You may have heard about the Tequila Aficionado Test Kitchen. I’d like to share one of our projects with you today.
When Ken Austin was kind enough to send us a bottle of Avion’s brand new Avion Espresso, I fell so deeply in love with this rich nectar that combined my two favorite things, coffee and tequila, that I knew I had to cook with it. Here’s how the Avion Espresso Cake panned out.
Making Avion Espresso Cake
I have personal issues with sugar so I started with the Pillsbury Sugar-Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix. You may want to use your favorite Devil’s Food Cake mix or mix yours from scratch.
I added the eggs, water and oil (I use extra light olive oil) according to the instructions on the box. Then I took a left turn and added the awesome. This wasn’t just going to be some chocolate cake with a tequila liqueur splashed on it.
So based on that logic, I added 2 heaping tablespoons of Hershey’s Extra Dark Cocoa Powder. I didn’t just want an everyday chocolate cake. This had to be intense enough to stand up to espresso.
I also wanted the cake to have some mocha punch to it, so I added 2 heaping tablespoons of instant coffee crystals. Enough to let you know it was in there but not so much it would be overpowering. Since this was going to be an adult dessert, I didn’t worry much about the level of sweetness in the cake. There would be frosting to balance out the strong coffee and dark chocolate.
I whisked everything together to form a smooth batter. You may prefer to use an electric mixer.
Then I poured it all into a 9×11″ baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray and baked the now mocha cake (or “double-moo-cow-chunk-chunk” as Mike likes to call it) according to the directions on the box. (Please don’t judge the oven. We’re working on a budget here and it does the job.)
When the cake had finished baking for the amount of time recommended on the box and tested done, we had a beautiful, dark mocha cake with a bit of a curve in the middle. The center part was cut off for aesthetics (and to allow the testers to be sure the cake was good).
It was important to do that while the cake was still hot because the next steps required the heat to complete.
I used a fork with long tines to poke holes through the whole cake from top to bottom. I didn’t want to destroy the structural integrity of the cake so I kept the holes about 1/2 inch apart.
Then I carefully measured 1/4 cup of Avion Espresso and poured it (as evenly as possible) over the warm mocha cake. I may have also had a nip or two while the bottle was uncorked. I welcome you to try this method as you may find this makes cooking more enjoyable.
After adding the Avion Espresso and while the cake was still hot out of the oven, I microwaved a jar of Pillsbury Sugar-Free Chocolate Frosting for 30 seconds (just enough to soften it) and then slathered half the jar over the still hot cake. (What you do with the rest of the frosting is your business. I don’t judge.)
With the cake properly doused with Avion Espresso and the tequila goodness sealed in with a generous layer of melted chocolate frosting, it was time to take a break. The cake went into the refrigerator (uncovered) for several hours in order for it to cool and allow the frosting to set into a dark ganache (like fudge).
Four hours later, we pulled the cake out of the refrigerator and it had set beautifully. We cut it into 12 pieces and served it up.
Notice the dark line near the bottom of the cake – that’s where the Avion Espresso Tequila Liqueur settled after filtering through from the top of the cake. (We also found the corners to be rich with the liqueur.)
It was delicious!
We’ll share our thoughts during the actual tasting of this cake, as well as a comparison with a chocolate cake made commercially with Patron XO Cafe, in our Tequila Test Kitchen tasting session coming soon.
Check out our Recipes Page to stay up to date on what’s going on in the Tequila Test Kitchen.
The opinions expressed here are those of Lisa Pietsch and not necessarily those of Mike Morales, Alex Perez, or any other contributors at Tequila Aficionado Media. Tequila Aficionado and its representatives never accept payment for Test Kitchen features. If we like your juice, we’ll play with it. If we make something great, we’ll share it, and we welcome you to share it as well. The Avion Espresso used in this recipe was received as a free sample courtesy of Avion Tequila. Thanks, Ken!