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A coffee whiskey cake, the creation of Kassidy Elizondo at First Light Whiskey. Photo courtesy First Light Whiskey
ColumnsI Like Beer

Cheers! North County: Coffee, whiskey and chocolate. Do I have your attention?

I was perusing the First Light Coffee Whiskey website searching for a cocktail recipe that might inspire me to do more than just pour a few fingers of the good stuff onto an ice cube when I saw it. “Chocolate Whiskey Cake: A full cup o’ joe and a hearty pour of Coffee Whiskey take this cake to the next level.”

Um, yes please. Pre-pandemic I might have sent the recipe to my mom (an excellent baker) and suggest maybe we try to make it the next time she came to visit, knowing that she would do most of the making and I would do most of the eating. However, we are in a pandemic, and our visits are done primarily via video chat. If I was going to get some chocolate whiskey cake into my mouth, I was going to have to take matters into my own hands.

I checked the ingredients list and conveniently had all the ingredients on hand. We keep the pantry shelf full of the staples — in particular, the ingredients often found in cookies. However, this would be my first attempt at making a cake that didn’t come pre-mixed in a package. I’ll be honest that I was a little nervous about the entire endeavor for two reasons.

Kassidy Elizondo with her creation. Photo courtesy First Light Whiskey

First, I’m vegan-ish. So I would have to substitute some ingredients. I make an exception for cheese, because, well, it is cheese. It is delicious and I’m from Wisconsin. I’ve tried to cut it out many times, but never succeeded.

Second, there was some vocabulary terms in the recipe I wasn’t familiar with like “fold in the flour” and “saucepan.” I’m pretty comfortable in the kitchen, but my training isn’t what you might consider well-rounded.

I poured a few fingers of coffee whiskey into a glass off to the side for hydration purposes, and then got to work. I wrote the recipe down on some scrap paper to prevent my laptop from being splattered with chocolate and collected all the ingredients on the counter. I started melting vegan butter on low heat. I made a cup of Marea Baja coffee in a French press. I added chocolate and coffee and whiskey together. I whisked. I let things cool. I started folding in flour or doing something that I think was folding. I added a cup of this. I sprinkled in a teaspoon of that. I buttered the cake pan. I preheated the oven.

I also sipped my coffee whiskey between steps, made an incredibly impressive mess in our tiny galley kitchen and turned the music up loud. Baking is fun. Finally, I added the chocolate chips to the mix, poured it into the pan and put the whole mix in the oven. When the bell dinged nearly an hour later, I opened the oven door and, I kid you not, there was a cake in there.

I sprinkled powdered sugar over the thick dark brown cake, cut off a wedge, took a final sip of coffee whiskey and performed my official taste test. I’ll save the suspense. It was a cake with coffee, whiskey and chocolate, and it was freaking delicious.


Courtesy of creator Kassidy Elizondo and and modified by Ryan Woldt


  • 1 cup butter/butter alternative
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (I prefer dark chocolate from Guittard)*
  • 1 cup coffee
  • ⅓ cup First Light Coffee Whiskey*
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs (or egg substitute, i.e. bananas or flaxseed)
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1⅓ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup chocolate chips

*Whatever chocolate you choose I encourage you to find one that is ethically sourced like Guittard to help prevent forced labor common in the chocolate industry.

  1. Melt butter and mix in coffee, coffee whiskey and chocolate powder together in a sauce pan over low heat.
  2. Whisk brown and white sugar into the saucepan until it dissolves and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 325.
  4. Butter a 9″ cake pan.
  5. Whisk in eggs & vanilla into the batter in the saucepan (I moved it into a bowl for easier mixing)
  6. Fold in flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.
  7. Bake 45-55 minutes (Our oven is terrible, so I did 65 minutes, but if you have a good oven start on the low end).
  8. Dust with powdered sugar.
  9. Pour yourself a coffee whiskey. Add an ice cube if you prefer.
  10. Eat!

Do you listen to podcasts? Are you interested in interesting things being done by interesting people in North County San Diego. Be sure to check out the most recent episode of the Cheers! North County podcast with the co-founders of First Light Whiskey. Stream it on The Coast News online or search for it on your favorite podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Thanks for listening, and for following Cheers! North County on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.