Chocolate Kahlua Christmas Tree Cakes– moist chocolate cake soaked in Kahlua drizzled with a white chocolate Kahlua glaze.
I was in my favorite thrift shop a few weeks ago when I found a cast iron Christmas tree “mold”. I love cast iron pans and it was on sale to boot so I had to get it. It was a little rusty so I cleaned it up and seasoned it with a little olive oil in a hot oven.
Infusing cakes with alcohol is an old Christmas tradition. Traditional fruit cakes are soaked in brandy and fermented for months. So are Christmas puddings. The alcohol preserves the cake and adds some moisture.
Since I’d found an antique mold, I thought it might make an old-fashioned cake with it. I also had some Coffee Nut M&M’s left over from making Mocha Caramel Popcorn Bark. I thought why not make Chocolate Kahlua Christmas Tree Cakes and decorate them with my Coffee Nut M&M’s?
This cake is light and readily soaks up alcohol but if you add too much, it becomes pudding like. How do I know? Let’s just say the first batch was a bit too soft after I added the Kahlua. If you arrange the cooled cakes on the serving platter before drizzling the Kahlua on top, then you can let them dry out overnight if they’re a little too soggy.
Chocolate Christmas Tree Cakes can be other shapes of course. Each of my molds holds about 1/4 cup batter so the recipe made 1 dozen. You can use other shapes (or even cupcakes) if you like.
I used Santa Barbara Chocolate Black Cocoa to get the dark chocolate flavor in my cakes. Black cocoa makes your baked goods taste like oreos. It’s also a bit drying so you add a little more fat (or in this case alcohol) to balance things. Other types of cocoa powder are fine. You just won’t end up with such dark chocolate.
I topped my Chocolate Christmas Tree Cakes with a white chocolate Kahlua ganache. The Kahlua and white chocolate are pretty sweet together so I actually started with dark chocolate but it doesn’t contrast with the cakes at all. Milk chocolate also works and gives a slight contrast. If you substitute milk chocolate for the white chocolate in the ganache, you’ll get a caramel flavor. I refrigerated mine, scooped it into balls and used it for truffle filling.
- ¾ cup flour
- ¾ cup light brown sugar (loosely packed)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup cocoa (I used Santa Barbara Chocolate Rainforest Black Cocoa Powder to get really dark chocolate)
- ¼ cup chocolate pudding mix (or chocolate custard mix)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup Kahlua
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ - 1 cup Kahlua for drizzling
White Chocolate Kahlua Ganache
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly brush your pans with cooking oil.
- Cream together butter and sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend for 2 minutes on medium speed.
- Fill pans 4/5 full (I used about ¼ cup for each of my cakes) and bake for 10 -15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool until lukewarm before removing the cakes from the pan (about 5 minutes). Cool completely. Arrange cakes on serving platter.
- Slowly drizzle Kahlua over the cakes a few teaspoons at a time so that the syrup soaks in. Cover with saran wrap and let sit overnight. 1 tablespoon per cake is enough but you can go to 2 tablespoons. If you go with the larger amount, the cakes will be soggy and you'll need to store uncovered to let some of the alcohol evaporate.
White Chocolate Kahlua Ganache
- Put white chocolate and heavy cream in a microwave proof bowl and heat for 15 seconds. Stir and heat again for 15 seconds. Repeat until chocolate just melts.
- Stir in Kahlua. Drizzle on cakes.
- Garnish with Coffee Nut M&Ms if desired.