My friend Pam and I made a momentous discovery the other day. Really, we felt that this discovery put us on the level of a Christopher Columbus or an Isaac Newton. Get this: when you mix butter and scotch*, it makes a butterscotch. Isn't that unbelievable? Thank God we got something out of four years of horrendously expensive Ivy League education.
It all started when Pam called me up to discuss our impending baking date. We knew that whatever we made should involve chocolate, and if I have to explain why, then you are probably a hopeless case like my brother-in-law. But Pam also had an open bottle of bourbon left over from a recent social engagement and, looking to put it to good use, we decided to incorporate it into our baking. We scoured the cookbooks for a good bourbon-involving recipe but, alas, we could not find one with the ingredients we had on hand. At last we decided to just make a regular chocolate cake and pour on some bourbon-y glaze.
We picked Dorie Greenspan's Almost-Fudge Gateau for our cake and found our glaze on the Internet. Dorie had recently come to Brown and given a wonderful lecture on the research she did for her book Paris Sweets. Sadly, she did not remember me from our epic meeting in November of 2009, but I'm sure she meets a zillion fans a year and she was extremely sweet and gracious as always, even as I acted like a huge embarrassing dork. However, I don't think that the gateau was all that special. Part of it may have been the way it looked - rather homely, especially after we punctured it all over with chopsticks. Part of it may have been that we didn't include Dorie's glaze. But I think I would have found it to be a little dense and dry if we hadn't added our own glaze and hence made our magical discovery.
As I said, we searched "bourbon cake glaze" pulled a random recipe off of the Internet, but it was a great success! We halved the recipe and had more than enough, which was lucky because couldn't stop eating the glaze out of the pot! It was deliriously yummy, and it soaked the cake all the way through the chopstick holes and made it moist and flavorful. We would recommend leaving the cake in the springform pan while you pour on the glaze so that it doesn't all run off the sides, and then leave it in the fridge for around five to ten minutes so that it solidifies somewhat but doesn't harden so much that you can't cut the cake out of the pan. Also, this is best served the day after, the flavor is much richer after it's had time to sit and soak for a bit. Sometimes, the best discoveries happen by accident!
*And a whole bunch of other crap.
From Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Blogger's note: I've included her glaze, in case you want to try the gateau with that
Stir 2 teaspoons water and baking soda in small bowl to dissolve baking soda. Bring sugar, buttermilk, butter, and corn syrup to boil in heavy 6-quart saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and melt butter. Reduce heat to medium-high. Stir in baking soda mixture (glaze will bubble). Boil until sauce is golden and slightly thickened, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in bourbon and vanilla. Pour on cake.