. Your friend is very lucky to get this as a gift. I’d say the cake is more than up to par! 🙂 and I replied to your comment on my post, but I’ll say it here too haha, I believe it should be “I am she” because if you move she/her to the front, “she is” would be correct, not “her is.” Hoping I’m right here. 😉

  19. Geni this sounds absolutely amazing! Can’t wait to give your “genified” version a try :)!

  20. Now this is one of those recipes that has me tempted to eat chocolate. I love kahlua! Well, I for one believe you! 🙂

  21. Sin. Pure sin and joy.

  22. That’s a very strong recommendation! How could I say no?

  23. Oh. My. This cake looks incredible! I’ll have to give it a try sometime, and soon!

  24. o my…this is deadly chocoatey and and I am totally tempted!

  25. Geni, your photos are stunning! I love that last shot. I bet this tasted incredible.

  26. Isn’t Rose the best! This looks incredible.

  27. Wow look at that icing! It makes it look even more delicious!

  28. This made me chuckle! I don’t know which is worse, “testing” the cake to be sure it is fit for others, or cutting it up so you can get a good slice for photos before everyone arrives … oh, the things we do for our blogs! 😉
    Love how you added Kahlua to the cake and the icing, good move. I’ll bet your cousin was thrilled enough to dance on the tables.

  29. wow, love the pictures and the cake looks absolutely divine!

  30. This looks … well, heavenly! 🙂

  31. Kahlua cake topped with gnache and icing?! Decadent. And you never know if it is worthy for gift giving unless it passes the taste test!

  32. chocolate, kahula, ganache, double ganache, truffles! You are amazing. What a cake!

  33. How did I miss this post! I am playing catch up with reading my fav bloggers posts. This is a winner. I’m having a pampered chef party and will make this even though it’s not a PC recipe! Yum!!!

  34. I didn’t see when to put the canola oil in the instructions. When would I do that? Can’t wait to make this cake.

  35. Just made this and used two double round pans and made it a double layer cake and it doesnt look pretty but it tastes amazing!!! Great recipe!

  36. Yum! I’m looking for a kahlua cake recipe as I have a bottle of kahlua lying around for too long! Now that I’ve read your recipe, I know for sure the kahlua’s going to be gone soon!

  37. I am trying this recipe put as a 3 tiered wedding cake. I didn’t think it was as dark as strong in coffee or kaluha as it sounded it would be. What do you think about upping the amount of kaluha? I am making a 12 in, 9 in, and 6 inch tier. Are they going to be sturdy enough to slice in half to fill? I am making a mocha buttercream filling and covering it in ganache. Any suggestions? Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • WOWZA! This sounds fantastic! I would definitely do a test-run cake with the bottom tier and see how stable it is to cut in half. I only made a bundt cake so I am really not sure as to it’s sturdiness if it is in a normal round cake pan. As for upping the Kahlua, you could definitely do that and subtract some of the oil, but this particular recipe is already an adjusted recipe from the original so I think you would be experimenting and experiment may be great but I still think you need a test-run. Also, our cake was definitely Kahlua enough for us and we are fairly boozy folks. Please let me know how it turns out! 🙂

      Sincerely, Geni

  38. Thanks, Geni.
    I think when I tested the recipe (I made a few cupcakes so my girls and I could try it out) it didn’t seem all that strong and the bride definitely likes the taste of booze. So I was a little concerned…but now I have bakes all 3 tiers and filled them with a delicious mocha buttercream (the 12 in held up just fine because I froze it first and split it while still very cold) . I will make the ganache tomorrow–8 lbs of chocolate
    !-and deliver it on Monday unassembled. Decorating with a simple border and edible orchids. I’ll post a photo when it’s all done-thanks for your help!

    • I’m so glad you did test-run cupcakes! You’re brilliant! 🙂 If you put any Kahlua in the ganache, then it will booze it up. Also, another idea is to brush the top with Kahlua before pouring the ganache over it. Will the ganache stay shiny until the next day. My problem with a ganache I just used for my Tunnel of Fudge cake is that the next day it was dull. IT may have been the recipe or the baker. 😉 Just thought I would share that. THank you for reporting back and good luck and feel free to send me a photo. I would love that! I will post on here! 🙂

  39. Hi Geni-
    Big sigh of relief. Wedding has come and gone (it was yesterday.) I was a bit nervous getting it there but I drove slowly and it was well insulated. My 18 year old packed tons of towels around it and it was double boxed. I was overly tired and excited getting it assembled and decorated, especially as there were a lot of other people setting up so I felt on show but I had a friend show up and encourage me (she also took me out for a late breakfast afterward as it was my birthday!)
    The best part was how truly delicious the cake was and how many rave reviews it got. Truly, wonderfully delicious and I am so glad I did it! Thank you, Geni, for sharing it-I will definitely use it again. There will be photos of it on my Birdy’s Bakery facebook page soon. I’m not a great decorator yet but I am a really good baker. Give me a wonderful recipe and I can do wonders! ❤

    • Thank you so much for the report back. I will try to find you on Facebook then for the pics! 🙂 Glad it got rave reviews. Did you end up adding extra KAhlua? If so, how much…did you subtract oil? Thanks for the info. Take care!

      • Sorry to take so long to respond. I just really want you to know how special this cake was! Such a hit. I did add extra Kahlua and I made an incredible mocha buttercream. I often don’t like them because they are either too buttery for my taste (if a true Swiss Buttercream) or too sugary sweet if the more American confectionery sugar variety. The one I used was just delicious and complimented the cake perfectly. The ganache was also laced with Kahlua–all 3 components were! The cake was moist, tender and oh-so yummy. Tomorrow the bride will be posting her testimonial to your cake on my page. On to the Christmas baking season-hope yours goes well!

      • HI Kali, what is your site? I would love to go there.

  40. You haven’t blown my trust…it is a fact that we can keep finding something that tops what we just thought was the best ever. 😀

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