Whiskey Cake

This recipe came to me from the makers of Knob Creek Bourbon whiskey, a small-batch bourbon that’s good enough that you might be tempted to have a shot while making the cake (go ahead, but have it over ice cubes, with perhaps a little water–nothing more). The recipe is inspired by a cake made in the Greensboro, Georgia home of the grandmother of Luann Landon, who wrote a book about the dishes served there. It’s called “Dinner At Miss Lady’s,” and it’s published by Algonquin.

  • 1 1/12 cups flour
  • 1 lb. pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. golden raisins, chopped coarsely
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. Steen’s cane syrup
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • Pinch cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

1. Measure the flour after sifting once, then sift again. Mix 1/2 cup of the flour with the raisins and pecans.

2. In a medium bowl, sift the remaining flour and baking powder together.

3. Soak the nutmeg in the bourbon for ten minutes.

4. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth and the color changes to a bright yellow.

5. Stir the nutmeg into the bourbon. Add about half the bourbon to the egg mixture, then half a cup of flour, then the rest of the bourbon, and finish with the flour. Beat the batter for about a minute between each addition, scraping down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula as you go.

6. Fold in the flour with the pecans and the raisins with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.

7. With clean beaters in a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until peaks form. Fold this into the batter with the rubber spatula, stopping when only fine streaks can be noted.

8. Grease two loaf pans with butter and pour in the batter. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for an hour and 10 minutes, lowering the heat to 275 after 45 minutes.

9. Cool the cake in the pans on a rack for 30 minutes. Removing the cake is not easy, so be careful. The cake tastes better and slices much easier if you chill it first.

Makes about 12-15 big slices, which are great served with egg nog.

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