Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kentucky Bourbon Cake with Blueberry Bourbon Basil Glaze

What's better than drinking delicious Bourbon?  Baking with it.  And drinking it.  At the same time.

Let's get Frisky with Whiskey.

This recipe was inspired by a conversation my friend and I were having about the glories of the great state of Oregon. Vineyards, forest, ocean, crater lakes, beer, all the hipster material you could ask for.  What's not to love?
We started an in-depth discussion about doughnuts (that's normal) and in particular the creative flavors of Blue Star Donuts in downtown Portland.  He mentioned their iconic doughnut that is enrobed in a Blueberry Bourbon Basil glaze and I'm pretty sure I stopped listening all together. The mere imagining of tasting all of these flavors together took over my mind.  I decided right there that I must create a version of this earth-shattering flavor vortex.

How could I up the ante?  Well why not put the glaze on top of a whole cake instead of a doughnut.  And why not bake it in a tube pan so it looks like an enormous doughnut anyway (zing!).  And if there's Bourbon in the glaze, there's no reason why it shouldn't be in the cake too.  It's fairness like this that should be more prevalent in this world.

It's not that I doubted Blue Star, but you really don't know the magic of how these flavors meld together until you taste it yourself.  Sweet and tart blueberry, herbal-lemon-slight anise basil, the spicy vanilla Bourbon.  And then there's the cake!  Oh, the cake.  The buttery vanilla and Bourbon pillow upon which the glaze happily rests.
There's one Blue Star reviewer online who states: "Blueberry Basil Bourbon - sounds weird, TASTE LIKE RAINBOWS"

I concur, my friend. I concur.

So celebrate Rainbows and America and crack open a bottle of Kentucky Bourbon.  It makes measuring flour and butter that much more fun.
And, in the end, you can have your cake and drink it too.

Kentucky Bourbon Cake with Blueberry Bourbon Basil Glaze


3 cups (12 ounces) sifted cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) firmly packed brown sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup bourbon
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2-3 tablespoons bourbon
3 cups sifted powdered sugar

Grease a 10-cup metal tube or bundt pan. Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350°F.

To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a bowl, then whisk the mixture by hand to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. As you make the batter, stop the mixer frequently and scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend in the eggs one at a time and add the vanilla. Combine the bourbon and buttermilk in a small bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk-bourbon mixture in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. After each addition, mix until just barely blended and stop and scrape the bowl. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and complete the blending by hand with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the cake is golden and springs back when touched, 40 to 45 minutes.  Let the cake cool completely and remove from the pan.

To make the glaze start by pulsing the blueberries, basil and 2 tablespoons bourbon in a food processor or blender until smooth.  

In a large bowl, measure out the powdered sugar and gradually stir in the blueberry mixture a few spoonfuls at a time until your desired consistency is reached (I used it all).  Taste and add the last tablespoon of bourbon if desired.  Drizzle over cooled cake.

Cheers to baking with libations.  ...Libaking?

I wont quit my day job.