Bourbon biscuit layer cake

Bourbon’s are my favourite biscuit and after discovering just how marvelous they taste in cheesecake form (see recipe here) I decided to make my 27th Birthday a little easier to digest by baking myself a three tiered Bourbon biscuit dream cake.

The cake itself is super chocolatey whilst trying to still capture the slight malty taste that Bourbon biscuits have. For this, I called upon my trusted tub of Horlicks and included a tablespoon within the two chocolate cake layers and baked an entirely malt white sponge layer to sandwich in between (what’s a birthday without a little surprise hey). This was my first attempt at a drip cake – with success anyway – and to ensure a good drip, I added butter to my dark chocolate topping and used a piping bag around the edges to encourage the oozing edge before filling on top.

The malt chocolate buttercream will be enough for the filling, crumb coat, a second and final coat and the small piping for on top of your cake.

TIP: You can make the sponge layers the night before, just leave to cool completely before wrapping in cling film tightly and then placing in the fridge. This also makes it easier when it comes to leveling the cakes by cutting off any dome tops.

Ingredients (makes one three tiered cake at 23cm wide):

For the two chocolate sponge layers:

  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g Homepride self-raising flour
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 225g unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 tbsp Horlicks powder (or another malt drink equivalent)
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp boiling water

For the malt sponge layer:

  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g Homepride self-raising flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 125g unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 tbsp Horlicks powder (or another malt drink equivalent)
  • 1/2 tsp good quality Vanilla extract

For the malt chocolate buttercream:

  • 675g icing sugar
  • 350g unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (add more if you want a richer taste)
  • 1/2 tbsp Horlicks powder
  • 4 tbsp milk

For the chocolate drip and decoration:

  • 125g good quality dark chocolate (dark cooking chocolate is good too), chopped
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 3 Bourbons crushed
  • 5 Bourbons, 2 whole and the others broken into shard like pieces
  • Gold sprinkles


  1. Start by cooking your chocolate sponge layers. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C and line two 23cm wide round baking tins with baking paper. Beat your sugar and butter together with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing as you go. Next fold the sifted flour and Horlicks powder into the batter and in a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder and boiling water to make a paste. Add to your cake mix and give it a final stir with your spoon so you have a rich chocolate sponge mix
  2. Evenly distribute between the two tins and then place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean and the sponge cakes spring back as you touch them. Leave to cool before turning out onto a cooling rack and removing the baking paper. Wash one of the tins ready for the malt layer
  3. As above, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time, mixing as you go with the electric mixer. Add the sifted flour and malt powder and fold into the eggy batter with a wooden spoon. Add to the cake tin and level with the back of a metal spoon or a cranked pallet knife. Cook for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean and the sponge cakes spring back as you touch them. Leave to cool before turning out onto a cooling rack and removing the baking paper. If making ahead, wrap the cake layers tightly in cling film and place in the fridge overnight
  4. Once cooled or removed from the fridge, level your cakes with a cake cutter or serrated knife and begin to make the buttercream. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer before gradually adding the icing sugar, followed by the cocoa powder and malt powder. Once all combined, add the milk to loosen the icing a little and spread a tiny amount onto the cake board to secure your first sponge layer
  5. Next, place 4-6 tablespoons of icing within a separate bowl or piping bag (this is for the filling of the cake and you can either slather the icing onto each layer with a palette knife or by piping the buttercream over the surface of the cake in a spiral motion and then spreading for a neater, even cover)
  6. Your cake should now be assembled with a bottom layer of chocolate sponge, followed by the malt sponge layer and the final chocolate layer, beautifully filled with buttercream. Next, you just have to cover the cake with a crumb coat – this requires just a centimeter thickness of icing to cover any gaps in the layers. For this, use a third of the icing and slather it all over the cake, top and sides before smoothing over with a plastic/cake scraper or your pallet knife if you don’t have one. Have a separate bowl ready for scraping the the crumby buttercream on to
  7. Place in the fridge for around half an hour so the icing becomes solid and locks in all those pesky crumbs. Now for your final coat! Slather a thick layer of icing on the top then gently push it over the edges to cover the remainder of the cake, smoothing with your pallet knife.Remember to leave a little to decorate the finished cake with! I’ve found this way of icing a layer cake slightly easier but go with whatever works for you, I often change my technique with different cake. When completely covered with icing, cool for another 30 minutes before making your chocolate drizzle
  8. Simply melt the chocolate and butter together in a saucepan over a low heat and leave to cool for ten minutes. Once cooler, spoon the chocolate sauce on top of your chilled cake, smoothing it over so you encourage some of the sauce to drip down the edges. Alternatively, you can use a piping bag to form the drippings yourself by holding the piping bag up to the edge of a cake and zig-zagging your way around the entire cake
  9. Once your cake is nicely drizzled, leave it for a little while to set slightly before piping some of your remaining buttercream into the center and sprinkling with the bourbon crumbs and shards. Serve within 3 hours of baking for best results and keep any remaining slices in an air-tight container for up to 3 days

Enjoy, I certainly did! 

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and TwitterTwitter. Nic x


8 thoughts on “Bourbon biscuit layer cake

  1. TrainOfThought says:

    Can I just take a moment, sorry it would take a lifetime, to take in this beautiful, wonderful, enlighting, delicious, mouth watering materterine and then imagine the taste of this bourbon brilliance?

    P.S You seriously need to go on a baking show, like the Great British Bake Off, you’d probably win that whole thing!

    P.P.S WOW

    Liked by 1 person

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