- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dear Readers:

I have so enjoyed writing this column for the past three years. This week is my last column because I will spend my time testing and assembling an all-new Cake Mix Doctor cookbook and working on my own line of cake mix.

Please continue to visit my Web site, www.cakemixdoctor.com, for free newsletters and participation in the active community forum. And if you have any cooking questions about dinner, cake, you name it you can always e-mail me at anne@cakemixdoctor.com. The best to all of you, and happy baking.

Anne Byrn

In the heartland of Kentucky, especially in celebration of the first Saturday of May, there is one and only one whiskey suitable for drinking and cooking with, and that is bourbon.

Bourbon is the classic ingredient of the mint julep, quaffed on Derby Day, and it is a wonderful ingredient in baking as well.

This cake is just the right dessert to serve at your Kentucky Derby party. It contains buttermilk as well as golden raisins plumped in warm bourbon and orange zest. Plumping dried fruit in a liquid such as bourbon in the microwave oven is a fast way to soften and flavor the fruit. Simply place the fruit in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for 30 seconds.

Serve this cake with a typical Kentucky menu — mint juleps, chicken salad and cucumber sandwiches. We always place the names of the Derby horses in a hat and draw a number just before race time. Even if we can’t be in Kentucky, we can feel like we are, rooting for our winning horse, sipping a mint julep and savoring a slice of this fragrant cake.

Kentucky buttermilk raisin cake

The preparation time is 15 minutes, the baking time is 45 to 50 minutes, and the assembly time is 5 minutes.

CAKE:

Vegetable oil spray for misting the pan

Flour for dusting the pan

1 cup golden raisins

½ cup bourbon

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix

1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix

1 cup buttermilk

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Hot buttered glaze:

4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter

½ cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup bourbon

1/4 cup water

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pan aside.

Place the raisins, bourbon and orange zest in a small saucepan and warm over low heat or place in a glass bowl in the microwave oven to heat on high for 30 seconds. Set aside.

Place the cake mix, pudding mix, buttermilk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.

Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more, scraping the sides down again, if needed. The batter should look thick and smooth.

Fold in the raisin and bourbon mixture until it is well distributed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula. Place the pan in the oven.

Bake the cake until it is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.

Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert it on a serving platter.

Prepare the glaze. Place the butter, brown sugar, bourbon and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the glaze to a boil, stirring. Boil for 3 minutes.

Poke holes in the top of the cake with a wooden skewer or toothpick. Spoon the hot glaze over the top of the cake, allowing it to seep into the holes and drizzle down the sides and into the center of the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing.

Store this cake, covered in plastic wrap or under a glass cake dome, at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or freeze it, wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to 6 months. Thaw the cake overnight on the counter before serving. Makes 16 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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