Decadent Boca Negra Chocolate Cake

by Hilary Gauntt on September 7, 2013

My friend Marilyn Willison lives on the other side of the country in West Palm Beach Florida, and I have been saving her fabulous recipe for a number of years; planning on posting it when I have just returned from visiting her.  Maybe if I give in and post it now, I’ll actually get back there! This is a rich, special occasion, almost flourless cake that will satisfy your most chocoholic friends. The bit of bourbon adds a subtle flavor that will have people guessing. As Marilyn puts it “In my opinion, drugs and alcohol simply can’t compete with the allure of coffee and chocolate”.

But let me tell you a bit about my heroic friend….if anyone is a shining example of handling the tribulations that life throws your way with grace and humor, she is it.  As a young mother, she loved horse back riding and ballet, and was the Health and Fitness editor of the Los Angeles Times. Then off to London where she interviewed celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn and Paul McCartney for the Sunday Times of London and numerous other publications.  It’s been almost 30 years since Multiple Sclerosis changed the course of her life, but she is still going full steam ahead.  “When Your Life Includes a Wheelchair” is the title of one of her six books, and these days she requires assistance for the most simple functions most of us take for granted. Her latest book available on Amazon is called “The Self-Empowered Woman” which has inspired her blog of the same name . Do check it out at  for fascinating accounts of the world’s most interesting women.  I would suggest her next post should be autobiographical!

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 1/3 cups sugar, divided

1/2 cup bourbon

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces, room temperature

5 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 Tbs. flour

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly butter a 9 inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper, butter the paper.  Put the cake pan in a shallow roasting pan and set aside.

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside.

In a 2 quart saucepan, mix one cup of the sugar and the bourbon; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a full boil. Immediately pour the hot syrup over the chopped chocolate and stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.  Piece by piece, stir the butter into the chocolate mixture, making certain that each piece of butter is melted before you add another.

Put the eggs and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a medium bowl; whisk until the eggs thicken slightly.  Beating with the whisk, add the eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until blended.  Gently whisk in the flour.

Note: If you want to make the cake batter in a food processor, put the chocolate in the work bowl of the processor.  Bring all of the sugar and the bourbon to a full boil,, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved; pour the syrup into the processor work bowl; process until the mixture is completely blended, about 12 seconds.  With the machine running, add the butter in pieces, followed by the eggs, one at a time, and then the flour.  Process an additional 15 seconds before turning the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, running your spatula over the top to smooth it.  Carefully pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come about 1 inch up the side of the cake pan.

Bake the cake for exactly 30 minutes, at which point the top will have a thin, dry crust.  Remove from oven and remove the cake pan from its water bath; wipe the pan dry and cover the top of the cake with a sheet of plastic wrap.  Invert the cake onto a flat plate, peel off the parchment and quickly but gently invert again onto a serving platter, remove the plastic wrap..

Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.

Once cooled, the cake can be covered with plastic and kept at room temperature for 1 day or refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving. For longer storage, wrap the cake airtight and freeze it; it will keep up to a month.  Thaw overnight, still wrapped, in the refrigerator.    Serves 12.

Note: Good quality chocolate is important. I used Ghirardelli Bittersweet Premium baking bar, 60% Cacao. Small slices are all you need, as this cake has the consistency of a truffle.


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