I have a question about the recipe "Elizabeth David's Chocolate Cake" from Sara Jenkins. What is a good substitute for the alcohol?
I've never made this recipe, but looking at it, the alcohol seems to be more for flavor than texture /chemical properties. You may be able to get away with omitting it, replacing it with water, or better yet, with a teaspoon or so of vanilla essence (which usually contains alcohol itself, so that's not such a bad substitute). The flavor will probably be different from what's intended in the recipe, but it won't be bad ! I do hope you get advice from someone who's made the cake though...
I would use more coffee to substitute for the alcohol.
If you want the fruitiness of the brandy and also to avoid alcohol, consider a high quality grape, pomegranate, cherry or cranberry juice.
One tablespoon of brandy is not going to have much influence on the flavor- notice how casual the author is about the type of liquor. You could ignore it, sub more coffee, use rum extract (not sure how alcoholic that is), use a different extract, throw in some maple syrup-really not something to worry about much.
Thanks for all the ideas!