I Say Bourbon, You Say Scotch

Dear Bourbon, I love you.
There are two types of people in my family: bourbon drinkers and scotch drinkers. I am firmly in the bourbon camp and I am also, sadly, in the minority. Lompoc family gatherings have culminated in scotch tastings since we all came of age and my brother even had a scotch bar at his wedding. Scotch scotch scotch scotch scotch scotch. Whatever. To me "whiskey" will always mean "bourbon," but when my brother requested a "whiskey-based dessert," I knew he meant "scotch."

For the good of the family, I have a recipe that calls for whiskey and can accommodate scotch or bourbon. It's a recipe from my pastry kitchen days called Boca Negra--a moist, boozy chocolate cake. Not be confused with the opera Simon Boccanegra. Whenever I hear a reference to that opera, I think of my cake and start to salivate. As I work at a classical radio station, this does actually happen. It's an amazing cake, here is the recipe:

12 oz. chocolate
8 oz. butter
8 oz. sugar
4 oz. whiskey
5 eggs
300, 10 min turn 5 min

Got it? No?! Whyever not?

I kept a little notebook with me in the pastry kitchen so I could write down recipes as they were dictated to me. But it was hard to listen, watch, write and execute simultaneously, so I usually forsook writing the method and just jotted down the ingredients list. Here's my "recipe" for tiramisu:

5 yolks/100 g sugar sabayon
500 g masc
300 g cream

Makes sense to me, but in case you are not able to read my mind, here is a more complete recipe for Boca Negra cake. Ok, preheat your oven to 350. Chop up 12 oz of chocolate, I would use the good stuff here, bittersweet. Chop the chocolate and put in a double boiler or something microwavable with 8 oz (or 1 cup) of room temp butter cut into 10 pieces. If you don't have a kitchen scale, you might consider getting one. My restaurant recipes use weights almost exclusively, because they are more reliable than using cup measures. Depending on how packed the flour is and who is doing the scooping, a "cup" of flour could be a range of weights. Sometimes being accurate and consistent is extremely important in baking, because it's science. Sometimes, it's not so important, but it's still fun to use a kitchen scale.

Anyway. Melt the butter and chocolate slowly, and don't stir too much. Allow it to cool. Whisk the egg with 8 oz (or 1 C) of sugar until thickened slightly. Add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Gently whisk in 4 oz (or 1/2 C... told you this was boozy) of whiskey--bourbon OR scotch--and 2 Tablespoons of flour.

This cake needs to be coddled, it needs to be baked with care. So lightly butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper; butter the paper. Put the cake pan in a shallow roasting pan and pour the batter into the round pan. Carefully pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come about 1 inch up the side of the cake pan. I think it's easiest to add the water when the roasting pan is already in the oven. Bake the cake for 30 min. The top should have a little dry crust on top. It will be super moist on the inside, but trust me, it's done. Serve with some whipped cream and drooooooooool.

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