Here’s a cake that has a lot of possibilities. At its base is a recipe that produces a wonderful pound-like cake, which in and of itself would be perfect to be topped with fresh fruit, hot fudge or caramel, or a lemony glaze. But this time around we took things in another direction, putting additional moisture (bourbon), richness (butter) and sweetness (sugar) through a glaze that infused the cake while it was still warm. For me, there is something special about a dessert includes a little (or big) kiss of liquor.
Like so many of us, I have lots of kitchen appliances and gadgets. Although my trusty Kitchen Aid is my go-to mixer for things like cakes, from time to time it is fun to pull out some of the vintage appliances I’ve picked up along the way. For this recipe, I used my old Hamilton-Beach stand mixer from the early 1950’s. While Sunbeam dominated the market with its famous “Mixmaster,” a number of other manufacturers made their own versions. This old Hamilton-Beach features a one piece beater mechanism that, while hard to clean, does a very good job in blending the ingredients and turning the white Pyrex mixing bowls that came with the machine. When I think of all the food this machine helped to prepare in its 60-year life, it makes me smile.
Now, if you didn’t want to use any liquor, you could swap out the bourbon for water and a couple teaspoons of vanilla, and it would still produce a sweet buttery sauce that would further moisten the cake and add richness. Or if you prefer the flavor of run – wonderful with butter – you could use that instead. Either way, this cake comes together easily and presents itself beautifully at the table. Great after a meal with coffee or an afternoon break (which is when I seem to eat most of my sweets), give this a dusting with powdered sugar once it is cooled and enjoy!
Bourbon Butter Cake
3 cups sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (softened)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (make sour milk by adding a tablespoon of white vinegar to a cup of milk – preferably whole milk – and let stand for 10+ minutes)
2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, sift together flour (already sifted once), baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to cream until incorporated. Add eggs – one at a time – to butter mixture. Stir vanilla into buttermilk/sour milk. Starting with the flour mixture, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to mixing bowl containing the butter, sugar and eggs – beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour batter into a greased 10-inch tube pan. Place in oven for 60-65 minutes, or until golden brown and top of cake springs back when lightly pressed. Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack. Prepare the sauce.
Bourbon Butter Sauce
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 – ½ cup bourbon (can substitute with rum, or water and 2 teaspoons vanilla)
Place all ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat until butter is melted and sugar is well mixed in (do not boil!). Using a fork, gently poke holes in top of warm cake. Pour sauce over the top of cake. You may have to do this in a couple of stages – it will absorb the sauce – be patient! Using a spatula or thin knife, allow sauce to get around the side of the cake. Once all sauce is fully absorbed and cake is cooled, remove from pan and invert onto plate. Dust with powdered sugar.