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Hi Bold Bakers!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: This Irish Whiskey Cake Recipe delivers an irresistibly delicious dessert featuring sweet raisins, refreshing lemon zest, soft and moist cake… Best of all? Infused with worldwide loved boozy Irish Whiskey that’s from my hometown Wexford! It’s a must for celebrating the legendary life of St. Patrick and Irish culture, and the best way for displaying my family pride!
History Of The O’Driscoll Family
I am proud to say that O’Driscoll’s Irish Whiskey is a family business. It is founded by my cousin, Michael J Stafford the managing director of Stafford Bonded in my home town of Wexford, Ireland. Michael carried on the family business created by our grandfather (James Stafford) and also our fathers (George Stafford Snr and Michael Stafford Snr). Michael has chronicled the history of the Stafford family in Wexford beautifully on the Stafford Bonded website . O’Driscoll’s Irish Whiskey is inspired by Diarmuid O’Driscoll, Michael’s other Grandfather. A pillar in the family, an inspiration and a great story teller. You can meet Diarmuid here.
The O’Driscolls were a family of pirates and smugglers known to build castles, harbors, and ships. By the 15th century, they were one of the notoriously strongest clans in Ireland. Their territories and wealth exceeded the ordinary with ownership of many different castles in the Baltimore area of Cork and surrounding islands.
While land properties made up a considerable portion of their power, it was the wild Atlantic Ocean that was their real domain – and only a few dared to enter the O’Driscolls’ waters without an invitation. So infamous were the O’Driscolls that in 1450, Henry VI decreed that no one from Waterford and Wexford could fish in this family’s territory or else they would be met with heavy penalties or forfeiture.
The O’Driscoll family’s luck ran until the 17th century when they were forced to surrender to the English Crown. Though they may have surrendered, the O’Driscolls remain a force in County Cork to this day with one of their influences on a leading brand of whiskey in Ireland.
Table of Contents
What is Irish Whiskey Cake?
Irish Whiskey cake is a historical bake that has withstood the test of time. The earliest writing about it extends as far back as the 1700s, in the era when alcohol significantly helped bakers preserve baked goods besides enhancing flavors. As European colonists migrated to the Americas, whiskey cake soon found its way across the Atlantic Ocean and proved to be a success.
Irish Whiskey Cake Recipe Ingredients
- Raisins: After soaking in Whiskey with lemon zest, raisins will plump up to add moisture, sweetness, and booze from Whiskey to the cake!
- Lemon zest: Fresh lemon zest is an amazing balance of the richness of this cake.
- Irish Whiskey: I used O’Driscolls Irish whiskey–a smooth and creamy texture with vanilla and caramel flavors, it’s the perfect addition to spice up your cake. Feel free to use other liquor or liqueurs if you prefer.
- Butter: I always use salted butter in baking unless specified otherwise. You can use unsalted here if desired. At room temperature: when you push the butter and it makes an indent, but your finger doesn’t easily squish right through.
- Dark brown sugar: Dark Brown Sugar does not only sweeten and bind ingredients, but also adds moisture, a caramel and molassesy flavor and depth to baked goods. Make it at home if it’s not easily available!
- Eggs: Large eggs. Eggs add richness and incorporate air into the batter to help the cake rise. Make sure eggs are at room temperature (around 76°F/24°C).
- All-purpose flour:All-purpose flour (plain flour) has the perfect amount of gluten to support the structure holding mix-ins but still yields a light and fluffy texture. Use gluten-free all-purpose blend flour if needed!
- Baking powder: An important leavener to make the cake rise properly.
- Ground cloves: A small amount goes a long way! Ground cloves add warmth to the cake.
- Salt: A pinch of salt enhances all the other flavors.
How To Make Irish Whiskey Cake:
- Prepare raisin mixture: in a small saucepan on the stovetop, cover and warm the mixture of raisins, lemon zest and O’Driscoll’s Irish Whiskey over medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Once steaming, set aside to soak (covered tightly) for a minimum 1 hour (or up to overnight).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and butter then line an 8×8-inch (20x20cm) cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Make butter mixture: in the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and brown sugar on medium-high until pale and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and continue beating to fully combine and aerate the eggs. scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times.
- Make the dry-ingredient mixture by combining the flour, baking powder, salt and cloves.Then gradually stir this dry mixture at low speed into the butter mixture until mostly combined.
- Assemble the batter: stir in the raisin mixture and any remaining liquid in the bowl on low until everything is evenly combined. (The batter will be very thick.)
- Bake: spread evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool: in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve cake slices with butter and a cup of tea. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Or freeze for up to 2 months for longer storage.
Does the Alcohol Cook off in Irish Whiskey Cake Recipe?
The Whiskey will decrease after baking but there will still be alcohol remaining. However, you can definitely make alcohol-free versions so that everyone can enjoy a slice!
Can You Freeze Irish Whiskey Cake and How?
Once the cake cools down completely, wrap individual slices tightly with a few layers of plastic wrap. Then store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
How to Reheat Irish Whiskey Cake?
If frozen, defrost in the fridge overnight.
MICROWAVE: Place the cake covered with a damp cloth or paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave it at 10-second intervals until warm throughout.
BAKE: Place the cake in an oven-safe dish covered with tin foil. Bake it at 300°F/150°C for roughly 10 minutes or until warm throughout.
STEAM: Bring water in the steamer to a steady simmer then carefully place in the cake. Turn off the heat and leave the cake in the pot with the lid on for 10 minutes or so, until the cake has softened and is as good as new.
Is it Whiskey Spelled Wrong?
Of course not! Scotch whisky doesn’t have an “e”, but other whiskies, including Irish are spelled “whiskey”. Fun fact!
How to Make the Irish Whiskey Cake Recipe Alcohol-Free?
You can use apple juice, orange juice, or other pure fruit juice which also tends to ferment to yield similar booze with alcohol. Note that without alcohol as a preservative, cakes will last for a shorter time.
Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips
- Be sure to keep the soaking raisins airtight or the whiskey will evaporate before it soaks into the raisins.
- It will take 3-4 medium lemons or 6-9 small lemons to get 3 tablespoons of zest but don’t skimp on it. It seems like a lot but it will give this cake the most amazing flavor.
- The batter will be very, very thick – this is to be expected.
- This cake has a very subtle whiskey flavor – for something more pronounced, make a whiskey syrup by combining ½ cup (4 oz/115 g) sugar, 1/3 cup (2 ½ floz/71 ml) whiskey, 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons (1 oz/28 g) butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a small pot over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Once the cake is baked and still hot, poke holes all over the cake and pour the syrup over the cake while it is still in the pan. Cover and leave the cake in the pan to absorb the syrup for several hours while it cools.