Chocolate Cherry Cake with Scotch & Smoked Sea Salt Butterscotch

September 2013

Scotch is a drink for sipping amidst conversations that transpire behind large, foreboding, wooden doors. The smoky smell conjures old-fashioned parlors, cigars, rich leathers, brassy cocktail carts, marble accented bars of cherry wood, tactile walpapers and dimly lit glass fixtures.

Scotch Cake

When it comes time to make a birthday cake for the Scotch drinker in your life, with its rich, dark chocolate, a smoky sea salt accent, sweet cherries and toasted pecans drizzled in smoky butterscotch, this is the cake…

Scotch Caramel Spoon

In my pursuit to send some cake home with the birthday boy and keep some for myself, I made one shallower 9-inch cake (shown above) and a taller 6-inch cake for myself. Can’t blame a girl for wanting more of this rich, smoky dessert! If you want to make a layer cake, use three 8-inch cake pans.

Chocolate Cherry Cake with Smoked Sea Salt


1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, not dutch processed
1 1/4 cup hot water

2 2/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3 cups organic, packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon Yakima Applewood Smoked Sea Salt

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large, organic eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup coffee, at room temperature

8 ounces sweet cherries, pitted and sliced into small pieces
Toasted pecans for garnishing & serving


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter springform cake pans according to the sizes you choose (see note above). Set aside.

Put the cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Add the hot water and stir until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.

Add the butter and dissolved cocoa and beat on medium speed until moistened. Then raise the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the vanilla and coffee until combined.

Add the liquid to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the side of the bowl often. Fold in the chopped cherries. Divide the batter between the 3 prepared cake pans.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely before removing from the springform pans.

To serve, drizzle with Scotchy butterscotch (recipe follows) and garnish with toasted pecans and a fresh cherry.

One Slice Scotch Cake

Scotch & Smoked Sea Salt Butterscotch


1 1/2 cups organic, packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter
1 teaspoon Yakima Applewood Smoked Sea Salt

3/4 cup local heavy cream

4 Tablespoons Scotch
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, salt and 1/4 cup of water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar dissolves completely, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the cream and continue to simmer until the sauce is thick and syrupy, about 12 minutes.

Stir in the whiskey and vanilla extract, simmer for 3 minutes more and remove from the heat.

Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature, about 40 minutes, then transfer it to 2 clean half-pint jars.

The sauce will keep for 1-2 months in the refrigerator.

Scotch Cake with Scotch Caramel

Bon Appétit & Santé!


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