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Geeky Eats Reviews: Booze Cakes

Booze Cakes by Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone from Quirk Books

I enjoy baking and cooking with alcohol, as evidenced by my holiday Rum Cake recipe. I have found that the right libation can add a depth of flavor to food in subtle or pronounced ways, depending on how it is used. So, when I was offered the opportunity to review one of Quirk Books cookbooks: Booze Cakes, by Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone, I was very excited to try out some new alcohol infused recipes.

Booze Cakes’ introduction has a lot of great basic information particularly for a novice baker, or those less familiar with alcohol. I found the section of the introduction that approximates how much alcohol is retained in your baked goods, based on method of use and cooking time, to be a very helpful reference. There are fun tips for garnishes and helpful general baking guidelines as well.

Castella and Stone also use the introduction to break down the alcohols used in their recipes by type and provide more detailed information about each. While the information and charts describing different types alcohol are overall very helpful there are two inconsistencies I did want to point out.

First, as a point of information for those less familiar with alcohol, there are a number of name brands listed among the liqueurs. A more generic version of these liqueurs can be difficult to find however, which is likely why the authors chose to use the name brands as their examples. There is also an error in the section on whisky. Canadian whisky is said to be “made from potatoes” which is not the case. Canadian whisky is, as their second note correctly indicates, a “blended whisky” meaning it is made from a blend of grains.

However, you do not have to be an expert on alcohol to enjoy baking with it. If you stick by the authors recommendation to bake with the alcohols you enjoy drinking your confections will be just as delicious as your favorite cocktail.

Castella and Stone divide their recipes into four sections: classic booze cakes, cocktail cakes, cake shots and cakes with a twist. Each recipe has helpful reference at the top indicating the type of cake, number of servings, baking time, “booze meter” which is a general indication of the amount of alcohol in the cake, and they also include recommended occasions for serving. Many of the recipes have suggested variations or accompanying cocktail recipes, some have both.

The recipes are clear and well laid out. As a result they are easy to understand and to follow. The majority of the recipes are completely from scratch. A few start with a boxed mix and then dress them up with additional ingredients and garnishes, these recipes are a fun, quick, and easy place to start for the more novice baker.

The authors include a good collection of cakes that have traditionally contained alcohol in their classic section, including golden rum cake and tiramisu. They also put an interesting spin on a few of the classics; turning banana’s foster into a gingerbread cupcake, layering their black forest cupcake with an untraditional vodka infused chocolate pudding, and a champagne layer cake that actually has champagne in it.

The recipes I was most excited to try were the cocktail cakes, each inspired by a popular cocktail. My favorites were the mint julep cupcakes, rum and coke whoopie pies, tequila sunrise bundt cake, and who could resist a top-shelf margarita cheesecake. These inventive recipes have all the great flavors of the cocktails that inspired them in delectable dessert form.

Booze Cakes – Tequila Sunrise Cake

I found Booze Cakes to be a fun and informative journey into baking with alcohol and will definitely be returning to these recipes next time I am entertaining.

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