Hennessy is one of the largest cognac producers in the world, selling approximately 70 million bottles per year and accounts for 60% of the world’s supply just by themselves.
Due to its extreme popularity, it only makes sense that people have found creative ways to use Hennessy in all kinds of different food recipes, from BBQ wings to peach cobbler.
One way in which people love to use Hennessy is in a delicious dessert cake.
This can come in all kinds of forms, but one of the most popular choices is a creamy strawberry sponge cake which we will show you how to make at home.
It makes a perfect birthday cake for anyone of drinking age! For those under age, why not treat them to some gorgeous birthday cake popcorn like this while the adults dig into the cake!
How to make Hennessy Cake
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Combining an alcoholic beverage into a cake is a great way to give it that strong flavor that offsets the sugary nature of the sponge and frosting, leaving it with a unique and moreish palette that is sure to impress anyone you serve it to.
To keep things simple we’ll also be using a pre-made cake mixture that is strawberry flavored.
For the frosting, you can choose between either strawberry or vanilla flavor depending on your preference.
We would recommend vanilla because if you wish to top the cake off with fresh strawberries it may end up tasting a little too strong and one-dimensional.
- 2 boxes of ‘Duncan Hines Strawberry Cake Mix’
- 8 fresh eggs
- 4 sticks of unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 bottle of Hennessy
- 2 tbsp of vanilla or almond extract
- 1 x 16-20oz container of frosting, strawberry, or vanilla
We will be making this cake in 2 parts.
First, we have to prepare and bake the cake mixture.
Our preferred mixture of choice is Duncan Hines Strawberry Cake Mix.
However, you are free to substitute this for your own if there’s a different brand you prefer!
Some of the ingredients listed might differ from that required by the cake mixture, this is because we are making the cake to be extra special with that added frosting and Hennessy.
Start by pre-heating the oven to 350°F and get your baking pans ready.
We like to use 2 bundt pans but any regular cake pan you have available will do!
Lightly grease the pan in preparation for baking.
Now we prepare the cake mixture.
Start by mixing the melted butter, milk, eggs, and a generous amount of Hennessy (we’ll leave you to decide how much that is) together in a large bowl.
Blend everything together, preferably using an electric blender, for 30-45 seconds until everything is nicely incorporated.
Add to this the prepared cake mixture and vanilla/almond extract.
Then beat together at a medium speed for an additional 2 minutes.
Divide the mixture up into the 2 baking pans (or whichever pans you have decided to use) and bake for 40-45 minutes until ready.
A convenient way to check they are done is to use a toothpick: just stick it into the cake and if it comes out clean it’s ready!
If there’s still a liquid mixture present, let it cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
Let the cakes cool completely before turning them out of the baking pans onto a plate.
Now the cakes are ready, let’s prepare the frosting!
Pour the desired amount into a small bowl and microwave for 10-15 seconds so it’s a little runnier.
If you’d like, you can add an additional 4 tablespoons of Hennessy to the frosting which will really give it some kick.
Stir the glaze a little and then pour it over the cakes, letting it drizzle down the sides.
You can use the back of the spoon to lightly spread the frosting over the cake, but don’t overdo it as the look of the natural pour is really good!
You can either serve it like this or alternatively, you can add some decorations such as freshly sliced strawberries or stick a few nice vanilla slices into the top of the cake.
This is a fairly basic cake, and as such, there are some nice and simple substitutions you can make should you be missing a particular ingredient.
Although this cake is strawberry flavored, it’s also very easy to make a Hennessy chocolate cake!
You can also swap out the Hennessy for brandy or bourbon and even turn it into a pound cake.
1. Homemade cake mix
If your local grocery store doesn’t supply the specific type of cake mix needed for this recipe, you can make one yourself using some flour, sugar, baking powder/soda, salt, and a little powdered milk.
To this, you can just add some strawberry flavoring and it’ll be every bit as delicious!
Here are some further details on how to do this.
2. Mashed Bananas
If you want to keep the sweetness of the cake mixture, but aren’t keen on using so much butter.
Mashed bananas work as a fantastic alternative.
They will give your cake just a hint of banana flavor which complements the strawberry nicely, but they also won’t overpower the flavor and undermine the Hennessy.
It’s helpful to blend before further whisking them into the cake batter, the smoother you can make them the better!
What to serve with Hennessy Cake
By itself, this cake is an already rich and delicious dessert that can stand on its own two feet.
But of course, depending on the occasion there are plenty of things you can serve alongside it, here are a few of our top suggestions.
If you decided not to top the cake with fresh strawberries already, a nice side plate of fresh fruit can complement the sweetness of the cake and the richness of the Hennessy.
It doesn’t have to be strawberries either! Fresh blueberries and cherries also make a delicious pairing.
Of course, to enhance a cake we don’t actually need to serve it with a second dish, simply a generous squirt of whipped cream on top of a cake slice adds a delicious creaminess and moist element that pairs excellently with the sponge.
Much like the whipped cream, a large scoop of ice cream on top of the cake makes for a fantastic combination.
Particularly as the ice cream melts into the sponge, delicious!
The recommended flavor is vanilla as we will still be getting much of the flavor from the strawberry, so we don’t want to overpower it.
But others such as mint, chocolate, and banana ice cream do taste pretty good with strawberries, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
This cake specifically doesn’t add additional sugar as we are using both frosting and possibly fresh strawberries which are already quite sweet.
But if you have a bit of a sweet tooth and would like this to be a true dessert, sieve some caster sugar over the top to add that extra sweetness.
This is especially effective if you’ve used fresh strawberries on your cake as a little sugary dusting on them looks beautiful.
How to store Hennessy Cake
There are two ways to approach this, one is to leave the cake unfrosted and keep the frosting in a small bowl until you have a slice ready to serve, then just microwave it briefly and drizzle on at the last second.
The other is the more common way, simply because it’s more convenient, which is to frost the whole cake entirely and then store it.
The frosting will develop a nice hard texture which some find more appealing than a warm and runny one.
Store in the fridge
Ideally, this needs to be covered, if you have already sliced it you can transfer the slices into airtight containers of a suitable size.
Or if the cake is whole you can possibly transfer the entire thing to a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
Once stored in the fridge it should last for up to two days.
However, if it’s unfrosted and wrapped tightly it can keep for up to two months.
Store in the freezer
The easiest method here is to first ensure the cake has completely cooked, then wrap it in plastic wrap and then into a large zippered freezer bag for extra protection from the freezer’s air.
This is especially useful for anything that has fresh fruit on it!
If stored this way it will keep for up to 4 months.
Hennessy Cake Recipe
- large mixing bowl
- electric whisk
- 2 boxes Duncan Hines Strawberry Cake Mix
- 8 fresh eggs
- 4 sticks unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup milk
- 1 bottle Hennessy
- 2 tbsp vanilla or almond extract
- 16-20 oz frosting, strawberry or vanilla
- Start by pre-heating the oven to 350°F and get your baking pans ready. We like to use 2 bundt pans but any regular cake pan you have available will do!
- Lightly grease the pan in preparation for baking.
- Blend everything together, preferably using an electric blender, for 30-45 seconds until everything is nicely incorporated.
- Add to this the prepared cake mixture and vanilla/almond extract. Then beat together at a medium speed for an additional 2 minutes.
- Divide the mixture up into the 2 baking pans (or whichever pans you have decided to use) and bake for 40-45 minutes until ready.A convenient way to check they are done is to use a toothpick: just stick it into the cake and if it comes out clean it’s ready! If there’s still liquid mixture present, let it cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
- Let the cakes cool completely before turning them out of the baking pans onto a plate.
- Now the cakes are ready, let’s prepare the frosting! Pour the desired amount into a small bowl and microwave for 10-15 seconds so it’s a little runnier.
- If you’d like, you can add an additional 4 tablespoons of Henessy to the frosting which will really give it some kick.Stir the glaze a little and then pour it over the cakes, letting it drizzle down the sides. You can use the back of the spoon to lightly spread the frosting over the cake, but don’t overdo it as the look of the natural pour is really good!
- You can either serve it like this or alternatively, you can add some decorations such as freshly sliced strawberries or stick a few nice vanilla slices into the top of the cake.
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