The Foolproof Way To Add Booze To Cake

Whether or not you're aware, you are probably already baking with booze regularly. Vanilla extract is between 35 and 40 ABV, which means you can get drunk off the stuff (although it's not recommended). Lemon and peppermint extracts are even boozier, coming in at 83% and 89% ABV, respectively. Since extracts have intense flavors, many recipes only call for a teaspoon or less. If you want to flavor your cakes, cookies, and other baked goods with rum, whiskey, or a similar spirit, you may need to add a bit more, as some recipes call for anywhere between two tablespoons up to half a cup or more.

If you don't want the boozy flavor to overwhelm your baked goods, our top tip is to start slow. Just stir in a small bit at a time, perhaps only a teaspoon or so, adding more until you can taste it, but the flavor is not too strong. Be aware, though, that some of the boozy taste will cook out of the final product, as will some (although not all) of the alcohol. Depending on how long you cook it, it's possible that up to 85% of the booze could remain in the finished dish. One other thing to be aware of is that if you are adding much more than a teaspoon or two of alcohol to a dough or batter, you will need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe accordingly.

You can also add booze after baking

If you want the full flavor and strength of whatever spirit you are using to bake with, the best way to make sure none of it cooks out is by adding it to the dish after it's been baked. Infusing your baked goods with booze is a time-honored method for doing so. If you're making a fruitcake or something similarly sturdy and long-lasting, you can wrap it in cheesecloth soaked with your alcohol of choice, adding more booze every so often to keep the cake moist. If you're making a more delicate cake or one that you'd prefer to eat right away, you can make a liquor-spiked sugar syrup and pour it over the top, perhaps poking a few holes to help it soak in.

Alcohol can also be used to flavor the cake's frosting or glaze. If you're making a glaze, mix the alcohol with powdered sugar until it's of drizzling consistency. If you're going with a buttercream frosting, you can replace half of the milk with brandy, tequila, amaretto, or what have you. A whipped cream topping can also be liquored up, but you'll need to be careful not to add too much liquid. Whip the cream and sweeten it to taste, then stir in just a single tablespoon of spirits. If you prefer a subtler hint of boozy flavor, try it with just a single teaspoon, then add another one if needed.