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Dec 2, 2010 03:18 PM

Baking with Booze, for those who enjoy some holiday cheer

Moving our sub-discussion from another thread.

During this festive, wintery season, adding a little cheer to your baked goods always seems right. I'll start with a real oldie but goodie, and a cherished family favorite. Don't worry that it's made with cake mix and instant pudding, you won't get any complaints.


1 box chocolate moist cake mix (yellow is OK too)
1 package of instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
1 cup oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup Kahlua
1/2 cup water (you could use more vodka but it will knock some people over!)
tsp instant espresso
a handful of mini chocolate chips, coated in flour

for glaze: 1/4 cup Kahlua
1 cup confectioner sugar
1/4 stick melted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a bundt pan.
Combine cake mix, pudding, eggs, oil, liquors and water. Beat for 4 minutes. Stir in chips.
Bake for 55 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Make glaze, poke holes in cake and pour slowly over.
Can dust with more confectioners sugar before serving.

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  1. hahaha! In the 70's (and maybe earlier!) so many people were making the Bacardi Rum Cake...I've never heard of this Black Russian one...I don't partake of strong proof stuff but that's funny!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Val

      There's a similar one made with Amaretto, too, with tons of ground almonds added; it's almost too much really. I recall at least a cup of the stuff in all. Those were the days!

    2. I love a baba au rhum in the winter. Pair it with hot buttered rum to drink, and you'll have a festive night!

      23 Replies
      1. re: edwardspk

        Yes you will, edward!

        Here's one I made last winter, it's quite simple, tasty and I have to admit, doesn't really fit in with what I think of as a boozy cake, due to only containing 5 Tbsp. of dark rum, but the rum, extra butter, lemon juice and zest, and brown sugar really enhances the flavor and texture of the normally rather pedestrian marble cake:

        German Chocolate Marble Cake


        9 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
        2 1/2 c all purpose flour, scooped and leveled
        2 tsp baking powder
        1/2 tsp table salt
        2 tsp. instant espresso powder, optional but very nice
        3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
        1 cup granulated sugar
        3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
        7 large eggs; at room temperature
        1 tbsp grated lemon zest, about 3 lemon's worth
        4 tbsp fresh lemon juice, about two lemon's worth
        5 tbsp dark rum; divided, 2 tbsp for yellow batter + 3 tbsp for chocolate batter
        3 tbsp milk
        1/2 tsp baking soda (this goes into the chocolate batter, not with the initial mix of dry ingredients)

        Butter a 10-inch tube pan and dust with flour or unflavored dry bread crumbs, my personal favorite. Set a rack at the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place the bowl over a pan of hot, not simmering, water to melt. Remove the bowl from the pan when the chocolate has melted stir, then allow the chocolate to cool while preparing the rest of the ingredients. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and stir well to mix. Set aside. Use an electric mixer set at medium speed, to beat the butter and sugar until light, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 or 2 at a time, beating well between each addition (after all the eggs are added, the mixture may seem separated, this does not matter). Beat in the lemon zest, juice and 2 tablespoons of the rum. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Remove 3 cups of the batter to a bowl. Stir remaining 3 tablespoons rum, milk and baking soda into the chocolate and immediately beat the chocolate mixture into the reserved batter. Spread the chocolate batter evenly in the prepared pan, then top with the plain batter. Plunge a knife or spatula into the cake batter and cut up and down through the batter. Repeat every inch around the cake to marbleize the 2 batters. Bake the cake about 1 hour, or until a knife, not cake tester, inserted halfway between the edge of the pan and the tube emerges clean, or maybe with just a few crumbs adhering to it. Do not overbake. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert the cake to the rack to cool completely. This recipe yields one 10-inch tube cake. Does not need to be refrigerated, just wrap tightly.

        This cake is nice brushed with a sugar syrup-dark rum glaze. Nothing else is needed, no icing, no whipped cream, just friends and family, good brewed coffee, maybe more rum...

        Here's a simple basic rum glaze:

        1 stick unsalted butter
        1 cup granulated sugar
        1/4 cup water
        1/2 cup dark rum

        Melt butter, add sugar and water, boil for 5-6 minutes, add rum, cool slightly and glaze cake, either by perforating or just ladle small amounts over cake, allowing it to absorb. Enjoy!

        1. re: edwardspk

          I'm crazy about boozy desserts, but a mild warning:
          I made my first baba au rhum last Christmas. Of course I was excited to taste it, and did so immediately, and *hated* the harsh very obvious alcohol bite. I thought oh well, not a keeper. Tried a small slice the next day -- ooh ooh-- it had mellowed/evaporated, and I loved it. It's a wonderful dessert !

          1. re: blue room

            I'm looking forward to making boozy balls of some sort--either Cruzan vanilla rum or bourbon. Whatever spirit (!) moves me that day. I made them last year with Nilla Wafers and thought I could do better by buzzing up Bahlsen butter biscuits...will have to report back. :) Right there with you on boozy, mmm, mmmmmmmm!

            1. re: kattyeyes

              Hahaha. ok. Them rum balls, my mom had to keep me away from them at a family party when I was 15!! Nomnomnom. Katty, I know you have some boozy recipes up your sleeve!

              blue room, yes, most often boozy cakes, or any baking with larger amounts of alcohol need to mellow, at least overnight.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                It's odd that the baba au rhum recipes don't say to "make this a day ahead". I used Ina Garten's, but can't find that instruction in the other baba recipes i've looked at, either.

                1. re: blue room

                  I love Ina, but it should have been mentioned yay or nay; probably an editing issue more than Ina's. I haven't ever seen instructions for saving baba au rhum for a few days. I have only eaten them freshly baked.

                2. re: bushwickgirl

                  I've had to hide my rum and bourbon balls in the freezer this year because my 16 year old loves them. I told her she could have a maximum of two per day, and only if her homework was done.

                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      My niece is 30 now, but I just found out that my bourbon balls were her favorite Christmas memory from childhood on!

                      1. re: coll

                        That is so nice, isn't it?

                        I'm glad this thread came back to life this year; it was so much fun last year, and it perfect for the holiday season.

                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                          I just "hooked up" with some people I worked with back in the 70s, and was very pleased to find out they remember me for my bourbon balls, eggnog and birthday cakes (mostly boozy, we had a very cool boss). I was in the music business back then, those were the days.

                3. re: kattyeyes

                  I just made some bourbon balls

                  1 box Nilla wafers and blended in a food pro.
                  1.5 cups of pecans also chopped fine
                  1 cup confectioners sugar
                  3 Tbs cocoa powder
                  5 Tbs light Karo syrup
                  1/2-3/4 cup of bourbon

                  Blend and let sit in the fridge to firm. Roll and coat.

                  Possible coatings could be powdered sugar, cocoa powder, nuts, chocolate sprinkles or anything else you would think would go well.

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    NOM NOM NOM!!! That's pretty much the recipe I have, too, 'cept mine only had cocoa powder on the yours is inside...hmmm...NICE! I also added 4 to 5 turns of coarse ground salt 'cause I like a little salt with my sweet and I had used vanilla rum...I'll be curious how they turn out with the butter biscuits. Hard to go wrong when you like all the ingredients, of course. :) God, I want these right now...

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      Salt is a great idea! And maybe a dab of vanilla, I love the idea of the rum but have a giant new bottle of Jack that I need to get started. These are the first "cookies" I make every year, it's a good warm up. In more ways than one, if you like a nip of bourbon.

                      I gave up coating mine, if it's powder it just disappears (probably because I add the maximum amount of bourbon). I tried dipping in chocolate but that was so messy. Everyone seems to like them fine naked!

                      1. re: coll

                        <<it's a good warm up. In more ways than one, if you like a nip of bourbon.>> Yes, ma'am! And, on that note, I think I must make some this morning....nekked even (them, not me)...and max bourbon amount noted. :) By the way, I have vanilla Karo, so that's another way to get the vanilla in there besides extract.

                        Too bad you threw away that Galliano (does it expire?)...while we're at it, this has been on my to-try list from the King Arthur Flour site from some time--it's the Harvey Wallbanger cake, but from scratch. I had it the dirty way originally and still thought it was damn good...but I cannot lie: I love a good box cake. :)

                        1. re: kattyeyes

                          I seem to remember the Harvey Wallbanger cake I made being layered. Bet I still have the recipe in my oldest box, along with Grasshopper Pie. Forget it, I am NOT buying another bottle of Galliano, it'd come to the grave with me at this point.

                          1. re: coll

                            HA HA...always handy to have something to drink on the other side! They must have ovens for us to play with in the great beyond, right? ;)

                            1. re: kattyeyes

                              How could it be Heaven otherwise?

                            2. re: coll

                              OMG I was looking in the liquor cabinet getting ready for Christmas, and I still have about a half cup of Galliano in there. What the heck!

                              1. re: coll

                                YEEHAAA! Message from the universe to coll: time to make that Harvey Wallbanger cake!

                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                  New Years, I think. Gotta get rid of this damn bottle. It's like the Twilight Zone.

                      2. re: scubadoo97

                        Thank you for that big batch recipe - made them tonight. With one of my kids who felt like baking and only ate chocolate jimmies - I'm pretty sure. I added vanilla per coll's suggestion. The balls were just right; sticky enough to hold the chocolate sprinkles.

                  2. re: edwardspk

                    Would you by any chance have the recipe to share?

                  3. How fab--so the booziness doesn't bake out? I only know of the chocolate cake you poke holes in, then soak with Kahlua--that so-called "better-than" (whatever) concoction of the 80s. Then again, there is Harvey Wallbanger cake. I don't remember it making me tipsy, though, and I'm the ultimate lightweight! ;) Maybe need that heavy-duty liquored up whipped cream on top (KIDDING!)...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      Oh I forgot all about Harvey Wallbanger, too bad I just threw away my ancient bottle of Galliano or I would think about making one sometime this season, I'm pretty sure the recipe is still in my box.

                      I never thought about the booziness baking out, but you can definitely taste it. I guess you could pour some more over after if you wanted, why not? But the batter is really rich and maybe that's due to the liquor, it doesn't taste like cake mix at all.

                    2. Let's mention a few resources for interested posters:

                      The Boozy Baker, initially recommended to me by souschef, and lately by coll:


                      Booze Cakes:


                      23 Replies
                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        Now THAT is up this kat's alley fer shurr. HOO-AHHH!

                        Thanks for sharing. *<:)

                        1. re: kattyeyes

                          kattyeyes should you ever need to express the *opposite* of hoo-ahhh, you can use this:

                          1. re: blue room

                            Love it! Let's hope I don't need it when I sub butter biscuits for Nilla Wafers. I have a good feeling it's gonna be a HOO-AHHH! moment, though. :) Thank you.

                            1. re: kattyeyes

                              I subbed Oreos one time and it was a nice change.

                              1. re: coll

                                Ooh, definitely try it with butter biscuits. I did and really liked it! And, because the Wallbanger cake suggested playing Sinatra in the background, I did, too. ;)

                                Coll, I did add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla per your suggestion, didn't go all the way with the bourbon (stayed with 1/2 cup) and decided it was too cold to keep 'em nekked, so I gave 'em chocolate coats: 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder sifted with 1/3 cup confectioners sugar.

                                Coll and scubadoo, I see now why you could skip the coating if you added more booze, then added the chocolate right to the mix...they must be less wet that way, right? In any case, see what you people did? You made me make these. HA HA HA. :) I've been waiting for a good excuse. Inspiration from this thread was a fine one.

                                Pics here if anyone wants to check 'em out...

                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                  Katty, I had to look up the recipes that I saw. They all had the cocoa mixed into the cookie and nut mixture. I rolled some up this morning and coated in chopped nuts. I am interested to see if they hold up well enough for shipping. As they have warmed up to room temp they are softer and wetter than when very cold. Not real wet but a little moist.

                                  Any suggestions on the best way to mail these booze balls?

                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                    Coating in chopped nuts--bet those look great!

                                    Hmmm...I've never shipped 'em, though. My best advice would be to layer them in some sort of tin with parchment or wax paper between the layers...and pack them close together so they don't have a lot of room to move. How far are they traveling? Mine are just going for a ride in the car with me--HA HA.

                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                      From Fla to Virginia. I'm not so sure they well travel well. They will make it but I think they will deform a bit due to the packing necessary to keep them from moving around.

                                      I'd be temped to snack on them if they were in the car. Not sure how many would survive the trip.

                                      They really mellowed out over night. I added an extra slug of bourbon over the 1/2 cup the recipe called for. Tasting them last night I felt I might have over done it but today they are fine. Could have put more. ;)

                                    2. re: scubadoo97

                                      These hold up for weeks, and they get better as time goes by, sort of like fruitcake. I always hear recommendations to let them sit for a few days before doing anything with them. I keep them in a tin lined with a doily, stored in the garage, and ship them packed the same way. Mine aren't delicate at all. I shop tons of them every year, and get reminders right around now how much they are loved in certain quarters, so obviously they are getting there in one piece.

                                    3. re: kattyeyes

                                      I always play Sinatra and related music while making meatballs and sauce, or else it doesn't come out right!

                                      This seems like a nothing recipe, but I think it is the one that gets remembered and requested the most, at least in certain quarters.

                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                        I'm too excited to keep this to myself--my Butter Biscuit Bourbon Balls made the Top 9 on Foodbuzz today. If you'd like to vote for me, click where it says "buzz it"


                                        MAYBE I can climb from 9 to a higher number or unseat bologna cake (!), which is currently #2. No reward other than glory. :) Thanks for indulging me. I'm so excited, you'd think I hit the lottery!


                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                          I couldn't find it at first're number 5! I buzzed it, so very appropriate.

                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                            Those look great. Consider yourself buzzed

                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                              Katty -- thanks for the butter biscuit bourbon balls recipe. I made that last night. Wow they pack a punch and are delicious! I ended up not coating them at all (DH does not like chocolate/cocoa) but I might do another batch and coat 1/2 of them with either plain powdered sugar or the cocoa mix stuff. Excellent and thanks for sharing!

                                              1. re: LNG212

                                                Awesome! Eat enough of them and you won't be able to say what you ate. :) So glad to hear!

                                          2. re: coll

                                            I was inspired and was going to try chocolate wafers instead of Nilla this year. But just stopped at Trader Joes and got some of their Ultimate Vanilla Wafers (a butter cookie with flecks of Madagascar vanilla beans, their description). Don't know if they're new, I had never noticed them before. They taste so buttery, I think this will be a good change.

                                            1. re: coll

                                              Mmmm, bet they knock the Nillas right outta the park!!! :)

                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                They are so crispy/buttery it's scary. Can't wait to see how the balls come out.

                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                  Wow, night and day difference with the Trader Joes. Hope they have them every Christmas now.......glad I made a double batch.

                                                  1. re: coll

                                                    EXXXXXXXXXXXXXXCELLENT! Cheers to you and all the other bourbon ballers out there! *<:) HO-HO-HO!

                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                      I was supposed to start cookies this weekend, but these are all I've gotten done so far. And no, I'm not taste testing them! Eleven more cookies to go by Friday, I'd better sign off right now.

                                      2. re: bushwickgirl

                                        I gave my niece a copy of the Boozy Baker book and a collection of "airplane" size (one shot) bottles of various liquors for her 21st birthday. She was delighted! :-)

                                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                                          bushwickgirl...I gave my niece a copy of The Boozy Baker book and one-shot bottles of each of the liquors needed for the recipes for her 21st birthday. I am now considered the "cool aunt" LOL :-)

                                        2. The booziest baking of all is Baba au Rhum---a rich coffee cake soaked, nay, verily, permeated and saturated and soused, with a syrup made of sugar, water, and a whole lot of rum. I have had guests who got drunk from eating two pieces of Baba au Rhum.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Querencia

                                            I always choose baba au rhum at Italian bakeries, over cannoli and and the like, now you're all tempting me to make a batch myself.

                                            1. re: coll

                                              I'm laughing...look at the time of your post and mine and our first thought is "Let's make something boozy!" FABULOUS! Now, up the stairs I go, notes from this thread in hand...and a bottle of bourbon...let's get this party started right!