Friday, December 30, 2011


Drunk Off Dessert?

Boozing and baking are, for many, deeply woven into the holiday experience. But could they become deeply woven into each other?

Challenge accepted! To find the most alcoholic recipe around (don't worry, it's vacation), I consulted four baking experts — each a published author in the field — and asked them to submit the recipe that's, in their opinion, the booziest in their repertoire. I then tested each recipe and (why not) conducted a post-meal breathalyzer (I own a crappy one that I use mainly as a party prop), all to see what dessert gets you the drunkest, if any do. And the winner is…

Recipe #1: Long Island Ice Tea Cake. Seriously.
By: Krystina Castella, author of Booze Cakes.
And?: Aah! Flashbacks to being 19. Back then, I thought asking for a Long Island Ice Tea was acceptable and had no idea why I always got carded. Now I know waaay better and only mix this cocktail into pound cake.
BAC: Okay, so I blew a .04 on the cheapo breathalyzer, but my friend — who valiantly volunteered to help me taste this cake — got a zero. Interpret as you will, but also bear in mind that this dessert is not for those who dislike the smell or taste of different liquors combined. And although it wasn't exactly delicious, I'd say it'd make a decent conversation piece / dessert hors d’oeuvre for your upcoming NYE party. The Jell-O shot's pleasantly trashy older sister.

Recipe #2: Car Bomb Cupcakes (recipe follows).
By: Kate Legere, author of Intoxicated Cupcakes.
And?: Kate suggested I take two whiskey shots while making these, but I went with the now-opened bottle of Guinness instead. So by the time I sampled these creamy, chocolate-y treats (with which I am now obsessed), I was already a tad buzzed. Oops! Experiment: failed?
BAC: .01

Recipe (makes 12)

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Guinness
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg
1/3 cup sour cream

Whiskey Ganache
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons whiskey

1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the cupcake pan with 12 liners.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat the Guinness and butter over medium heat, stirring until the butter melts. Add the cocoa, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.

3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl, beat together egg and sour cream on medium speed until smooth. Continue beating as you add cooled Guinness mixture. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture, beating just until combined.

5. Divide the batter evenly among cupcake liners and bake for 16 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Remove the cupcakes, and set on a cooling rack until completely cooled.

6. For the ganache, place chocolate pieces in a heat-proof bowl. Heat cream in a saucepan on a low heat, stirring until simmering. Pour the cream over the chocolate, stirring constantly. Add the butter and whiskey, stirring until smooth. Set aside, but stir every couple of minutes until the mixture thickens (20 minutes).

7. While you are letting the ganache cool (and have cooled the cupcakes completely), use a knife or star tipped piping tip to cut a hole in the top of each cupcake about two thirds of the way down, making room for about 1 tablespoon ganache. Use a piping bag or a sandwich bag with a hole cut in the corner to fill cupcake hole with thickened ganache.

8. For the icing, use a large mixing bowl to cream the butter on medium-high speed, gradually adding vanilla and salt. Slowly add sugar, mixing till smooth. Add the Bailey’s to create a smooth and fluffy frosting.


Recipe #3: Cranberry and Almond Irish Whiskey Cake.
By: Ryan Jennings, author of Cooking With Booze.
And?: I wish I had started making this after Thanksgiving. Ryan says you can (and should) start a month ahead, and each day bathe the cake in ¼ cup of whiskey. If only I had known — I like the idea of “watering” a cake each day. (And the final result was a little dry for my taste.)
BAC: I passed out before I could make the whipped cream — but then had a slice and registered an .01.

Recipe #4: Hazelnut Tiramisu (recipe follows).
By: Lucy Baker, author of The Boozy Baker.
And?: The most valuable lesson I learned from my adventures in boozy baking: if you want a strong dessert, drink it, do not bake it. But saying you're "making tiramisu” is almost as rewarding as actually making it, so I'd absolutely give this dessert another go.
BAC: Despite the relative plentitude of booze, my BAC was a surprising (?) zero.

Recipe (serves 8-10)
6 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread, such as Nutella
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup warm brewed espresso or coffee
24 ladyfinger cookies, such as Savoiardi
Chocolate shavings
Hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

1.  Line a standard 9x5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing the plastic to extend over the sides.

2. In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese, chocolate hazelnut spread, and 3 tablespoons of the hazelnut liqueur with an electric mixer just until blended and smooth. Set aside. Wash and dry the beaters.

3. In another large bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone-chocolate mixture. Set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, combine the espresso with the remaining 1 cup of hazelnut liqueur. Quickly dip each cookie into the espresso-liqueur mixture to saturate it, and then place it crosswise in the bottom of the prepared pan, creating a single layer. (You might have to squish them a bit to make them fit, but don't worry — it will look lovely in the end.) Cover the cookie layer with 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture. Repeat with another layer of cookies and another 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture, and then a final layer of cookies.

5. Wrap the tiramisu, still in the loaf pan, in another layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Transfer the remaining 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture to an airtight container, and refrigerate it as well.

6. When ready to serve, unwrap the tiramisu and invert it onto a serving plate. Spread the remaining mascarpone mixture over the top. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings and chopped hazelnuts, cut crosswise into slices, and serve.

Jessie Pascoe can't stop collecting cookbooks and seeking out spiked recipes.

45 Comments / Post A Comment


Great suggestions for my kid's upcoming 10th birthday party! Mom of the Year Award any minute now!


@kayjay Hahaha! I was talking to the bartender last night and I mentioned how my friend teaches ballet to little kids. He was all, "I try to teach little kids how to mix drinks, but it never works out. They're lightweights. Like three shots, and then poof!"


When I drink dessert it's a bottle of moscato or port.

Roxanne Rholes

@Gnatalby My favorite after-dinner drink for guests: pour just an ounce or two of the fruity port or other dessert wine into a glass. Then fill with the moscato or other bubbly. Ta-da! Uses all the things you already have, looks like a fancy cocktail! This is especially good with a raspberry wine, if you can find some.


@Roxanne Rholes So trying this. Thanks!

Roxanne Rholes

@Gnatalby Yay! I hope you like it!


Paging misanthropologie....misanthropologie to the thread, repeat, misanthropologie, please report to the thread...


I once made a tres leches cake and replaced the heavy cream with Irish cream (some people use rum and call it pan borracho). The cake is saturated, so a couple of slices will get you tipsy.

Faintly Macabre

@applestoapples Recipe? That sounds like a perfect evening to me...


@Faintly Macabre Alton Brown's is pretty good--I use full cream instead of half-and-half.
In the drunken cake, I substitute up to half of the cream/half-and-half for Irish cream. Or use all cream, but add two to four tablespoons of dark rum and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. All depends on how boozy you want your cake to be.


Can I also submit Stout Ice Cream and Red Wine Chocolate Cake for the record? I didn't do any breathalyzers on them, but they are pretty fantastic... and the drunk factor can be improved by adding a few splashes of Jack (or your choice of liquor) to the ice cream during assembly, and drinking it all down with a bottle of wine, right?!


As far as I'm concerned, Hendricks gin is the only gin, so hooray for you! This post is also extremely relevant to my interests, as almost every baked good I make, save for cookies, gets at least a splash of whiskey in the mix.


@spoondisaster HENDRICKS 4 LYFE


Mmm, booze.

Can I just say, though (and Jessie, I know this was not your doing) that it's not really much of an improvement to call them "Car Bomb" cupcakes instead of the icky and unfortunately widespread "Irish Car Bomb." Let's come up with another name. One that is not a joke about terrorism. Like Delicious Chocolatey Boozeful Cakes. See? That was easy.

Roxanne Rholes

@carbonation I always kind of pondered this because "sake bomb" just sounds fun, what with the splash and the explosion of deliciousness/horrorinaglass, but "Irish car bomb" is kind of a bummer of a name. Maybe we could just call them "whiskey bombs."


@carbonation Call it an "Irish Box Office Bomb," aka Far And Away.
(NOTE: it wasn't a financial bomb, but just a really shitty movie.)


@carbonation How about naming them after a beloved Irish drunk, James Joyce? Alternate option: Finnegan's Cake.


@Vicky Johnson Finnegan's Cake!!! I am going to bake one right now.


@Vicky Johnson Boozelysses.


@miwome A Portrait of the Cake as a Young Man

Sugar Kane's Hip Flask

@anchorite as an Irish person/Joycean scholar/lover of cake I whole-heartedly approve of these names!

Knows The Spanish Panic

@applestoapples Logged in just to 'like' your comment. Had to watch that FOR SCHOOL when I was 14. Could have really used one of these desserts at the time. Or a straight up Box Office Bomb, though that might have been too meta.


From the Amazon blurb for the cookbook in #2: "Ever find yourself wondering what to do with all your leftover booze?"

No, Kate. No, I do not.

Anna Jayne@twitter

@carbonation what is "leftover booze"? Does not compute.

Anna Jayne@twitter

I have made those Finnegan's Cakes (this alternate name is the greatest) before and they are reeee-diculous!


@Anna Jayne@twitter They are the best cupcakes, and they look at lot more difficult to make than they actually are. The hard part is not eating all the icing before it hits the cupcakes.

Bonus use for the ganache: the best ice cream topping of all time. I make a mean beer ice cream, a little warm ganache on top of Young's Double Chocolate stout....mmmmm..... (Here is the recipe, it works with all types of beer, I mostly use lambic though. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/01/food/la-fo-calcookrecb-20100701)


@Vicky Johnson I have found that ganache (any recipe) also makes a really great topping for a spoon. To serve it, I put it on the spoon, and then put the spoon in my mouth. Simple to prepare, but you’ll be amazed at how delicious it is! For Spoon Ganache a la mode, serve with a glass of milk. Voila!

Sella Turcica

I heard on NPR (oh lord, I can't believe I just typed that) that syllabub was the original "curds and whey" that Miss Muffett was eating. Mom told me it was cottage cheese.
Anyway, mix rum with heavy cream, maybe some egg whites and sugar and spices and it becomes a lovely, often curdly, dessert. Kids love it. They'll eat it until they hallucinate.
I stick to bourbon balls. Quarter cup for the cookies, rest of the bottle for me. Kids hate them, even the adolescent lushes in training.


@Delighted by User You have the most wonderful username.

Sella Turcica

@Vicky Johnson Thank you.


@Delighted by User yes, I believe it was Victorian cottage cheese.


I wonder how much of all these cakes I'd need to eat to black out. Appealing NYE idea, right?
PS: this is an awesome post, my two favorite things ever are food & booze, so whenever we can combine them... A+


I think I might be the only person in the whole world that feels this way, but...I love dessert, and I love booze, but I don't love booze-flavored dessert. I'll consume them at the same time, but I don't want to mix them.

I totally was that little kid who wouldn't let the potatoes touch the peas...


There is an Irish Whiskey Cake recipe in my family that involves, among other things, heating together half a cup of butter and a cup of whiskey and pouring it onto the still-hot cake. Fun to bring into work.
Those cupcakes look delicious.


@area@twitter I love the idea of bringing spiked baked goods to work. A very bitter boss I once had, who would give the workforce water and stuff if we were staying late, used to ask me (hypothetically, of course), "What if I spiked all those water bottles?"

I did my best to talk him out of it anyway. Just in case.


I've gotten a reputation in Chicago for my boozey cupcakes. I've made Irish Carbomb cupcakes, but not as above: it was a bailey's frosting that was amazeballs. And screwdriver cupcakes worked out well(orange cupcakes doused in vodka after baking). Though my recent favorite were Bailey's cupcakes with mini chocolate chips inside. Nom. Boozey baking is the bestest.

Evan Weiss@twitter

Excited to try these.


Affogato! Scoop of ice cream, shot of espresso, shot of liquor. BOOM. DONE.


I sorta accidentally made whiskey brownies once, and it was delicious. I had been soaking dried cherries in whiskey for a while and fished them out to add to the brownies. Then I decided to use some of the cherry whiskey in place of vanilla, and then there wasn't a ton left in the jar, so I just threw the rest in. I thought it would sort of cook out a little bit but the brownies came out nice and intensely boozy - it was the best.


I've developed a reputation for Baking With Tequila. It started with Smitten Kitchen's Margarita Cookies (so good! But will not get you drunk!) and moved onto Margarita Cupcakes that WILL get you drunk. There is tequila & triple sec in the cupcake batter. The cooled cupcakes are brushed with a tequila/simple syrup wash. There is more tequila & triple sec in the Swiss buttercream frosting. I brought these to a party once (along with Margarita Ice Cream) and they were a HUGE hit!


My new go-to dessert recipe: Kahlua Mocha Cupcakes with Bailey's Buttercream. People go crazy for them and they are so fucking delicious.

Also, beer floats. Chocolate porter + espresso/coffee ice cream = BOSS.


The Car Bomb cupcakes are amazing! Make them make them make them! Hint: to save money, just buy a nipper of the Baileys.


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