Monday, March 5, 2012

Tennessee Whiskey Tipsy Cake

The Setting: A mostly overcast Monday.

The Soundtrack: Oia's symphonic playtime.

Steaming up the Oven: Well, I should be cooking, but I can't stop eating Girl Scout Cookies. Darn my philanthropic nature.

The Scenario: Dessert number three from Music City in the Midwest: Cherry Chocolate Chip Tipsy Cake, featuring Tennessee's finest!

Depending on who you talk to in the South, "tipsy cake" could refer to one of two things. One version, supposedly popular in the coastal South as early as the 1700s (though my research on this is inconclusive at best), is like an English trifle, composed of sherry-soaked cubes of cake, custard, and berry jam. Also called a tipsy parson, it was known for making ministers get a little sloshy at Sunday luncheons.

While that does sound delicious, in my neck of the woods, a trifle was called a trifle, and a tipsy cake was more like a pound cake, soaked in Tennessee whiskey.

Now I am not a whiskey connoisseur. I'd like to be--my fictional badass alter-ego most certainly is--but, what can I say? I'd rather shoot tequila...or skeet.

This is all to say that I'm not one to get involved in a Dickel-v-Daniel's debate.

And Lynchburg and Cascade Hollow are virtually equidistant from Nashville, so I can't play the geography card.

However, when I told people in France I was from Tennessee, people with whom I could communicate very little because the only French I know comes from Lady Marmalade, their faces lit up suddenly and dramatically as they exclaimed, "Jack Daniel's!"

So there you go.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Tipsy Cake
In developing this recipe, I made one plain tipsy cake to start. It was delicious, but the cherries and chocolate elicit their own essences from the whiskey, which I think works really well in this cake.

1 stick (1/2 cup) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 8-10 pieces
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cake flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened dried cherries, chopped

~for the whiskey syrup~
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 T water
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a Pyrex loaf pan and line the bottom with a strip of parchment long enough to hang over the short sides of the pan, forming "handles."

With an electric mixer beat the sugar and the butter together for 1 minute on low and then on med-high for 3 minutes or just until light and fluffy.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl or cup, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Set aside.

In another small bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

With the mixer on low, slowly stream the egg mixture into the butter mixture. Increase speed to med-high and beat two minutes. With mixer on low, add flour mixture and beat just to combine. Fold in cherries and chocolate chips. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan, then run a knife along the edges to loosen before using the parchment "handles" to lift the cake out. Leave the parchment in place on the cake and return the cake to the pan.

Make the glaze: Place the butter, water, and sugar in a small saucepan over med-high heat and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and carefully add the whiskey. Return to med-low heat and cook 5 minutes.

Poke the cake all over with a skewer. Pour the syrup over the top of the cake and into the holes. If syrup pools around the edges, carefully pour the excess syrup back into the saucepan and then pour it back over the holes and any dry areas.

Repeat until there is little-to-no excess syrup. Cool completely, cover with foil, and allow to set at least two hours before cutting.

Guest Feedback:
Average Score on a scale of 0-5, 0 being "Never again. Need to set my mouth on fire to extinguish the memory" and 5 being "Woohoo! When can I eat that again?" 4.75
Comments: "Hubby loved it."

This recipe was featured in a post called Music City in the Midwest for's 24x24 event, for which 24 food bloggers from around the world are selected to host dinner parties within the same 24 hours and blog about them.

Thanks for reading! Here's to Being the Secret Ingredient in your life.

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