Black Russian Cake with Boozy Kahlua Toffee Glaze

It’s inevitable that this time of year feels so busy, isn’t it? Between last-minute shopping, gift-wrapping, making time for merriment with friends and family, and so on, I think everyone could use more time in each day. Enter this amazing cake recipe, courtesy of my BFF in LA, Amanda. I’ve been hearing about her “Kahlua Cake” for years, and with a holiday dinner party to host, I finally bugged her for the recipe. I expected it to be scrumptious (which it was). I didn’t expect it to be so easy!

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I love holiday baking, and generally make things from scratch, but the hectic holidays welcome a shortcut or two. This recipe basically gussies up a boxed cake recipe and adds some extra fun and flavor in the form of Kahlua and vodka. So technically, it’s a Black Russian cake (Mom, this one’s for you!). The process is simple: combine every ingredient on the list in one bowl, pour it into a pan, and bake it!

First came a standard box of yellow cake mix. Next came ¾ of a box of chocolate pudding mix. Toss in some vegetable oil, some eggs, and a little bit of water. Add some booze! Whirrrrrr it together with your hand mixer and you’re DONE.

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For some added flavor, I tossed some toffee bits in a teeny bit of flour before folding them into the cake mix. (By coating them with flour, they stay suspended in the cake mix while it bakes instead of sinking to one layer at the bottom of the pan.) I poured the whole shebang into a greased Bundt pan and baked it for almost an hour. I couldn’t believe how easy it was.

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After the cake had cooled, I flipped it over onto my cake stand. Amanda dusts her version with a sprinkling of powdered sugar (yum). I decided to up the ante for my dinner party with a Kahlua-spiked glaze! I blended together some mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, and Kahlua. I added a splash of milk to thin it out to the consistency that I wanted: drizzleable. (Is that a word?)

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I gently spooned it along the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides however it liked. Do your thing, boozy glaze! As a final touch, I sprinkled more toffee bits into the wet frosting to set. It looked beautiful, and totally appropriate for a holiday dinner party.

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Our little gathering was a blast. It was a potluck of sorts, with one couple bringing elk tenderloin to prepare at our house and another bringing mashed potatoes and a big green salad. I made a tasty new appetizer involving fig jam, apple, and brie cheese baked in puff pastry and also put  together a big charcuterie board. I baked some tasty espresso chocolate chunk and cranberry cookies to send home with our guests. The kitchen was chaos for a while, with the boys on one side of the island (prepping dinner) and the ladies on the other side (munching snacks). Dinner was scrumptious, and there might have been some jealousy over my elastic high-waisted maternity pants.

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Oh, and the CAKE!! How did it taste, you ask? It was a huge hit. Every single person around the table remarked at how utterly moist and delicious it was! I served the cake in big slices with ice cream on the side. The alcohol in the cake itself cooks off so it’s kid-friendly, but you can taste the richness from the liqueur. The toffee inside and on top of the cake was a crunchy surprise and the adults-only glaze made it feel like a party. I sent our guests home with big servings to enjoy later!

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The problem? Even with six of us, there was still almost half of a cake left, which made it far too easy to have cake for breakfast the next day…and the next!

Now, if only I could find a decent shortcut for the rest of my holiday to-do list…

Black Russian Cake with Toffee Bits

You’ll need:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 box chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup Kahlua
  • ¼ vodka
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup of toffee bits (tossed in a smidge of flour)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a Bundt pan generously with non-stick baking spray. Combine all ingredients through eggs in a medium bowl. Fold in the toffee bits and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Cool completely before inverting onto a plate or cake stand. Sprinkle with powdered sugar…or drizzle with boozy glaze (recipe below).

Boozy Kahlua Toffee Glaze

You’ll need:

  • 3 ounces mascarpone cheese at room temperature
  • Generous 1/8 cup Kahlua
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • Milk (or more Kahlua) as needed for consistency
  • Sprinkling of toffee bits

Whisk cheese, Kahlua, and sugar together until well combined. Add milk or more Kahlua if the consistency is too thick to drizzle onto the cake. Drizzle as much as you like on the top of your Black Russian Cake, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides. Sprinkle toffee bits onto the cake while the glaze is still wet to set. Serve with scoops of ice cream and holiday cheer. YUM.

Hungry for more? Check out the collection of recipes on the FOOD BLISS page!

The New 52: A recipe for each week in 2015 (almost). 


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