Saturday, January 31, 2009

Boozy Baking

After the success of my chai recipes, I’ve started wondering which others of my favorite flavors I could meld into new baking projects. Seeing as how “loaded baked potato” doesn’t exactly come down on the dessert side of the menu, I turned to one of my other favorites: wine.

After a study abroad stint in Paris a few years ago, I came back to the States with a serious wine and cheese habit. However, while I may be an oenophile, I am certainly no sommelier. I might play along with my drinking companions when they start to rave about the “blackberry notes,” or the “honeysuckle in the nose” (I’m not joking…) but if you start to tell me about the “spicy earth flavors and cedar finish,” I will probably tell you that I just think it tastes like dirt. That being said, I know what I like (anything red) and what I don’t (Chardonnay).

I don’t have to tell you that it’s not uncommon to use wine in cooking. Probably all of our mothers have one of those kitschy kitchen placards saying something about how they love to cook with wine—if there’s any left! (chortle, chortle). But wine in baking? Similarly to cooking, when baking with wine the alcohol cooks out during the baking process leaving only the flavor. I thought a white wine cake would be nice, but if you’d like a chocolate/red wine variety, this one looks amazing. I think the white wine glaze also adds a lot but if there’s still not enough wine flavor for your taste, just go ahead and have a glass alongside :) Next I think I’d like to experiment with infusing champagne flavor into a sponge or angel food cake, and now I have plenty of reasons to keep hanging out at my new favorite wine bar, Vinoteca. You know, for…inspiration.

White Wine Cake with Glaze
1 box white or yellow cake mix
1 (3 ¾ ounce) box instant pudding (omit if using a cake mix with pudding included)
½ cup sugar (or ¼ cup white and ¼ cup brown sugars)
4 eggs
½ cup canola oil
½ cup water
½ cup white wine
1 ½ cups chopped pecans (optional)
2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix all ingredients, except nuts (if using) for 1 minute on low speed. Scrape sides of bowl, and mix on medium speed for two minutes. Fold in 1 cup of pecans. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube or bundt pan, and sprinkle remaining pecans on bottom of pan. Add cake batter and place in oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Cool on baking rack

1 stick butter
1/4 c. water
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. white wine

Boil butter, sugar and water 4 to 5 minutes. Add wine, bring back boil. Pour 1/2 glaze over cake while still in pan. Let stand for 10 minutes. Turn cake out on plate, pour on remaining glaze.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry for the glitches and punctuation mistakes in this post, I'm pretty technologically useless and can't seem to fix these after several tries.

    Also one note about bundts, I love the shape but am usually wary of them because they typically come out like overcooked bricks. This one however was light and spongy even the next day.