• Whisky or Whiskey, there’s a cake for both

    Well, I’m in trouble with one reader in particular who apparently loves me only for my cooking. First she complained that I wasn’t in the paper every week, now she’s complaining that, although I wrote a column for two weeks in a row, I didn’t put a recipe in last week, just a story.

    So, Sylvia, this week I have two recipes. You can’t say I never gave you anything.

    My plea for a recipe for Scottish imperial cakes has netted me a couple of interesting recipes. Barbie writes that her Irish priest friend, Fr. Mike, has shared his recipe for Irish Whiskey Cake. It even calls for the proper brand of Irish whiskey – Jameson’s.

    Irish Whiskey Cake

    1 box of yellow cake mix

    1 box instant vanilla pudding

    4 eggs

    ½ c. vegetable oil

    1 c. whole milk

    ¼ c. Jameson’s for the cake

    ¼ c. Jameson’s for the cook (not obligatory)

    Mix the dry ingredients first. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Pour them together and mix for about 10 or 11 turns of the spatula (that’s what it says in the recipe, and who am I to argue with and Irish priest?). Grease the pan well, pour it in, and bake at 350 for 50 to 60 minutes.

    While it’s baking, you can make the topping and enjoy the extra Jameson’s.


    1 stick of butter

    1 c. sugar

    ½ c. Jameson’s for the topping

    ½ c. Jameson’s for the tipping (optional)

    Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the sugar and whiskey. Cook until the sugar is completely dissolved but don’t burn it.

    When the cake comes out of the oven, poke holes in the top with a fork all around the cake. Pour the topping over it and leave it in the pan until you’re ready to serve it, and then pour the topping over it.

    Now, Fr. Mike has also shared a recipe for Honey and Whisky Cake. Note the spelling of “whisky.” There are those who say the only difference between Irish Whiskey and Scottish whisky is the “e” but I beg to differ. Scotch, Scottish whisky, has a peaty aroma that comes up in your nose. In fact, there’s a law that only whiskies made in Scotland and aged for at least three years in oak casks can be called “Scotch.” And Scotch is a drink, not a nationality. People are Scottish. Whisky is Scotch.

    Wales, Canada and Japan also spell theirs “whisky.”

    If they’re made in Ireland they’re spelled with an “e” and the plural is “whiskeys.”

    If they’re made in America, they usually get other names – bourbon or rye among others. Jack Daniel’s seems to stand alone, as well it should.

    I found this little ditty while I was poking around the Internet for corroboration on what I always thought I knew about the subject:

    Whisky or Whiskey?

    A Scotsman who spells

    Whisky with a n ‘e’,

    should be hand cuffed

    and thrown head first in the Dee.

    In the USA and Ireland,

    it’s spelt with an ‘e’

    but in Scotland

    it’s real ‘Whisky’.

    So if you see Whisky

    and it has an ‘e’,

    only take it,

    if you get it for free!

    For the name is not the same

    and it never will be,

    a dram is only a real dram,

    from a bottle of ‘Scotch Whisky’.

    Stanley Bruce. 20th April, 2004

    The Isle of Man, famous otherwise for motorcycle racing, has begun distilling whisky. I was there a few years ago for the TT and was told that they were going straight for the gold and were going to age theirs for 12 years. I want to be there when they open that first bottle, preferably as I watch the Manx Grand Prix.

    But a single malt Scotch is the one I prefer. When we were in Northern Ireland, we toured the Bushmill’s Distillery. I volunteered to take part in a blind tasting (it was a tough job, but as the tour escort I felt it was my duty). The Bushmill’s was nice and smooth, and I told them it was the best so they’d let me go home, but of course I picked out the single malt Scotch and that’s the one I finished off. There are some pretty pricey Scotches out there, so I recommend a blended Scotch for the cake recipe. No point in cooking with a good single malt, especially since the alcohol goes away in the cooking process.

    Honey and Whisky Cake

    6 oz. self-rising flour

    6 oz. butter

    6 oz. light brown sugar

    3 eggs, beaten

    4 Tbsp. Scotch

    Rind of a small orange, grated

    Butter icing

    6 oz. powdered sugar

    2 oz. butter

    2 Tbsp. honey

    Juice from a small orange

    Toasted almond flakes for decoration

    Cream the butter and sugar together, add the orange rind and beat in the eggs a little at a time. Whisk (nothing to do with whisky) until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Sift in half the self-rising flour and pour in the Scotch. Fold in to the mixture. Sift in the remaining flour and again fold in. Grease two 7-inch cake tins and pour half in each tin. Smooth the tops a bit. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 until the cake is a light golden color. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

    To make the topping: Put the butter, honey, and one tablespoon of orange juice in a mixing bowl. Slowly sift in the sugar and stir until they are combined. Use half the butter cream as a sandwich filling between the two layers of the cake and spread the rest smoothly on top. Decorate with the toasted almonds.

    Fr. Mike also recommends 1-1.2 oz. Scotch to sip with the cake. No need to measure exactly.

    In August we’re going back to Ireland. I’ve built a tour of the Jameson’s Distillery into the trip and I hope they ask for volunteers. I’ll let you know.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on April 16, 2009

    Topics: Current Edition, The Retired Firehouse Cook


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