Individual Kahlua Chocolate Cakes

There are two types of parents in this world.

There are parents like my roommate’s. When asked what their daughter does as an English grad student (she’s in the same program as me), they happily expound on the importance of her literary choices and defend her to the core from the most cynical attackers.

And then there are my parents.

Oh, yes. My parents are absolute gems.

They’re what I call type B parents.

B as in “Bahahaha…I have no idea in holy tarnations what my daughter does. Why don’t you ask her? Then tell me when you find out. English lit-er-what, what’s that?” (That’s my dad.)

Or B as in “Baking–why do you do that? And when did you get so fat? Here, eat more.” (That’s my mom.)

Okay, I’m partly kidding. I love my parents more than I love a great jello cheesecake (which is saying a lot). They’re possibly the funniest, most loving people in the world.

But–and this is the other big B–they do have their share of slightly sardonic parenting moments. And when I say “share,” I mean a whole whopping whipped cream-sized dollop of them.

How many of your parents proudly tell their coworkers or friends that their children bake? I know you’re out there. All I have to say is…

Boy, you lucky bugs! Are any of them looking for surrogate children? Because I volunteer! At least for the confidence boosting part.

The biggest example of this parental cynicism at work is when it comes to my baking. My mom absolutely swears to everyone and anyone that she will not eat anything I’ve made. She says this in the same voice that uses when I used to bring home A exams from school.

“A! What happened to A+? HA HA HA!”

When applied to my baking:

“No no no, my daughter made it, yeah?–I won’t touch that! HA HA HA!”

Yeah, real cute, my parents. 

Of course, they only do it because it amuses them to think that they’re being the stereotypical tough love parents that you see, like, everywhere in the media these days (as in my favorite video of all time–my parents swear they don’t do this stuff, but they were also cracking up like crazy). For that, I forgive the regular references to the number of times I used to botch microwaveable frozen dinners.

When I make something–like this Kahlua chocolate cake for my mom’s company picnic–it becomes something like part of a long-running joke between us. Well, them.

Mom: Our daughter made what today?

Dad: Kahlua…chocolate…cake. Oh yes. You shouldn’t eat it. Terrible.

Mom: Terrrr-ible?

Dad: Oh yes. (Takes a giant bite.) None for you. Shouldn’t eat it. I’ll eat it.

Mom: Oh, if it’s terrible, I’ll eat it then.

Nothing like an argument about how terrible the food you’ve made is to boost your confidence, right?

This is why I need the Parental Comments Interpretation System. This is a personalized coping scale that helps me figure out what in holy tarnations my parents are on about.

What they say: “Aiyah, in the kitchen again today? Counters so dirty.”

What they really mean: “You’ve been baking. Well, where’s my sample?”

What they say: “Ehhh, too sweet” or “Ehhh, not sweet enough.”

What they really mean: “This sucks. Make something I like.”

What they say: “Ehhh.”

What they really mean: “Yum. Mine.”

What they say: “I want to make my coworker something soon so I can thank her. What are you doing tomorrow?”

What they really mean: “So you’re canceling your plans so you can bake something for my coworker tomorrow, right?”

What they say: “Oh, my coworker doesn’t like chocolate desserts.”

What they really mean: “I don’t like chocolate desserts. Make something else.”

…And this is why I love my parents.

They give me so darn much stuff to blog about.

Individual Chocolate Kahlua Cakes

Adapted from Allrecipes Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe


Yield: 12 cakes

  • 1 cup Kahlua or any coffee-flavored liqueur
  • 1/2 cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Glaze:
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup Kahlua
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar


  1. Place cocoa powder in a medium bowl. In a small pot over medium heat, heat up Kahlua until it just begins to boil. Turn off, remove from heat, and pour over cocoa powder. Whisk quickly until cocoa dissolves completely and no lumps are left. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, either by hand or mixer (2-3 minutes). Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients alternately with the cooled cocoa mixture to the butter mixture, until all ingredients are just incorporated.
  4. Divide into 12 separate muffin tins (I used silicon molds). Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until middles are just or not quite set. Allow to cool, then remove onto wire rack with a tray underneath. Using a toothpick, make a dozen holes on the bottoms of each cake and coat with glaze. Let the cakes sit for 10 minutes, then flip them over and repeat.
  5. To make glaze: In a saucepan over medium heat, melt chocolate and butter. Whisk until completely smooth. Add Kahlua and turn off heat. Add powdered sugar and whisk until no lumps remain. Pour over cakes.



4 Replies to “Individual Kahlua Chocolate Cakes”

  1. Parents are always a great source of amusement and material. 😉 About this cake? Ehhh. 😉 You do ship, right? Anyway, looks really great. Kahlua and chocolate is a terrific combo. Or is that terrible? 😉 Really, really nice – thank you.

    1. My mom brought a jar-ful of Kahlua today so she could pour it over the cakes because she claimed there wasn’t “enough”–I guess we have our answer, eh? Thanks, kitchenriffs!

  2. You may or may not know I’m allergic to chocolate, but looking at the pictures of this recipe makes me think it’s one of those that would almost make it worth the risk 😉 I’m so glad my parents are verbal supporters and defenders of me because I need all the help I can get. I’d probably cry if they gave me that much trouble about my baking, or anything.

    1. You’re allergic to chocolate?? Oh, deary me…I hope you’ve found a suitable substitute for your cloudy-day cravings. Have you been allergic all your life, and if you don’t mind my asking, what happens? These are *so* worth it, maybe you could tweak it and turn it into more of a rum-coffee cake…yes, I’m just fudging (ha ha). But I hope you do get to at least try making them at some point! If I didn’t know my parents secretly supported me, I’d probably be one sad kid as well…thank goodness they do!

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