Chocolate Molasses Chocolate Chip Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Glaze
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Welcome to holiday baking season 2012.
This is not the type of cake I’d make for a pool party in July but it’s most definitely the type of cake I want to make and savor this time of year.
The cake combines some of my favorite flavors and ingredients including molasses, Baileys, medjool dates, with the dominant note being chocolate. Chocolate is incorporated twice, both from a hefty dose of cocoa powder and from semi-sweet chocolate chips stirred into the batter.
The chocolate flavor is enhanced by adding a couple tablespoons of brewed coffee to the batter. And no, the coffee doesn’t make the cake taste like a ‘coffee-cake’, but instead helps to accentuate the cocoa flavor profile. If you’re a coffee lover and do want the cake to taste like coffee, a teaspoon, or a tablespoon, of ground espresso added to the batter would do the trick.
Additionally, I added nearly a cup of diced Medjool dates to the batter, further complementing the chocolaty tones. Dates and chocolate are a natural pairing and since dates are like nature’s candy, they add a subtle sweetness to the cake as well as providing both moisture and chewy texture.
It’s safe to assume I love chocolate, but I have a penchant for the rich and robust flavor of molasses. I adore molasses in cookies, molasses in bread, in pumpkin banana bread, and also in cakes. It’s deep, it’s dark, and it’s potent. That potency can be both an asset and a detriment. In general, molasses is a flavor where more is not usually better; which is the opposite of how I feel about cinnamon or vanilla.
Too much of a good thing can cause bitter, pungent, or overpowering results. Plus, not everyone likes bold in-your-face molasses. I was mindful of those pitfalls and the molasses intensity is present and discernible, but this is a chocolate-molasses cake, rather than a molasses-chocolate cake. If you prefer enough molasses to put hair on your chest, be my guest and add more, and in doing so you may need to increase the amount of flour a bit.
I use unsulphered molasses in all my cooking and baking. Blackstrap molasses is too bitter of a brew and I would caution against using it in this recipe unless you know exactly what you’re doing and desire a very pungent bite. And make sure anyone else you plan to share this cake with wants to grow hair on their chest with you if that’s the type of molasses selected.
This cake is so incredibly moist, springy, bouncy, and soft. The tender crumb is achieved by using just the bare minimum of flour necessary to bind the batter, and it’s a very moist batter at that. Both sour cream and canola oil are used, and they both have a softening and tenderizing effect. Greek yogurt could likely be substituted in place of sour cream, although I haven’t tried it. I recommend sticking with oil, rather than using butter, as oil-based cakes tend to be softer than butter-based varieties.
I also used just enough baking soda to leaven the cake, and omitted baking powder entirely. I didn’t want to risk it drying out the cake with excessive leaveners and those choices allowed each bite of cake to melt in my mouth. It has the springy, bouncy, and moisture qualities found in a chocolate cake mix-cake, but has about twelve more layers of flavor complexities going on.
Because of the chemical reactions that happen between the molasses, sour cream, and baking soda during baking, if you’re an oven door watcher like I am, you’ll observe that the top surface of the batter will be bubbling like crazy, even foaming a bit, and you’ll likely wonder what in the heck is going on and wonder if the cake is going to boil over, explode, or turn out; don’t worry though. As the baking time draws to a close, the batter sets up, the bubbling stops, and all will be well.
After the cake is finished baking, allow it to cool in the pan for about fifteen minutes before inverting it. Invert it by placing a large cutting board over the pan, and then flipping it over so the cake releases onto the board, rather than just letting it plop out freefall-style. Some people say they have trouble with Bundt cakes or tube-pan cakes sticking and not releasing easily, but I use Pam for Baking floured cooking spray and I’ve never had an issue, knock on wood. If anything, my cakes release so well that I’ve had some come flying out of the pan with enough force to almost cause a cake-tastrophe, crashing out onto hard and unforgiving wire racks.
The best part of this cake, other than it being an easy and fast batter to whisk together and no mixer is necessary, is the glaze. I am a big fan of Baileys Irish Cream and decided what better way to get in the holiday spirit than to make a glaze with a favorite booze. Life doesn’t get much better than cake, frosting, and booze, all in one; a perfect trifecta.
You won’t get tipsy from the frosting, even though it sounds fun to try, because there’s only one-quarter cup of Baileys for the entire batch of glaze, to be distributed over the whole cake. The creamy Baileys complements the chocolate and molasses in the cake and pairs just perfectly with them. If you don’t happen to have Baileys on hand and don’t want to buy any for one-quarter cup, but do have rum or another whiskey, I’d try those. If alcohol is not appropriate for your situation, cream or milk may be used in its place.
This cake was my signature and favorite cake from the fall, and today’s cake will likely be my signature cake for the pre-Christmas season. It’s a cake I want to stand around eating at a holiday party, with a big piece of cake in one hand and a glass of champagne, or three, in the other.
The layers of both flavor and texture were rich and varied. In each bite, between the crisp chocolate chips, the soft and moist cake itself, the chewiness imparted from the baked-in dates, the richness from the molasses, and the final drizzle of Baileys glaze, I was in texture and flavor heaven.
‘Tis the season. Deck the Halls. Fa-la-la-la-la. Spin the driedel. Eat cake.
For the Cake
For the Baileys Irish Cream Glaze
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 510Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 173mgCarbohydrates: 89gFiber: 3gSugar: 76gProtein: 4g
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache – A one bowl cake that comes together in five minutes. Say goodbye to cake mix and hello to this cake recipe for all your chocolate cake needs that used to call for a boxed mix
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache – Moist, rich, easy, and one of my favorite cakes of all time. The cake itself is reminiscent of a yellow cake mix-cake meets pumpkin cake. It’s springy, ultra moist, and chocolate is used in abundance
Banana Bread Brownies with Vanilla Caramel Glaze – Dense, rich, moist and very fudgy. For times when you want to have chocolate cake or brownies, but need to use up the ripe bananas on your counter; now you don’t have to choose
Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – This bread is a mixture of both pumpkin and banana flavors, and also incorporates molasses, providing depth and boldness. The flavor from the browned butter frosting is lovely with the other key ingredients
Cinnamon Oatmeal Date Bars with Chocolate Chunks (no-bake, vegan, gluten-free) – Medjool dates, oats, cinnamon, and copious amounts of chocolate are blended together and for a healthier and perfectly portable no-bake granola bar, feel free to reduce some of the chocolate topping
Do you like molasses? Baileys? Medjool dates?
Do you have a signature holiday dessert or recipe you’re excited to make?
If you have any favorite recipes or favorite holiday desserts, I’d love to hear about them and feel free to include recipe links.
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