It's not an uncommon sight when reading recipes. Many of them will call for a generous glug (or whole bottle) of red wine, white wine, sherry, beer or any other number of alcoholic beverages. Of course, when you add alcohol to a dish that is going to be simmering for a while, chances are that most of the alcoholic content will have evaporated away. Not all of it will be gone, and how much remains depends on the method of cooking and the strength of the alcohol you've added to the dish. But many alcoholic beverages (whether rendered totally benign or not) add an amazing flavour kick to your cooking, and the same can be said for baking. A generous glug (but perhaps not the whole bottle) of alcohol is a traditional ingredient in many cakes. What are some of the most delicious (and perhaps booziest) additions to cakes?
You might have had rum cake before. Its origins have been attributed to prohibition, that period from 1920 to 1933 when alcohol was banned in the United States (poor Americans). Illegal importation of alcohol flourished, and much of it was rum that came via the Bahamas. With an influx of rum on the island, a delicious cake using the beverage was devised, and so the rum cake became (and still is) a popular treat in the region (and around the world). Some recipes contain as much as 5% alcohol, even after cooking, so it's a cake that could conceivably get you drunk.
The black forest gateau (or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte as the Germans call it) was popularised by a chef named Josef Keller, beginning in 1915, although he may well have adapted it from earlier recipes. Be warned though, if you should happen to be travelling through Germany and fancy a slice of this cake. German regulations stipulate that the cake must contain cherry liqueur (kirschwasser) in order to be classified as black forest gateau/Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. Some of the versions you've eaten might have been called a black forest gateau without containing alcohol.
Brandy (or Rum Again)
What's your preferred alcohol for making a traditional fruitcake? The dried fruits are usually soaked in copious amounts of alcohol before being put into the cake, and this, along with the usual density of the cake and the fact that the fruit has already been preserved, which means that as well as having a delicious alcohol kick, the cake has a freakishly long shelf life.
If you or anyone you plan to serve the cake to is a teetotaler, it's important to remember that any alcoholic cakes you pick up at the bakery or make yourself can still contain alcohol. Your cakes might not get you drunk, but it can be helpful to remember that liqueur chocolates can. Enjoy your sweet treats responsibly!