Jack & Coke Cake

So...I learned something. 

For the longest time - following one bad experience - I thought I hated whiskey in ANY and ALL forms. If asked I'd have said "it alllll tastes like paint thinner!!" Then, during a trip to Vegas, my husband ordered a Jack & Coke. I wrinkled my nose when he offered, but I tried it anyway.....


It was SO good! I 100% expected to hate it, and it's super easy to hate something you'd otherwise be neutral about if you go into it expecting it to be awful. 
Kicking around the idea of making a Jack & Coke cake....I was honestly really surprised by the lack of Pinterest pictures/ideas that popped up with a search, and decided I'd go with my frequently-used 'spill cake' design and see how it panned out. 
Here it is! 😉 

(Disclosure: As a way to keep my kitchen stocked with butter, sugar, and flour I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn a commission by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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Jack & Coke Cake Layers: 

This is a slightly-simplified layer cake recipe from ChelSweets.com - I highly recommend checking out her site and Instagram feed if you haven't before; it's amazing!! 

3 1/4 c.  all purpose flour
3 c.  granulated sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t.  salt
1 cup unsalted butter (or 2 sticks) room temperature
2 t. vanilla extract 
2 t. coca cola extract 
5 eggs 
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
¼ c Jack Daniels Whiskey
¼ c coca cola (I might let it come to room temperature and get flat; my cake layers sank a bit in the middle and I think that was part of the problem.)  
1/8 cup (28 grams) vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans (for taller layers) or three 8-inch cake pans with parchment rounds, and /or grease with non-stick or baker’s floured cooking spray.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in eggs and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix the Jack, Coke, coca cola extract, and vanilla into the buttermilk and pour the mixture into the dry ingredients in two installments, on a low speed. Add in oil and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

Divide batter evenly into pans – I find a kitchen scale helpful to make sure the amount of batter is even. This ensures that your cake layers will bake to the same height.

Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Once the layers have fully cooled, the caramelized bits can be trimmed from the sides / top of the cake using a serrated knife if desired. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart.

Jack & Coke Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
2-3 T Jack Daniels whiskey  
1-2 teaspoons coca cola extract 
1/4 t. salt
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with wine until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add salt and beat until well combined.

White Chocolate Ganache (for drip)
1/4 cup heavy cream (77 grams) 
1 Tablespoon Jack Daniels whiskey
1 cup white chocolate chips (175 grams)
1 squirt each brown and black gel food coloring 

Additional Supplies/Equipment:

- 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles) or an 8” acrylic cake disc (I started using these so I wouldn’t waste so many cake circles!)
- Medium-sized glass or biscuit cutter – to core your cake layers if you’d like 
- 2-3 bags Coke bottle gummies
- 1 bag of Glacier mints – these aren't commonly sold in the states as far as I can tell; I bought mine on Amazon.com. I don’t think these jive allllll that well with the taste profile of the cake, but they’re clear and they *look just like ice cubes!!* 
- 1 mini coke can, emptied
-3-4 mini / shooter Jack Daniels bottles - I used three on the cake and two bottle caps to decorate on the top; up to you how many you want to use! 
- 1 wood skewer
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, large offset spatula, and pastry cutter/bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! (Here’s a link to the cake turntable I use)

Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler.
If desired, use a glass or medium-sized biscuit cutter to remove center from two of the three cake layers. The un-cored one will be your final/top cake layer.

Place a smear of frosting under where the cake layer will be on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cored cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer and the inside of the cored center with frosting and fill the core with Coca Cola gummies (and Glacier mints, if you'd like).  Repeat the process with your middle cake layer(s) and add the last layer on top.

Now you're ready to crumb-coat. (If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like - a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer). 
Once your crumb coat has set (about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the freezer to set the frosting. 

Now you're all set to decorate the cake! Take your empty coke can (and an empty Jack Daniels shooter bottle, if you’d like) and press them into the cake upside down at an angle. I used a skewer inside the can to hold it in place for transport stability, but if you're not transporting the cake the skewer's likely not necessary. 

I used a dark-colored white chocolate ganache for this cake – I found my favorite white chocolate ganache recipe so far on ChelSweets.com! I did remove a tablespoon of whipping cream from the measuring cup to sub in some whiskey.

Color the ganache a deep coke-brown color – I ended up using a bit of black food coloring as well to get the deep brown shade that I wanted. A word of caution – I was a little too heavy-handed adding the black gel food coloring to my ganache, and it turned a much darker shade of brown/black than I was shooting for. It turned out okay, but it’s a good note. You can always add more; once it’s mixed in you can’t take it out.
Drizzle your ganache at the base of the can with a bottle, piping bag, or a spoon. Allow the glaze to run away from the can and down the side of the cake. It should set fairly quickly if your cake is well chilled.

Decorate to your liking – I used a couple more shooter bottles of Jack Daniels, several Coca cola gummies, and Glacier mints. Refrigerate until ready to eat - and enjoy! 

Make this recipe? Let me know  how it went - or find me on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo! 

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