If it’s not wine, I won’t drink it, but I will eat it. Apparently pouring whiskey into everything is my favourite thing to do this Christmas. It began with having no rum at home, and since the flavours of both liquors are very similar in baked goods, it seemed like the most obvious thing to do.
Here, wrinkly raisins are soaked overnight in whiskey so that they plump up and realise their full potential. I’d drink to that.
This is the moistest of moist, tenderest of tender cakes. Super light, fluffy and still packed with so much boozy flavour. There’s some orange in there, because what’s a boozy cake without citrus. And a glaze that will send you into raptures, buttery, caramely aaaaand yes, boozy.
The recipe is adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s new book Sweet. They make a classic rum and raisin, and the glaze is more of an icing, with powdered sugar beaten into it. I used yoghurt instead of sour cream and decided to add fresh orange juice to the batter and turn the icing into a thinner sauce, with more orange juice. A little bit of cornflour helps it thicken into the just the right sticky consistency as it cools on the cake. Seriously, this glaze deserves a blog post of its own. It soaks perfectly into the cake and even this non-raisin-loving girl couldn’t get enough of it.
The cake batter is very straightforward but I do recommend using a soft brown sugar if you can find it. It makes all the difference in terms of flavour and moisture. So good. If not, make sure you’re using a fine-grained brown sugar, grinding it up in a food processor if needed.
As with most incredible cakes, just a few basic flavours make this explosively good. I don’t know whether it’s the super soft texture that makes it so irresistible or those boozy raisins, you decide!
I’m headed off for the long weekend and will be back with new posts later next week. Looking forward to the break and I hope you have some chill time planned too! Have a lovely, lovely Christmas!
- For the cake
- 200 gms raisins (about 2 cups)
- ½ cup whiskey
- 2 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt if using unsalted butter
- 250 gms butter (just over 1 cup)
- 1 cup soft brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup plain yoghurt
- 1 medium orange, cut in half
- For the glaze
- 50 gms butter (1/4 cup)
- 3 tbsps soft brown sugar
- 3 tbsps milk
- 1 tbsp whiskey
- ¼ tsp cornflour
- The night before you plan to make the cake, combine the raisins and whiskey in a large jar and set aside to soak for about 12 hours, shaking it now and again.
- To make the cake, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Grease an 8" round cake tin and preheat the oven to 180 C.
- Beat the butter and sugar with a hand mixer or using a stand mixer, till light and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat again.
- Add the yoghurt and the juice of half the orange (save the other half for the glaze). Mix well. The batter might curdle a little at this step, don't worry.
- Add the flour mixture and beat it in slowly till combined. Fold in the soaked raisins with any whiskey left in the jar.
- Tip the batter into the prepared tin, smoothen the top and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Halfway through the baking time, rotate the cake tin and cover the top loosely with foil to prevent it from becoming too dark. Set aside to cool.
- To make the glaze, melt the butter in a small saucepan on low heat, then add the sugar and mix till combined.
- Pour in the milk and let the mixture simmer, then slowly pour in the orange juice (from the half orange leftover from the cake batter). Turn off the heat and add the whiskey. Mix well, and put the pan back on low heat.
- Mix the cornflour with 2 tsps of water till dissolved and pour it into the pan. Bring the sauce to a boil and set aside to cool and thicken.
- Pour the still slightly warm glaze over the cake. As it cools further, it will thicken and stick to the top. Slice the cake and dive in!