Cheers to Baking

Amy Rice

I’m one of those weird people who only bakes when I’m happy. If I’m stressed I feel like it oozes into my food and effects the flavor, I also feel like everything goes wrong, my cakes won’t come out of the pan, my brownies overflow and burn to the bottom of my oven and I wind up madder than I was before. But, when I’m calm and happy I can spend hours in the kitchen putting together one confection after another. That’s where I was last Sunday, in my kitchen, the curtains thrown open, letting in sunlight and testing out recipes for our Boozy Baking class. Which would probably explain why my fridge looks like someone at the end of a juice cleanse went on a bender. So, what did I learn in this meditative state, baking with booze is awesome! Like all things baking it comes with its own set of rules and rewards.

If you don’t want to drink it, you probably won’t want to eat it.

Did someone leave a half empty bottle of Jager at your house after the Super Bowl and you just don’t know what to do with it? Well I can’t help you because I don’t like Jager. You hear chefs say it all the time, cook with something you would want to drink. This doesn’t mean you need top shelf liquor for your brownies but do use something with a nice flavor. I love to reference Ina Garten, and her often mocked “good vanilla.” But baking with alcohol is literally the same thing. Vanilla extract is vanilla bean infused in alcohol, to extract the flavor that then gets added to a bake. The better grade the vanilla, or any other booze, the better your end-result.

Not all the alcohol will cook out.

But quite a bit will. Baking does eliminate a percentage of the alcohol. Alcohol starts to evaporate at 172 degrees Fahrenheit, and a 30-minute bake will only leave behind an average 35% of the original alcohol content. You’re also spreading the alcohol over several portions, so if you’re planning on serving a boozy bake at your next dinner party it’s unlikely you’ll have to call an Uber for your guests after a slice of cake.

Remember, baking is a science.

You love lemon cake, and you love Irish Cream, just throw them together and you’ll really have something! Maybe not.

  1. Reach deep inside to find your inner mixologist and think flavors. The flavor of your alcohol is going to come through on a bake. Look to your favorite cocktails for inspiration.
  2. Simply adding liquid to a recipe could change the chemistry of your bake. Luckily in the age of Pinterest you can probably find your new favorite baketail where someone else has already done the leg work. Are you a G&T fan, or is bourbon more your speed? They’re out there, and on here too!
  3. Start small. If you are feeling adventurous and want to come up with your own recipe, try adding only a couple tablespoons of the hard stuff to start. Adding that little bit of liquid shouldn’t impact your bake, but it should impact your flavor.
  4. Maybe you’re using a family recipe, and you know Great-Gramma’s brownies are perfect as is. You can add your favorite boozy flavor without messing with the actual bake. Try adding it to mousse, icing, glaze, pie filing, the list is endless. If you are adding the alcohol to something that is not going in the oven still start small, you’re objective is the subtle flavor reminiscent of the drink, not an exact replica of the drink itself.

So, mix up your favorite cocktail and get baking! If you’ve tested out a boozy baking recipe or invented your own we want to hear about it! Share in the comments below.

Boozy Baking Recipes to Try

Blue Moon Cupcakes

Gin and Tonic Cake

Bourbon Chocolate Mousse Cake

Chocolate Stout Brownies

Irish Cream Cheesecake


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