- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 14, 2006

In America, as St. Patrick’s Day nears, we plan corned beef dinners, complete with boiled cabbage and green beer. In Ireland, it’s a different scene, with chicken or fish more likely on the menu, whether it be at home or in the local pub.

I have learned to do what feels right on festive days such as St. Patrick’s. Be a little Irish and a little American at the same time. Cook what you enjoy, just serve some nice Irish beer on the side.

Cakes in Ireland are wonderful earthy confections made of sturdy flours spiced with nutmeg or ginger and packed with currants and almonds and candied fruit. With true Irish tradition in mind, and an American thirst for something fast and flashy, here is a cake to serve at your St. Patrick’s Day party.

In Ireland, it would be referred to as a seed cake, since caraway seeds are often used along with almonds in buttery cakes. If you don’t care for caraway, or you think seeds belong on rye bread, play it safe and use currants instead.

Irish almond and caraway cake


Vegetable oil spray for misting the pan

Flour for dusting the pan

1 18.25-ounce package plain yellow cake mix

1 3.4-ounce package vanilla instant pudding mix

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup water

1/3 cup Irish whiskey

4 large eggs

1 cup finely chopped slivered almonds

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest


1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Irish whiskey

Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set pan aside.

Place cake mix, pudding mix, oil, ½ cup water, whiskey and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop machine and scrape down side of bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more, scraping side down again if needed. The batter should look thick and well-blended.

Fold in almonds, caraway seeds and lemon zest. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it out with a rubber spatula. Place pan on center rack of preheated 325-degree oven.

Bake cake until golden brown and just starting to pull away from side of pan, 48 to 52 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife around edge of cake and invert it onto a rack to cool for 30 minutes more.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Combine confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and whiskey in a small bowl, and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Slide cake onto a serving platter and pour glaze over cake, letting it drizzle down the sides and into the center. Let the glaze set before slicing the cake. Makes 16 servings.


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