Boca Negra - or chocolate bourbon pudding cake

2.19.2013



The second part of the title is my personal experience with the recipe. It ended up being a pudding cake, or spoon cake or similar. Dark chocolate meets bourbon meets underbaking and finally goes to rest on a spoon. The recipe says to unmold it while hot and eat it warm if possible. So I did.

We´re baking Boca Negra, from the book Baking with Julia. Our host today is Cathy of A Frederick Food Garden, where you´ll find the whole recipe.


First of all, you should know that bourbon makes my baking world go round, and this has quite a lot of it. 
So I don´t mind at all that it was more a mousse than a pie or cake or whatever the picture in the book told me. I not only baked it exactly as it said, but I measured the pan also. Because the recipe says bake 30 minutes and unmold. Well, I don´t like that kind of directions, they are not clear. Like using the juice of 4 oranges. What size of oranges? How much juice should it be? This was pretty much the same, hence the underbaking. 

So it follows that when I tried to cut it, it completely fell apart, puddle-like, and after trying three times, to make one miserable `slice´ land on a plate with a barely reasonable shape that would allow me to take a picture, I gave up, piled it in my yellow ramekins, the ones I use for puddings like this coconut tapioca pudding, took the goddamn pictures and ate one. This is good stuff.


The first step reminded me of the Nemesis chocolate cake, boiling syrup poured over dark chocolate, whisk it and you have a wonderful ganache to which butter, a lot, is added.

And when I looked at my recipe, ripped from a newspaper at least 15 years ago, of the famous cake, guess what I found out? It IS my beloved nemesis cake, the fantastic chocolate cake from the famous River Cafe in London. The only difference is that it has some bourbon instead of all water. 


And what? You never heard of the nemesis cake? Go and google it right now. I´ll wait here. What? You never even heard of the River Cafe? Well then, let´s talk about the pudding cake.

Again, I have to tell you I adore bourbon in my kitchen, and I actually don´t drink it. So if I tell you that it was a bit much, that the flavor was somewhat overpowering, you draw your own conclusions.
Whatever the name, this is a cake to make and a recipe to keep. But next time, I´ll change the booze, maybe cointreau or frangelico.


The white chocolate cream was too thick. Too much chocolate and not enough cream. I warmed it a few seconds in the microwave for the pictures. 
The directions say to make it one day before the cake and refrigerate it. I didn´t read the whole thing through so I made it right before I started with the cake. By the time it was done, or in my case underbaked, the white chocolate cream had solidified and it was like cold peanut butter. So why would it need to be made a day earlier?
In the end, despite the many questions that didn´t have an answer, this is the cake to make if you love dark chocolate. I´d use less alcohol or coffee next time.

I took the boca negra, in a plastic container, to a friend´s house and we ate it cold. I had also made another dulce de leche mille feuille, because I thought the boca negra would be a total mess. But no, it was amazing cold with the white chocolate cream on top. So we ended up having two decadent desserts to choose from. Poor us.






39 comments:

  1. Aw that's too bad that you didn't have such an easy time with this cake. I guess I had beginner's luck. Loved it and will definitely make it again to check that it wasn't beginner's uck amngst other things. I didn't use bourbon, hate the stuff, I went for Cointreau and it was lovely and subtle. Agree that the white choc cream was unnecessary - regular pouring cream would have been fine with this too.

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  2. I'm glad to know I wasn't alone in the pudding like consistency. Mine needed 10-15 more minutes, but only gave it 5. I like the way you rescued your dish and presented it beautifully in your dishes. And my cream was runny...too funny how we all experienced this one differently...what the heck was going on????

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  3. That looks absolutely amazing! Wow!

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  4. I'm sorry it didn't set up for you, but it sure looks pretty terrific the way you served it. I wasn't sure that I would like it with bourbon, but after reading your post I am going to have to try it the next time I make this.

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  5. oh.. a pity it did not 'set'.. but this is cake is so decadently good..it tastes good in whatever form!!

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  6. I love your honesty, Paula. Looks delicious anyway. :)

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  7. Yup, mine was a pudding cake too. I'm afraid I didn't like it though. Much too rich for me! And too boozy too, though I've been known to bake with bourbon before this. Guess it just wasn't my style. Nice work with it, Paula! (And sadly, though I have heard of the River Cafe, I've never heard of a Nemesis Cake. The title certainly does fit!)

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  8. I think it looks charming in the ramekins. Oh no! Two desserts to pull from - the horror :-)

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  9. You are not alone- I would have had the same results, but I baked mine 15 minutes more. I also used Frangelico and I could hardly taste it- I guess I won't experiment with the bourbon. I did love the chocolate cake but not the cream, not a fan of white chocolate.
    You saved the recipe anyway- yours looks delicious. Can't go wrong with chocolate.

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  10. Waste not want not! You saved it and even got to share it with a friend. Thanks for all the tips.

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  11. Paula, your presentation is cute and wonderful and looks delicious - I love the orange-colored serving dishes, they go so well with the Boca Negra`s dark chocolaty color! Who cares about un-molding properly, this is the way to serve it!
    Have a great Tuesday!

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  12. I love your serving dishes...thanks for sharing the tips and all the rough experiences with this pudding cake.

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  13. I baked mine for 40 minutes because it was nearly liquid at 30 minutes. I like precise instructions, but ovens vary too much not to give other indications of doneness.

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  14. This would be delicious no matter how you serve it! I guess I lucked out on being an ounce short of white chocolate. My cream was on the soft side. I pine for the single serving dishes - just love them - no room to store them however. Your puddings look great!

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  15. Oh, I love your individual serving dishes!

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  16. so glad you were able to still enjoy this. looks fabuluously yummy, even if it didn't set up properly. i've never made the true nemesis cake, but have heard a lot about it...how funny that these are pretty much the same.

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  17. I got a pudding like consistency as well, and just put it into the fridge to harden up. Your serving bowls are cute!

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  18. Sorry to hear that it didn't turn out as you expected, but we are sure it tasted delicious anyway. Your photos are beautiful.

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  19. Scooping with a spoon makes for a mighty fine chocolate dessert! Send the leftovers my way!

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  20. Oh Paula…sorry about your cake…however you had me laughing about taking the photo! Been there many times! The taste is all that counts…and it was an amazing dessert!
    I actually did a post about Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers while blogging about the Fifty Women Game Changers chosen by Gourmet Magazine. And I own two of their cookbooks. Very talented ladies!

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  21. It still looks awesome in pudding form!! Great pics of it. I'm glad it still tasted good, and I think it looks wonderful in those bowls. I kept mine in the oven for an extra 20 minutes, as there was no way it was done in 30. And I'm glad I did. I don't like that kind of direction, as everyone's oven is different and bakes at different times.

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  22. Great images! Your cake looks just like mine. Good job!

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  23. This looks like the best under-baking situation ever! It's making my mouth water, seriously! I too was a little frustrated with the exactly 30 minutes thing.....how many times have we heard and witnessed that all ovens are not equal. I would have also liked a better description of what I was looking for when it was 'done'. But that's partly my fault too since I decided to make mini-cakes and my baking time would be different. Ah well, this looks delicious.

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  24. Lucky you and your friend. Oh my goodness...I'm wiping the drool just reading your description of this fantastic cake that looks like a huge success to me:)

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  25. Frangelico and I became fast friends on a previous recipe from TWD -- maybe the biscotti? What a terrific idea. Thanks.

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  26. Paula, are you serious? I really wish we weren't so far apart, I'd love to come have dessert with you. My goodness this looks like heaven and is just gorgeous!! Yum!

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  27. I love bourbon! Pass over a fork, this is my kind of cake!

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  28. Nice save Paula! Pretty damn amazing photos for a kitchen "fail." Beautiful post. Enjoyed reading every word.

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  29. there are so many wonderful things in this post paula, it's why i love reading you! recipes not working (i can identify with you there), a link to a gooey chocolate cake i have to try. i always use frangelico or tia maria in my chocolate cakes and brownies, even if they say water! and i too loathe it when a recipe says 'juice of 4 oranges' - what of you have big oranges? or dry oranges? they should give measurements as well. then again, if they say, half a cup of orange juice, i have no idea how many oranges to buy ... what if my oranges are big, or dry?... we are never satisfied! thanks paula! XX

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  30. yay looks tempting to me! Bourbon, chocolate.. with a bit cream on top..luxurious

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  31. Your photos are truly amazing.

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  32. All of your tips on how you would change the recipe to make it not only workable but better are very helpful.

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  33. Alcoholic chocolate - we've reached heaven!! :-D

    Love the photos... looks like that spooned sweetness is about to come to mah belly!

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  34. Your ramekins are adorable and looks like it was a great solution to under baking (I had the same issue). Lovely photos!

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  35. Grab me a spoon because I want this in my face right now! Pretty certain I will be under-baking this so I can spoon my way to bourbon chocolate bliss.

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  36. There's nothing wrong with bourbon chocolate pudding! It looks wonderful, but I am sorry it didn't turn out the way you would have liked.

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  37. Sometimes, the prettiest and most perfect pastries are the most boring! For me it is all about the taste and this seems like it will taste amazing at my table! ~ David

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  38. How in the heck did I miss this amazing post?! I can relate to all the angst you had in the kitchen over this recipe. But seriously - it turned out beautifully! I think it looks awesome scooped into your adorable little containers. Remember how I was lamenting in a post about how my cakes never look as perfect as they do on other blogs and you told me you were suspicious of perfect-looking desserts? I agree full heartedly - it's always be luscious, dripping, melting, ooey gooey desserts that are the best. And hells yeah to bourbon!

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  39. Simply delicious! I will give this recipe a try soon. I am sure it is a HIT!!

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