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Help with a Sherry ....

Can someone chime in with a recommendation for a Sherry that would fare well in a recipe for Poppy Seed Cake. The absence of this liquor in my cabinet has been delaying my preparation for quite some time. All I require is 4 ounces of it in the recipe. I've deduced that the cake is going to be somewhat dense, based on some of the other ingredients. Salad oil, sour cream, sherry, and 4 eggs. No milk. No H20. I'm willing to experiment. I think the sherry here has the potential to put this cake over the top. Any suggestions? I don't drink sherry, but I would prefer something on the sweet(er) side. Can I substitute a brandy or cognac? I feel it's a matter of taste. Right?

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  1. Cognac's brandy, but sherry is wine with brandy so it can be a little more complex than brandy/cognac. id stick to sherry Aunties in my house would always use cream sherry (harvey's) in their holiday cakes, which were great. I would use Harvey's or Croft's or you could get crazy and buy a Tesco and use it in mixed drinks for company. If you nor anyone you know is gonna drink it tho, Harveys or Croft will do fine.

    1. While you could get sherry flavor with Taylor's or Harvey's cream sherry, but better ingredients make better dishes. Plus you might rather finish up the bottle by drinking it with the cake if you buy something better!

      Sherry is fortified wine, I woudn't say with cognac since it is Spanish wine (am I wrong?). The sweeter styles are cream, amoroso/oloroso dulce, Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel. PX are extremely sweet dessert wines, oloroso dulce might be the most interesting to drink.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kenito799

        kenito - I think it's a safe assumption that Spanish sherry makers don't use the most expensive brandy they can find (cognac) in a foreign country instead of making their own, or just buying good Spanish brandy, of which there are plenty.

      2. I think a Pedro Ximenez could be quite interesting (but you might want to reduce the sugar in the recipe a bit).

        1. You really don't want to substitute brandy for sherry. They are very different.

          If the recipe doesn't specify what type of sherry, you need to be a bit careful as some have noted because of sweetness. My guess is whoever wrote it was thinking of Harvey's cream or some other readily available brand. Use that as your judge of how sweet it should be (pretty sweet, but not PX sweet).

          1. Thank you for all your input. All very insightful, and very informative. Here's what I'll likely use primarily because 'I don't drink the stuff': ... http://www.harveys-usa.com/our_sherry...
            Two airline-size bottles, 1.7 oz?, and I should be good to go.

            1. I may be too late but I have an awesome recipe that calls for cream sherry. The brand I buy is Fairbanks.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lisar

                Lisar, you are not too late. I am *too lazy* (to cook). I will look for Fairbanks in my search.

              2. good luck to you. I am actually baking my second one this week right now. Everybody loves it! The cream sherry adds a rich butterscotchy flavor..not to mention it smells awesome while baking. I think there are also other brands of cream sherry.
                Happy new year!

                3 Replies
                1. re: lisar

                  The recipe came out great, lisar! The Fairbanks was wonderful! Inexpensive ($5 to $6), and perfect for my use. I love that complex, but, butterscotch-like flavor it imparts. It works well with this recipe believe it or not. Thank you. : )

                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                    Fairbanks is Gallo, and perfectly fine for use in cooking -- many fine restaurants use it regularly. For drinking, however, there is no substitute for true (Spanish) Sherry, and Lustau is among the finest.

                    1. re: Cheese Boy

                      Good. I am glad to see you got up off your duff and did some baking too!

                  2. I'd be tempted to try using a sherry that's a little more on the nutty side, like an amontillado. There's already sour cream in this recipe, so the cream component is taken care of~How much sugar is there in this recipe? The Lustau sherries are really tasty.

                    All that being said, I'm not sure you'll find it in minis, but you will find it in splits that are cheap.