Tennessee honey chocolate cake

When Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial describes something as ‘delicious with a moist, tender crumb and deep, dark, grown-up chocolate flavour’ I must try it.

The problem was, in order to recreate this deliciousness, I needed a bottle of Chivas Regal and even I can’t justify buying a big bottle of alcohol to make a cake for no reason other than the fact that I really felt like chocolate cake.

As luck would have it, a couple of weeks ago I was sent a bottle of the latest spirit from Jack Daniel’s – Tennessee Honey. The little recipe book that accompanied the bottle was full of things like chicken wings and spare ribs but of course my mind went straight to Celia’s chocolate cake.

Tennessee honey chocolate cake

Oh boy did it make a good cake. You can still taste the alcohol in the finished cake and a hint of honey (Tennessee honey is made with real honey) adds an extra level of sweetness but it’s nicely balanced out with the coffee. It’s not one for the kiddos.

I couldn’t decide if I liked the cake better warmed up or at room temperature so I will say – warm it up and serve with cream and berries for dessert or dust the cake with icing sugar and serve at room temperature for a decadent afternoon treat.

The ingredients

Tennessee honey

I rather liked the shape of the bottle and the cute little bee on the label. I also thought I should try it on its own to get the full effect. That probably wasn’t a good idea for someone who hardly drinks. I had a tiny teaspoon of it and it nearly put hairs on my chest! I can see how it would be described as smooth and I’m sure it’s a treat for Jack Daniel’s fans.

Chocolate and coffee

There’s no starting off beating the butter and sugar in this recipe. It’s unlike any I’ve made before.

Start by placing the chocolate in a heat proof bowl (learn from my mistake nearly burning my hands on the stainless steel bowl) and pour over the hot coffee.

Leave it to sit for a few minutes and then gently whisk it until the chocolate is smooth.

Tennessee honey

Pour in the Tennessee honey and whisk it all together then set it aside.

Flour, sugar, bicarb and salt

Put the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat them together on low speed just until you think they’re mixed up.

Very soft butter

Add the butter to the bowl. It needs to be nice and soft. Id’ describe it as – as soft as it can be without starting to melt or lose its shape.

Beat it in on slow speed just until it has broken down and there are no more dry bits.

Eggs and vanilla

Add the eggs and vanilla and bet them through on low then crank up the speed to medium and beat it all together for one minute.

Scraping down the bowl and beaters

If you think it looks good enough to eat now just wait a couple more steps then you’ll really start drooling. Use a spatula to scrape down the paddle and the bowl.

Just a little bit of chocolate mixture

Add just a little bit of the chocolate mixture to the bowl. Don’t be tempted to ignore my warning and pour it all in or you’ll be cleaning chocolate from your ceiling.

Beat it in on the slowest speed. I needed to stop and start mine to stop is splashing. If you really want to be cautious and protect your kitchen, throw a tea towel over the whole thing to catch any splashed chocolate.

Adding the rest

Once the first bit it mixed in, continue adding a little at a time until it’s all mixed in then gradually increase the speed and mix it for another two minutes.

Try hard to resist

Now try and resist eating this. Let me just share a few of my tweets to Celia at this stage…

Clearly I couldn’t resist.

Ready for baking

Divide what’s left of the batter between two lined loaf tins. You could use a bundt tin instead but I like the extravagance of making two cakes at once. Bake the cakes at 150C fan-forced for 60-70 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.


Leave the cakes to rest in the tins for 10 minutes.


Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Slice it up

As I said, I’m not sure which way I liked eating it best but I would choose by the occasion and time of day. I assume the cake keeps well with its high alcohol content but I wouldn’t know. It didn’t last long. Enjoy!

Tennessee honey chocolate cake

What about you? Can you resist the batter? Are you a spirit drinker or eater?

Tennessee honey chocolate cake


Tennessee honey chocolate cake

Tennessee honey chocolate cake


  • 140g (5oz) dark chocolate, cut into small pieces or grated
  • 1½ cups hot brewed coffee
  • ½ cup Jack Danie's Tennessee Honey
  • 300g (10.5oz) plain AP flour
  • 440g (15.5oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), sifted
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 250g (9oz) butter, really soft
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C(302F) fan-forced.
  2. Grease and line two loaf tins and extend the paper up over the long sides of the tins to create handles.
  3. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and pour over the hot coffee. Leave it to sit for a couple of minutes and then whisk it until the chocolate melts into the coffee and it all becomes smooth.
  4. Add the Tennessee Honey and whisk it through.
  5. Put the sugar, flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat just to stir it all together.
  6. Add the soft butter and beat slowly just until there are no more dry bits of mixture.
  7. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat them through. Once they're mixed in, up the speed to medium and continue to beat for one minute.
  8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
  9. Add a little of the chocolate mixture and beat on the lowest speed possible until it is just mixed in. Continue to add the chocolate this way until it is all mixed in.
  10. Once it's mixed in, gradually increase the speed to medium and beat it for two minutes.
  11. Divide the batter between the two tins.
  12. Bake the cake for 60-70 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  13. Leave the cakes to rest in the tins for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


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