We get our hooch from a friend in the next county: Ol’ Chuck Miller, the first moonshine to go legal in the commonwealth of Virginia. Known around these parts as Virginia lightening, moonshine is high-proof, high-intensity corn-distilled whiskey that can send you over the edge if you don’t watch out. Luckily, moonshine isn’t as overpowering when you bake with it, and I wanted to offer up some kind of hooch cake as a Virginia treat. Its vanilla-like flavor pairs well with chocolate, and the orange zest and nutmeg complement both. Moonshine is available in most liquor stores; don’t be tempted by any flavored varieties.
— Brian Noyes
Excepted from Red Truck Bakery Cookbook, by Brian Noyes © 2018. Published by Clarkson Potter Publishers. Photos © 2018 by Andrew Thomas Lee.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
- 2-1/2 teaspoons instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- Heaping 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips melted
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1/4 cup moonshine
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, pudding mix, and cocoa powder.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the canola oil and eggs and beat until smooth.
- In a medium bowl, whisk half the melted chocolate chips and the buttermilk until well blended. Whisk in the moonshine, rum, orange zest, and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water until smooth.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour; beat on medium speed until just blended and smooth after each addition.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 45 minutes, turning the pan after 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely, then turn the cake out of the pan onto a cake platter or plate.
- Drizzle the remaining 1/2 cup melted chocolate over the top of the cake (reheat it briefly if it has set too much to drizzle), letting it run down the sides.
Becky Bartlett says
This cake was delicious! I’m wondering what I should expect about it rising. I’m at high altitude in Colorado and my cake was quite flat and dense. I don’t believe it affected the amazing flavor at all, but I felt that maybe an adjustment for our elevation would have some impact. Any suggestions?
Robyn Doyon-Aitken says
I’m glad the cake was delicious. King Arthur Flour has a good guide for high-altitude baking.