Thursday, March 6, 2008
Irish Whiskey Cake
I am wrapping up cake week with a really basic bundt cake. No special add-ins like oreos, no fancy peanut butter or caramel frostings, no chocolate in it at all. Just a basic, traditional coffee cake dusted with a little powdered sugar (btw -- big old thank you to Ben for offering to get me powdered sugar and milk to enable my baking "problem" -- I appreciate it, but I have just enough powdered sugar to take care of this cake, and baking without milk or buttermilk forces me to get creative with using what I do have in the fridge.) :)
I got this recipe from the Great Coffee Cakes book that Chris' mom gave me for Christmas (thank you Brenda). It's one of the recipes I have eyed every since I got the book, but never quite got around to making. The title calls it an Irish Whiskey Cake, but the ingredients call for a 1/4 cup Scotch Whiskey. That's no problem around here, because besides being hop-head-beer-snobs, Chris and I also enjoy Single Malt Scotch Whiskey and have quite a collection to choose from (10 bottles at last count). I used the last of our 12-year Glenmorangie Sherry Wood Scotch for this recipe (okay, 9 bottles now) a nice, smooth, sippable scotch and one we have enjoyed for a while now.
The cake is actually mostly flavored by coffee -- the recipe called for instant coffee granules -- I only had instant espresso, so that's what I used -- with just a hint of Scotch flavor in the background. Those who aren't that familiar with good Scotch would probably have a hard time identifying it. The cake is super moist with a tight crumb -- almost as soft and moist as the Indonesian Spice cake -- which I attribute to using cake flour and sifting it before measuring it.
3 cups sifted cake flour, spooned in and leveled
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly firm
2 cups superfine sugar (I used regular granulated, I probably should have pulsed it in a food processor, but I didn't bother)
3 large eggs
3 tbsp very fresh instant coffee crystals, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup Scotch whiskey
1 cup sour cream
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 325. Generously butter a 9 inch bundt pan, dust with flour, then tap out excess flour.
In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside
Cut the butter int 1-inch pieces and place in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth and lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar gradually, 1 to 2 tbsp at a time taking 6 to 8 minutes to add it all. Add the eggs, one at a time, about 1 minute apart, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the dissolved coffee and the vanilla.
Reduce the mixer speed to low. Stir the Scotch into the sour cream and add the mixture alternately with the dry ingredients, dividing the flour into three parts and the sour cream mixture into two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just until blended after each addition. Scrape the side of the bowl and mix for 10 seconds longer.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with the bottom of a large spoon, and bake for 1 hour 15 to 20 minutes. The cake is done when the top is springy to the touch and a wooden skewer inserted deeply into the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and let stand on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack, gently life off the pan, and cool the cake completely. When ready to serve, dust with powdered sugar.