Raw, adjective: 10. not diluted, as alcoholic spirits: raw whiskey.
Bundt Cake Saturday!
Music: Imogen Heap
Good moooo-rning. I just pulled the cake out of the oven, and the house is smelling killer, like a fresh lemon-scented Windex just cleaned the whole place, except it's not cleaning supplies, it's cake, and you can eat it, and that lemon zest isn't fake chemicals but is instead real-life-lemon-peel. Excellent.
It's officially bourbon season now. I'm not much of a bourbon person, never have been, but something about the chill in the air come late November into January combined with the holidays and the idea that if I were living somewhere else a little drier and further north I'd be rocking the heavy winter coat and slipping on ice whenever I went outside makes me want to drink a nice warm bourbon now and then. Maybe a little Maker's and ginger, perhaps. A cozy snuggle with some whiskey or even scotch if I'm feeling really ambitious.
The urge always passes once the holidays are over and January's resolutions hit, but in the meantime, it's nice to indulge. So this morning we're making a recipe with a nod to the onset of bourbon season, combined with one of my favorite fresh flavors. Let's get on with it and make a
LEMON BOURBON BUNDT CAKE
I found this recipe from someplace called the "whisky guild," which strikes me as hilarious unto itself, but anyway. I tweaked it a bit, adding a few things there and changing some others up, so here's the recipe I ended up with:
1 package lemon cake mix
2 small packages instant lemon pudding
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup Bourbon
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour bundt pan. Stir cake mix and pudding mix in large bowl to blend. Beat in eggs, then milk, 1/4 cup whiskey, oil and lemon peel. Mix nuts into batter. Transfer to prepared pan. Bake cake 45 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool with cake in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack.
I had walnuts on hand here already, so I substituted those for the pecans called for. We've got a massive CostCo-sized bottle of Jack Daniels that, natch, has sat untouched in our liquor cabinet probably since last year's holiday cocktail soiree, so I figured this would be a good way to make a small dent in it.
You don't really need an icing for this one. I made a simply whiskey glaze and drizzled that on top of the warm cake. Just melt 1/4 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup whiskey in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts, the sugar dissolves, and the whiskey bubbles through, about 5 minutes. Then just spoon it over the cake.
I was surprised by the amount of glaze that little recipe made. Was a little worried that the cake would be swimming in bourbon, but since there's not a ton in the batter itself, the glaze will do good things for the flavor, methinks.
On the way home from the post office while the cake cooled, I stopped off to visit the orchid man around the corner. Usually I just stand and ogle his $16 stems, but today he hooked me up with a little handful of sweet dainty white flowers. He doesn't speak much English, so I don't know what they're called, but they're delicate and their scent reminds me a little of freesia. And IMHO, they make all the difference in turning an otherwise-blah-looking finish into a nice sweet aesthetic.
And there's your finished cake. A nice twist on the usual lemon recipe. Doesn't hard liquor make everything better?
Recipe courtesy www.whiskyguild.com
Recipe courtesy www.whiskyguild.com
(And for those of you to whom this means anything, this cake - what with the lemon zest and the bourbon - is in honor of our boy Tom F., who's leaving us too soon.)