old fashioned kentucky bourbon pound cake

still riffing on pound cake here. this one is a buttermilk pound cake flavored with Maker’s Mark bourbon whisky and orange, inspired by a friend’s reminiscence of an orange bourbon pound cake. i was supposed to be working on a re-creation of that cake, but by the time i got to the glaze, i realized i could turn it into something akin to an old fashioned cocktail. woo hoo!


the trick was to keep it pound cakey while adding the liquor and removing some of the dairy that tends to prop up the structure with the protein. my gut said to remove an egg or two and add baking powder instead to boost the rise and give texture. yay gut!


served with salty caramel ice cream!


Old Fashioned Kentucky Bourbon Pound Cake



1 cup (2 sticks/226g) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for buttering pan

3 cups (384g) sifted Cup4Cup gluten free flour; sift before measuring plus additional for dusting

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 cups (400g) granulated cane sugar (superfine works best)

½ cup (100g) light brown sugar packed

5 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes

2 teaspoons vanilla paste (vanilla extract also works)

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup Maker’s Mark Bourbon

1 teaspoon dried orange zest

¼ teaspoon orange extract

Old Fashioned Glaze

¼ cup butter

¼ cup water

½ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons orange bitters

1 teaspoon dried orange zest

5 maraschino cherries, roughly chopped

½ cup Maker’s Mark Bourbon

Special equipment: a 10-inch tube pan (4 1/2 inches deep; not with a removable bottom) or a 10-inch bundt pan (3 1/4 inches deep; 3-qt capacity)
Preparation Put oven rack in middle position, but do not preheat oven.

Generously butter pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess flour (or spray with a gluten free non-stick spray)

Prepare the glaze while the cake is baking.

Sift together sifted flour (3 cups) baking powder and salt into a bowl. Repeat sifting into another bowl (flour will have been sifted 3 times total). Combine, buttermilk, orange rind, orange extract and bourbon in measuring cup and set aside.

Beat together butter (2 sticks) and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or 6 to 8 minutes with a handheld mixer. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add half of flour, then all of the buttermilk mixture, then remaining flour, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down side of bowl, then, beat at medium-high speed 5 minutes. Batter will become creamier and satiny.

Spoon batter into pan and rap pan against work surface once or twice to eliminate air bubbles. Place pan in (cold) oven and turn oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in middle of cake comes out with a few crumbs adhering, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

To prepare the glaze: Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the water and sugar. Bring to a low boil for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. In a separate measuring cup, combine the rest of the ingredients, holding the chopped cherries aside. Once the syrup is off the heat, carefully pour the sugar mixture into the bourbon mixture. Do this away from the heat to avoid igniting the bourbon. Stir until well mixed. This glaze will be poured onto warm cake.

Glaze the cake: Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around inner and outer edges of cake. Poke small holes with a skewer on the bottom of the warm cake in the pan and slowly pour about half of the plain glaze over the bottom of the cake. Allow glaze to soak into cake for a few minutes, then invert plate over pan and release cake onto plate and pour remaining glaze with chopped cherries added over the top of the cake and allow to cool completely.

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