The One Where Betty Crocker Meets Jim Beam: Chocolate Whiskey Cake

Chocolate Whiskey Cake, Two Ways

My nickname for this cake? The Crocker-Beam Union Cake. As my husband’s cousin says, “It’s a marriage made in heaven.”

Then again Betty would probably do just as well with Johnny Walker, perhaps making a better name for this “Wanton Woman Cake.”

Okay, okay… lest any corporate types get their knickers in a twist, we’ll stick with the more pedestrian sounding Chocolate Whiskey Cake.

This is a family recipe that uses commercial cake mix. My mother says that the original recipe also called for homemade chocolate icing with another 2 Tbsp. of whiskey.

Yeah, um, I’m gonna skip that because of the kid and all. The alcohol may evaporate out of the cake, but it ain’t going anywhere in the frosting. But y’all go right ahead and try that if you want and report back.

You can certainly experiment adding the 2 Tbsp. of alcohol to your own chocolate cake recipe. I thought about trying to create my own from-scratch recipe–and I may still do that (Update: even better, I shared a recipe for Chocolate Peppermint Mayo Cake that’s divine! You cna take out the ‘mint and use the whiskey)–but there’s something to be said for honoring the history of the American kitchen, Betty Crocker and all.

Speaking of which, my friend Amy Alexander wrote a book of poems called “Finding Betty Crocker.” I know a couple of people who could write odes to Jim Beam, but their stuff’s not really fit and proper for a family-themed blog.


1 package Betty Crocker Super Moist Butter Recipe Chocolate Cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. whiskey
1 tsp. baking soda (Correction: Mom now says “baking powder,” not soda. But either will really work.)


Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom only of pans or prepare cupcake liners in muffin pan. Prepare cake according to package directions, adding whiskey and baking soda prior to mixing.

Bake per package directions. I still use the toothpick test; one inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean when the cake is done.

Cool completely and frost. For the frosted cake, I used two cans of Betty Crocker’s Whipped Chocolate Frosting. The other has a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar. Which works best is a matter of taste, but making two cakes from one mix–one to keep and one to share–is always nice.

Ingredient glamour shot. The butter dish is vintage (Fostoria) and a wedding present. The candy dish holding the eggs? Something of my mother's.
We always check the label for peanuts--even in products that we regularly purchase. Those suckers often make their way into cake mixes.
Eggs work best if they're allowed to come to room temperature for about an hour. No, they won't spoil--assuming that they're fresh to begin with.
You can save and grind the shells for your compost pile or just grind and toss them into the garden.
I like to mix all the wet ingredients separately and first.
My mother swears that the baking soda helps keep the mix from pulling from the pan. Use 1 tsp of the baking soda. (I could only find the 1/2 teaspoon, so I had to do measure twice.)
After adding the whiskey, baking soda, and the dry mix, give it all a good whir for 30 seconds on low and 2 minutes on medium. Scrape bowl occasionally.
I baked the mix in these small pans on a lined cookie sheet. Times vary, so pay attention to the package direction.
There was extra batter, so I used cupcake liners to make individual portions. You can "color code" cupcakes for family members.
We keep cupcake liners in the pantry in a lidded jar. I got this idea from Pinterest, and we've got another jar just for holiday liners.
Let the cakes cool completely before adding frosting or confectioner's sugar.
You can use chocolate icing from a can or make your own. It's your call.
My fave? The one with confectioner's sugar.

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