Irish Whiskey Cake

This year I got a little carried away with making Irish recipes for our St Paddy’s Day dinner.  Here today, we have the meal’s finale; Irish Whiskey Cake.

Irish Whiskey Cake

Irish Whiskey Cake

You might be tempted to call this a “drunken cake” because of the whiskey content.  But fear not, the alcohol content evaporates with cooking, leaving behind the flavor of the whiskey.  To be really authentic, you should use Irish Whiskey, but having none in the house, I used what I had, which was an American brand of whiskey.   Can’t say I noticed a hugh difference in flavor….it’s just plain good no matter what brand you use.  Oh, and it’s very OK to adjust the amount upward if you’re so inclined.

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When you look at this cake you would not suspect what’s hidden inside.  It looks like a nice golden poundcake, unassuming and quiet-like.  But wait…..what’s that ribbon of moistness lying along the bottom of the cake?  and what IS that white, crusty, crunchiness on top?  That folks, is the whiskey glaze that slowly seeps through the cake from top to bottom carrying all the whiskey flavor throughout the cake and making it super moist.  Scattered throughout my cake are finely chopped walnuts, but you could also use pecans.   For those with nut allergies, you can leave them out and still be totally satisfied with the results.

Note how the glaze pools in the recesses of the cake.

Note how the glaze pools in the recesses of the cake.

The recipe for this cake calls for baking it in a round tube pan or bundt pan, but I wanted to share the cake with another family, so I baked it in two loaf pans, and split the amount of glaze between the two cakes.  There was no problem in doing that, they both came out fine.

IRISH WHISKEY CAKE

Yield:  1 round bundt cake, or 2 smaller loaf cakes (8″ x 4″)IMG_9423

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (without pudding added)
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 oz. whiskey of choice ( or more?)
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk ( skim is OK)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

For the glaze:IMG_9431

  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Generously spray a bundt cake pan or 2 loaf pans with non-stick spray, and then flour well, shaking out the excess flour.

2.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, and eggs.  Beat well…this will be a thick mixture.

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3.  In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, and whiskey.  Add to cake mixture and continue to beat 3 minutes.  Lastly fold in the nuts, if using.

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4.  Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 60 minutes.   Loaf cakes may take a little less time.  Start timing at 45 minutes and watch and test for doneness.  Mine took about 50 minutes.

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5.  While cake is baking, make glaze.  Place whiskey glaze ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Cook on stove top just until it begins to bubble and boil.  Set aside.

6.  When cake is out of the oven, pour the glaze slowly over the cake while it is hot and still in the pan.  It helps to absorb more quickly if you make holes all over the top of the cake with a chop stick or other fine wooden tool.  Let cake stand in the pan for at least 2 hours before removing to a rack to finish cooling.

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7.  Once completely cooled, remove cake from pan.  Wrap in foil and refrigerate 12 hours or more for flavors to permeate throughout the cake.  Keep leftovers refrigerated.

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SOURCE:   The Ranting Chef

 

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Glazed Corned Beef with Root Vegetables

Glazed Corned Beef with Root Vegetables

Glazed Corned Beef with Root Vegetables

Neither my husband nor I are the tinniest bit Irish, but we love this meal nevertheless.  I have never deviated from the way I first learned to cook it–that is, as a complete meal all cooked together in a large pot of liquid that first cooked the corned beef, then the vegetables that are added in the last hour.  Everything comes out well seasoned because they “borrow’ each other’s flavors and it all melds together.

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This year’s dinner was just a little different.  My piece of corned beef weighed about 3 pounds, and I started cooking it early, so it would be nice and tender.  When I added the vegetables, however, I removed the meat and placed it in a baking dish.  I made a glaze from brown sugar, orange zest, mustard and a pinch of cloves.  I spread that all over the meat and put it into the oven to bake while the vegetables continued to cook in the cooking liquid on the stovetop.  Since the meat was already tender, the baking time in the oven was simply to melt the glaze ingredients and seal the exterior of the meat.  Once sliced, each piece of corned beef got just a rim of the glaze around the outside of it.

The glaze gets all melty and brown in the oven.

The glaze gets all melty and brown in the oven.

I got idea to do this from a handwritten note I had jotted down and tucked away in my recipe box.  So I don’t know what the original source of it was.  I’m just a little sorry that I hadn’t done this sooner.  This new flavor, mild as it is, added a new dimension to the meat, and I think I will continue to do this in the future when I cook corned beef.

GLAZED CORNED BEEF WITIH ROOT VEGETABLES

Yield:   4 – 6 servingsIMG_6878

Ingredients:

  • 1 piece of corned beef, about 3 pounds
  • 4 potatoes, ( white or red-skinned), quartered
  • 4 – 6 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 small head cabbage, trimmed and cut into wedges

For the glaze:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Procedure:

1.  Start cooking the corned beef.   I usually allow about 1 hour/ pound of meat;  so approximately 3 1/2 hours or more before your meal, put the meat into a large kettle along with any spices that were packaged with it.  Add cold water to cover the meat and turn the heat to medium.  Bring slowly to a boil, and once boiling, reduce the heat so the meat is just barely simmering.  Maintain this heat and check periodically to be sure the meat is not cooking too fast.

2.  In the last hour of cooking time, add all the vegetables to the kettle, and remove the meat to a shallow baking dish.

3.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.   In a small dish, mix together all the glaze ingredients.  With a knife or off-set spatula, spread this mixture all over the surface of the meat.  Put into the oven, and bake for about 1/2 hour.  Remove and let meat “rest” before slicing.  Serve with a mixture of the vegetables around it.

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Served with soda bread biscuits, and Irish Stout. It sure was good!!

Served with soda bread biscuits, and Irish Stout. It sure was good!!

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SOURCE:   Unknown

Pistachio Cupcakes

Pistachio Cupcakes

Pistachio Cupcakes

This is a very good recipe for cupcakes that just happen to be green.  If you’re looking for something to bake for that St Patrick’s Day event, or just for your family, these might be what you’re looking for.

The inclusion of Pistachio pudding mix into the cupcake batter is what gives them the green color, plus a mild flavor of pistachio.  I wanted a stronger flavor in mine so I added a tiny bit of almond flavoring, and that, for me, was just enough.  The frosting is a white butter cream that I tinted green and then sprinkled the tops with green decorating sugar.  The cupcake itself is very moist because of the addition of sour cream or yogurt.

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I plan to keep this recipe handy because I think I will try substituting other flavors of pudding mix for the pistachio, and varying the frosting to match the cupcake.  It has the potential for being a basic cupcake recipe that lends itself to many variations.

PISTACHIO CUPCAKES

SERVINGS:     Makes  12

INGREDIENTS  and  DIRECTIONS:

You will need to have ready 3  mixing bowls;   a large mixer bowl,  and 2 other smaller bowls.  A muffin pan with paper liners, or well sprayed.  Preheat oven to 350*F.

1.  In your large mixer bowl, beat together all the following till thoroughly combined.

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oilIMG_3359
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond or pistachio flavoring, optional

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together—

  • 1  ( 3  1/8 oz. ) package pistachio instant pudding mix.  Sugar free is OK.
  • 1  2/3 cup flour

3.  In a small bowl, whisk together

  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt,  or sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk

4.  3/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts,  optional

5.  Starting and ending with flour, alternately beat in flour and yogurt/milk mixtures, scraping down the bowl several times.

6.  Stir in chopped nuts, if using.

7.  Spoon into paper-lined muffin pans, and bake at 350*F for 18 – 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.

8.  Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove to a wire rack for complete cooling before frosting.

Butter cream frosting tinted green.

Butter cream frosting tinted green.

BUTTER CREAM FROSTING

  • 1/2 cup  ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon flavoring;  vanilla, almond, or pistachio
  • 2  1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 2-3 drops green food coloring

1.  With an electric mixer, beat the butter till very soft and pale.  Beat in flavoring.

2.  Gradually sift in the confectioners’ sugar, beating well after each addition.  The more you beat at this stage, the lighter and fluffier the frosting will be.  Add milk a little at a time to achieve desired consistency for spreading or piping.

3.  To color, add drops of food coloring, and beat in to achieve desired level of color.

4.  Cover frosting with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for at least an hour to firm up.  It will keep up to a week stored in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before using.

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Decorating Tips:  Green decorating sugar is a nice touch for green/ St Patrick’s Day cupcakes; or, if using pistachio nuts in the cupcake batter, a few chopped pistachio nuts sprinkled on top would also be nice.

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SOURCE:   The Cupcake,  by Angela Drake,   for Paragon Books