I’ve never been a fan of cakes with alcohol. I’m fine having a drink with cake, but I always thought an alcoholic cake was nothing more than a novelty.Maybe it’s the childhood memories of Great Aunt Wilma’s lane cake at Thanksgiving. You could smell the alcohol through the cake safe. The recipe calls for bourbon or brandy, but Great Aunt Wilma used both.

In college, my Bahamian roommate insisted I try an alcoholic bundt. Most college kids get a care package with Oreos and peanut butter. My roommate got Bacardi rum cakes.

The little bundts came in cute tins with pink and red tropical flowers. It looked legit. But it tasted like a loofa that had been soaking in a shot glass.

I coughed and made the ugliest face. I could not hold my cake.

My roommate opened another tin and suggested I try the chocolate one.

I didn’t want to act like the Where’s-the-beef? lady, but I couldn’t taste any chocolate. And I love chocolate. I swished that cake around like mouthwash trying to find any flavors.


I don’t get it. I don’t see how alcohol adds anything crucial to cake. It steals the spotlight from other flavors.

My boyfriend, however, is all about cooking with alcohol. If it’s beer-battered, has a red-wine sauce or vodka-poached, he’s in.


This past weekend he suggested we make a brownie recipe: Irish Cream Brownies. I was skeptical. I didn’t want to buy chocolate chips I knew I wouldn’t be able to taste.

But we made them. As he added the ¼ cup of Baileys to the mix, I thought, “That’s it?”

I realized then that there was nothing wrong with Great Aunt Wilma’s lane cake—just Great Aunt Wilma’s heavy hand (and lack of measuring cups) with alcohol. And those Barcardi rum cakes were prepackaged and probably more of a commercial for Barcardi than a dessert to take seriously.

When the brownies cooled, my boyfriend cut off a small square for me. I braced myself for the alcohol-soaked sponge. But it was a brownie—a chocolate brownie.

Sure, I could taste the Baileys, but it worked. It complimented the chocolate. I didn’t cough or complain of a burning throat. I didn’t need a chaser for this brownie.

I’m still not sold on alcoholic cake. If it were my choice, we would have made Salted Caramel Brownies.

But I’m sure there are others who think: Salt on cake? That’s just a novelty.

Try more recipes with Irish Cream:Irish Strawberry-and-Cream Cheesecake