I’m blessed with a girl that knows pastry and baking like the back of her hand – she’s a pastry chef, after all. I told Joanna what we needed to do, she helped me with proportions, and a delicious cake popped out.
So a big thank you to Joanna for making this extremely difficult post much easier and quite fun.
My initial idea came from a Kentuckian at work – one day he brought in a Kentucky bourbon cake. Man was it good. And man did it make me thirsty.
As we’ve seen in recent food trends, honey and bourbon/whiskey (Jack Daniels, Jim beam, etc.) go together very well. So bam, this was the beginning of an idea.
But I also wanted to incorporate mead to capture the quote from The Hobbit. The first time I tried mead was actually with Joanna at my very first Renaissance Fare as an adult (it’s just not the same as when you’re 9 by the way ☹). I thought the mead would make a moist cake with a subtle sweetness and, of course, give a depth of flavor.
To pay homage to the fact that The Hobbit is a pre-history of Middle-earth, I thought about how alcohol was often used not just for drinking, but also preserving. This is where I thought of soaking the cake in a bourbon-soaked cheese cloth. We soaked the cake overnight, but it can be left for days and days.
The next challenge was the fact that this cake is twice baked.
How the hell do you do that? I asked Joanna.
Her response, “Brûlée it idiot.”
- 500 g bourbon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 270 g brown sugar
- 90 g sugar
- 250 g honey
- 250 g mead
- 8 g cinnamon
- 4 g clove
- 2 g nutmeg
- 120 g oil
- 480 g flour
- 9 g baking powder
Preheat oven to 350. Thoroughly grease baking pans.
Add all dry ingredients, excluding 30 grams of sugar, to mixer and incorporate on low.
Form a well in the center of dry ingredients and add liquid ingredients, excluding 1 cup bourbon. Mix on low to incorporate.
Make sure the ingredients are duly incorporated into the batter and that there is nothing stuck to the bottom of mixing bowl.
Using a spatula transfer batter into baking tins. This can make two small loaves or two round cakes.
Bake for approximately 45 mins. Check cake with cake tester and to touch. Cake should spring back when gentle pressure is applied.
Cool for 20 mins. Remove from baking pan and cool further.
Soak cheesecloth in remaining 1 cup of bourbon for 15 min.
When the cakes are fully cooled, wrap them in the bourbon-infused cheesecloth and refrigerate for 24 hours.
The next day, start by setting the oven to broiler.
Unwrap the cakes and cover tops with remaining sugar. This is best done with a course passet or sifter.
Broil the cakes rotating every minute until the sugar is caramelized. This totally depends on your oven, so keep an eye on it, but should take around 5 mins.
If you don't have a mixer you can follow the above directions just using one bowl and a heavy duty whisk.