Chocolate Bourbon Pound Cake

I thought this post was long overdue. I mean, I made this cake on Christmas Eve. But thankfully, although I wish the photos were better, this post works equally as well for Valentine’s Day. So here’s the story….


Let me start by telling you that this cake is a Pinciotti (my mom’s side of the family) recipe. It’s a holiday favorite and one of the best recipes we’ve all passed along to each other.  I decided to bake this cake for the first time this Christmas, and was the first cousin or next generation to do so. While this cake is one of our heirlooms (and really, food is an heirloom in this family), I heard that it’s a tricky recipe and doesn’t always cooperate. My Aunt Lisanne sent me the recipe with her meticulous notes on each step. My mom watched over my shoulder as I prepared everything, even though I think she knew the cake was in good hands. I first used the wrong kind of pan (only use a bundt pan friends!) and we all gasped as we watched some of the deep chocolate batter spill all over the kitchen floor on the way to the oven. Of course something went wrong! But we quickly fixed it, and we waited the long hour and half while it baked. As that time passed, the other sights and smells of Christmas flooded in and out of the kitchen. But after a while, the cake was the only star in the room. The rich chocolate boosted by the coffee and bourbon wafted through our whole house. Ah, now it’s Christmas. Now it’s family time. And then to everyone’s surprise, the cake came out looking perfect too. Really, everyone commented on how surprised they were on how it came out. I sent the following photo to my Aunt Rosemary with a proud “look how perfect it looks!” message attached.


Cutting into the cake was no disappointment either. I’m a chocolate cake snob, but this one is by far the best recipe there is. This cake is heavenly, especially topped with a dollop of freshly made whipped cream. Thank goodness the next day was Christmas and we didn’t feel guilty eating leftovers for breakfast (along with prosecco of course – that’s how we Italians do Christmas morning I guess.)


Ok fast forward two months to today. You’re looking for something sweet to make for Valentine’s Day. Here you go. Bonus points that it includes the sexy combination of chocolate, coffee and bourbon. (I know my Valentine will appreciate that!)

If you try this cake, take care of this recipe. It means a lot to us. Savor it. Share it with people you love. It will mean a lot to you too.


Chocolate Bourbon Pound Cake

  • 3 cups brewed espresso (or dark french roast)
  • 1 cup bourbon (No need to spend money on a good one)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 lb unsalted butter
  • 12 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbs vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 Tbs baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Butter a 10-inch bundt pan. Dust with cocoa powder (not flour).
  3. In a large bowl, mix espresso/coffee, bourbon and sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a double boiler:, melt the chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth
  5. Add coffee mixture to chocolate mixture. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, beat eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  7. Combine coffee/chocolate mixture with egg mixture.
  8. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
  9. Slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and mix well.
  10. Pour into the prepared (greased and cocoa dusted) pan.
  11. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. When it is ready, the top will rise dramatically and almost look overcooked and the edges pull away from the pan a bit. (If it comes out sloppy, it isn’t done.)
  12. Cool at least 30 minutes in the pan.
  13. Turn the cake onto a wire rack or serving plate.
  14. Dust with powdered sugar when ready to serve. Serve also with freshly made whipped cream.

4 thoughts on “Chocolate Bourbon Pound Cake

  1. Alejandra

    Beautiful post…I totally know the feeling of food + family = Christmas (hence my Mom’s taco post). Thanks for sharing the recipe! It’s totally on my to-do list.

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  3. Rosemary

    Dear Nikki,
    My recipe for this amazing cake is in one of my 20 kitchen boxes waiting to be unboxed once my kitchen is done. I am going to make it and bring it to the OBX. I don’t every remember reading this blog but it brought tears to my eyes as I think about how food unites us all and yes, especially in our family. Great description, great cake, great family!

    Can’t wait to see you,
    Aunt Rosemary

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