Cooking in Pajamas

Stories and Musings from Wayfaring Adventurers and Aspiring Home Cooks.






Hello and welcome!

We're Sumu &Anu.

We've known each other pretty much forever, and this blog is our way of documenting our culinary exploits, and some non-culinary exploits as well. We're not always on the same page, or in the same state, or even on the same continent, but two things are generally true:

At least one of us is not paying attention

At least one of us is wearing her pajamas

All Hail the Ever Glorious Boozy Chocolate Cake




  • 1 cups (355ml) boiling water
  • 1/2 cup whiskey*
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 4 and 1/2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (355g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 and 3/4 cup (550g) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (100g) dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs*
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) buttermilk*
  • 3/4 cup (175ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Boozy Mocha Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting (Outside)

  1. 8oz package cream cheese, cold.
  2. 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
  3. 1 cup granulated sugar (Can reduce to 3/4 if you prefer less sweet)
  4. 1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
  5. 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 1-2 shots kahlua (optional - you will probably have to add more cocoa powder to fix the consistency)

Chocolate Ganache (Inside)

  • 7 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cups (150ml) heavy cream


Make the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and grease with butter or nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the boiling water, whiskey, espresso powder, and semi-sweet chocolate until chocolate has dissolved and mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until combined.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Add the cooled espresso-chocolate mixture, stirring until just combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the three pans and bake in the oven for around 25 minutes. Since every oven is different, I would recommend pulling the cake out of the oven when it passes the "jiggle test", which is when the center of the cake just barely jiggles and the rest of the cake does not. I've found that to be the best indicator for the moistest chocolate cake!
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Make the Ganache

  1. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the heavy cream in a large glass measuring cup and heat in the microwave until it starts to boil. Remove, pour over the chocolate, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir ganache until smooth.
  2. Allow ganache to cool to desired thickness before frosting the cake. You can also refrigerate the ganache, stirring occasionally until it’s thick enough.

Make the Frosting

  1. Mix the kahlua and all the cream together.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the cocoa powder with a couple spoonfuls of the kahlua cream until it forms a creamy paste. Put the rest of the cream in the refrigerator to stay cold while you move on to the next step.
  3. Add the cold cream cheese to the bowl with the cocoa paste and beat it with an electric mixer to soften it up and to begin to incorporate it with the cocoa, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the sugar, salt and vanilla and continue beating until fully combined. Check a small bit between your fingers to insure sugar crystals have "melted" into the mixture so there is no grittiness. Don't over beat at this step. Just mix until fully combined. If you over beat, the mixture will become too loose. Don't worry about checking for grittiness. When you add the cream, the sugar crystals will dissolve.
  5. Slowly drizzle the kahlua cream down the side of the bowl while continuing to beat the mixture. This will help reduce splashing. Beat until the mixture is fully combined and has formed stiff peaks.
  6. Use immediately for frosting, piping or filling. Store leftovers and whatever you've frosted or filled in the refrigerator.

To Assemble

  1. Level your cake layers first if necessary (if there is any sort of domed top, you want to trim that off with a serrated knife). Place one layer, bottom side up, on a cake stand or serving platter (on a piece of parchment if you will need to move it). Spread about 1 cup of ganache in an even layer, then place second layer on top, flat side up, pressing gently to adhere.
  2. Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of the mocha whipped cream cheese frosting using an offset spatula. This “crumb coat” will seal in the cake crumbs and make the final layer of frosting easier. If your cakes were frozen this should firm up pretty quickly, otherwise refrigerate for about 10 minutes to set.
  3. Slather with remaining mocha frosting in a thick layer, reserving some for piping decorative details if desired.


  • Adjust the amount of whiskey to your liking. You can also replace whiskey with kahlua, baileys, brandy, etc. Whatever floats your boat. Just make sure that the total amount of liquid in the chocolate espresso mix is 1.5 cups.
  • Vegan Replacements: Vegan Butter, Oil for Eggs
  • Don't have buttermilk? Try these alternatives.

Like videos? We posted a similar version of this cake on Instagram and Youtube!

Cooking In Pajamas on Instagram: “#cookinginpjs . . . . . . . . #sf #sffoodie #sffood #eatersf #bestfoodsf #infatuationsf #bayareaeats #sfeats #bestfoodbayarea #foodcoma…”
30 Likes, 0 Comments - Cooking In Pajamas (@cookinginpjs) on Instagram: “#cookinginpjs . . . . . . . . #sf #sffoodie #sffood #eatersf #bestfoodsf #infatuationsf…”