Kahlua Chocolate Cake delivers rich chocolate flavor with warm Kahlua undertones. Two recipes included — a scratch recipe and a doctored box recipe. And if you’d like a cupcake version, check out these little Kahlua Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting.

The recipe for the first cake I remember baking, a Kahlua Chocolate Cake, comes from one of my mom’s closest friends.  My mom asked for the recipe the very first time she tasted Stephanie’s rich, addictive cake.

It’s one of those desserts that people fall in love as soon as the first bite hits their taste buds.  Without fail, every time I bake it, at least one person asks me for the recipe.

Before I started baking like a crazy person and experimenting with new recipes, I used to bake this cake at least once a week.  The frequency with which I made it must account for the fact that I’ve shared the recipe with most of my friends.

The thing that amazes almost everyone about the recipe — as it amazed me  — is the fact that the first ingredient listed is a box of devil’s food cake mix.

When you bake Stephanie’s famous cake, you simply ignore the directions on the back of the box, follow her directions, and end up with the most delicious, rich cake you can imagine.

In the spirit of ignoring directions, I wondered if I could modify one of my basic chocolate cake recipes to recreate Stephanie’s cake from scratch.

I started tinkering with a simple chocolate cake recipe, but the cake I produced just didn’t measure up to the flavor and texture of the original version.   As I reviewed Stephanie’s directions, I realized that I should have started with my trusted devil’s food cake recipe, since her recipe specifically identifies devil’s food as the box mix of choice.

A full bottle of Kahlua later, my melding of Stephanie’s and Foster’s Market’s Devil’s Food Cake recipes finally resulted in a moist, tender cake full of rich chocolate flavor and warm Kahlua undertones.  With a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this dessert may well rank as my favorite. Ever.

I fully admit that my scratch version veers far from the simplicity of Stephanie’s recipe, so I’ve included both so you can decide for yourself which route to take.

Either way, you can’t go wrong.





  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Kahlua
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • 1½ cups chocolate chips

Chocolate-Kahlua Ganache

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.
  2. Place chocolate in a double boiler and melt over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Set aside.
  3. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Pour Kahlua into a 2-cup glass measure with a pour spout. Spoon in sour cream until the Kahlua and sour cream reach the 2-cup line. Mix well and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until well blended. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate and stir to mix.
  6. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the sour cream-Kahlua mixture, to the egg-butter mixture. Stir until the dry ingredients are just moist and blended. Do not over mix.
  7. Stir in boiling water and mix until blended. Gently stir in chocolate chips.
  8. Scrape the batter into prepared bundt pan, smoothing the top to even out the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until the cake is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it.
  9. Remove from the oven and cool the cake for 30 minutes in the pan. Carefully turn the cake out onto a rack and cool completely.
  10. For the glaze, place dark chocolate in a 2-cup measuring glass with a pour spout. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour cream over the chocolate and let it sit without stirring for two minutes before mixing vigorously with a small spatula. Once the chocolate becomes smooth and glossy, add 1 tablespoon Kahlua and mix until smooth.
  11. Set the rack holding the cooled cake atop a baking sheet. Stir the ganache well before slowly drizzling the glaze over the cake. Allow the glaze to set for about 10 minutes before slicing.
  12. Serve cake slices at room temperature with scoops of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

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